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Old 03-26-08, 08:19 PM   #1
newbie_commuter
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Cycling Laws in Japan

Anyone know where I can find some info about cycling laws here in Japan?

English is best, but I should be able to wade through something in Japanese as well (it'll just take some time withe the handy-dandy electronic dictionary... or a Japanese friend to dumb it down for me).

Thanks.
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Old 03-26-08, 08:37 PM   #2
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I did a quick Goggle and found there are some incredible fines for simple things. Be careful, be very careful, and do not pass any senior citizens.
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Old 10-12-08, 07:41 AM   #3
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BAAAA Humbug!!!!

Jumping red lights, wrong way riding, no lights. Japanese people do some crazy riding on their mamachari's!

Me and my friends do lots of riding, I commute 30km everyday through tokyo. Never had any problems. i avoid the no-cycling underpasses, not because of the law, but because they are usually scary as hell!!!

As long as you have a light and don't do anything too dangerous and you will be fine. i try to keep off the pavement, but if I have too, i keep it slow so i don't hit any pedestrians. I ride through cars, in any lane as long as I am keeping up with the traffic.

The only time I have been stopped by cops was because my light was switched off. Other times they are just stopping everyone checking for stolen bikes, as long as the bike you are riding is registered to your name then you will be fine. I have never heard of anyone I know being fined for anything.
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Old 10-12-08, 07:46 AM   #4
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dar! double post forum blues

Last edited by the_don; 10-12-08 at 07:47 AM. Reason: double post!
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Old 10-24-08, 02:11 PM   #5
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Is it accepted to take the lane ? I assume lanes are narrower compared to USA, so it would make more sense to ride in the middle of it.
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Old 10-27-08, 04:10 PM   #6
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I've never seen someone take the middle of the road, but I often see scooters, motorcycles, and sometimes bikes on the shoulder to zip past stopped traffic.
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Old 11-05-08, 06:04 AM   #7
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Like The Don, I commute pretty much daily here in Tokyo and have to agree with him. However, over the past few months I have been hearing mumblings of people saying they are starting to crack down on bicycles running reds/stop signs etc. But, I have yet to know or see anyone who has been charged with anything other than having their mamachari trucked away from the train station.

The only thing I would highly advise against, especially as a foreigner is dont have a beer and cycle. It is apparently looked upon and ranks up there with driving under the influence. But again, never heard of anyone being charged with this.
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Old 11-06-08, 08:05 AM   #8
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Welcome to Japan, the land with (almost) no rules for bicycles:

In principle, only people under 14 or over 70 could ride their bikes on the sidewalks... Anyone enforcing that? Nay....

In principle, bicycles should be walked when crossing the streets through pedestrians crossings. Anyone enforcing that? Nay...

In principle, bicycles should follow the traffic directions... Anyone enforcing that? Nay...

Any bicycle not using the round-abouts? You bet!!!

Anyone using helmets? A very limited few...

Any concern about proper tyre pressure or the right height of the saddle? Only a limited few check those details...

Any problem in riding while listening to their headphones or while emailing on their cell-phones or... using their umbrellas? Not the least!

Japan, the country of the kamikaze bikers!

So, take care. And carry your alien registration card at all times!

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Old 12-16-08, 07:35 PM   #9
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I have been cycling with a mamachari without a light, without a reflector for like 8 months already. There has not been a single interception by a cop anyway.

By the way, bicycle is considered as 'light vehicle' which puts it in the same category as scooter. That may just be another 'in principle', but better take care.
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Old 04-13-09, 03:54 PM   #10
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Yup. There were a specific rule for bicycle riding in Japan but as per exec, bicycle considered as 'light vehicle' and nobody being forced to obey 100%.
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Old 06-06-09, 10:21 AM   #11
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Register your bicycle, make sure you have a light, don't get caught drunk. After that, the Japanese don't really enforce any bike laws. The number of old women riding on the wrong side of the road with umbrellas open on a sunny day is infuriating.
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Old 01-30-10, 03:14 AM   #12
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looking around, you would believe that there are no laws concerning bicycles. i had cause to stop by the local central police station on another matter a few years back. after taking care of that matter, i asked just what the laws actually were.

the officer i was speaking to was probably right out of the academy; in fact, i would have taken him to be a highschool student if he hadn't been in uniform. he told me that people generally ride on the sidewalks and that the police generally don't bother people on bikes.

well, anyone with at least one functioning eye here knows that, & i said that i wanted to know what the laws were exactly. should i or shouldn't i be on the sidewalks,etc. the young officer went and got an officer probably in his 50's, and he told me that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as people driving cars and motorcycles; hence shouldn't be riding on sidewalks or against traffic.

so ride on the road and feel free to pull into other lanes after signaling (and keeping your eyes peeled for witless drivers). and i would addend that you can also ride on the sidewalks when it's convenient & safe, because no one in fact will ever call you out on that, although it's not strictly legal.

and talking with other cyclists and having asked a few other officers, it seems that either many police don't have a clear understanding or that every city has it's own laws. so i would advise that you ask your local police and tht if you should in the off chance ever have any problem, say that you had asked and were told that you should be doing ****.

other than that, keep your eyes open, your hands near your brake levers in traffic, & wear a helmet.

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Old 04-18-10, 05:57 PM   #13
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It seems that most all of the laws that are in use in America are here. Lights are even a law for night riding in the US as well.

What is this about registering your bike? Mine is vintage and therefore doesn't have any paperwork behind it, neither does it have any numbers identifying it.

EDIT: No Longer in Japan.

Last edited by (知さん); 04-26-10 at 03:17 PM. Reason: In the USA
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Old 05-16-10, 06:26 AM   #14
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f you swing over to the (DMV?) place where you get your driver's license you can pick up a little handbook with driving rules. The front section is dedicated to bicycle rules, and it even comes in an English version. I went in, stumbled about with my Japanese, and then they finally handed me an English book. I haven't found anything out of the ordinary as far as bicycle laws around here, but I also haven't had any run-ins with the law just yet.
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