Bicycle Rules in Japan
Rules for Safe Bicycle Riding
1. Bicycle riders should use roadways, and should only use sidewalks under exceptional circumstances.
Under the Road Traffic Law, bicycles are categorized as mini-vehicles. In principle, bicycle riders should use roadways where sidewalks and roadways are separated. The official rule is that children under 12 years old can ride on the sidewalks. Also, in the event that it’s “too dangerous” to ride on the road, anyone can ride on the sidewalk.
Bicycles are meant to be ridden on roadways. Most people ride their bicycles on the sidewalk and the police turn a blind eye. In fact, in the big city, we can say riding on the sidewalk makes a lot more sense in Japan.
PENALTY: 50,000 yen or imprisonment for up to three months.
2.On roadways, bicycle riders should keep to the left side
Bicycle riders should keep to the left side of the road.
PENALTY: 50,000 yen or imprisonment up to three months.
3.On sidewalks, bicycle riders should yield to pedestrians and go slowly.
On sidewalks, bicycle riders should go slowly so that they can stop immediately. They should stop when their riding may block a pedestrian.
PENALTY: 20,000 yen or imprisonment up to three months.
4.Bicycle riders should observe safety rules
–Riding on a bicycle while drunk is prohibited. PENALTY: 1 million yen or imprisonment up to 5 years.
–Riding double in a bicycle is prohibited except for a child under 6 years old. PENALTY: 20,000 yen or pecuriary penalty
–Riding side by side on bicycles is prohibited. Except for ares with road signs indicating “riding side by side is permitted”. PENALTY: 20,000 yen or pecuriary penalty
–Bicycle riders should have light on during evening hours. PENALTY: a fine up to 50,000 yen
–Bicycle riders should obey the traffic lights. Special traffic lights for pedestrians and bicycles should be complied with. PENALTY: a fine up to 50,000 yen or imprisonment up to 3 months.
–Bicycle should stop and check for safety at an intersection. Bicycle riders should obey stop signs and slow down before entering a wider road from a narrow road while checking for safety. PENALTY: a fine up to 50,000 yen or imprisonment up to 3 months.
5.Children on bicycles should wear helmets
Guardians of children under 13 years old should instruct their children to wear helmets when riding on a bicycles. With adults, you’ll almost never see someone wearing a helmet. It’s not a law.
BICYCLE RIDERS SHOULD NOT:
1.Talk on (or operate) a mobile phone
2.Use an umbrella.
PENALTY: a fine up to 50,000yen or imprisonment up to 3 months
The best thing we should do is to follow the rules to prevent engaging from any accidents. At the end, we will be the one to benefit from our own action.
Source: JITCO, TAIKEN JAPAN, TOFUGU
Information site supporting foreigners living in Japan.