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Riding tandem is gradually legalized in Japan.

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Riding tandem is gradually legalized in Japan.

Old 09-03-10, 05:32 AM
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kaz1807
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Riding tandem is gradually legalized in Japan.

You might have heard that the tandem is prohibited in Japan.
Do you know also our interesting traffic law about tandem, too?

The national traffic law: 1 person per 1 seat --> it permits tandem.
But in most prefecture, their local traffic rule: 1 person per 1 bike --> it doesn't permit tandem.
Thus they say "tandem is prohibited in Japan".

The situation is slowly changing.
In several prefectures, their rule was revised.

You can ride tandem officially in several prefectures listed below,
- Nagano, from 1960's.
- Hyougo, from August 2008.
- Yamagata, from July 2009.
- Ehime, from August 2010.
- Hiroshima, from October 2010.

I heard that some cyclists are preparing to appeal or have already appealed to their prefectural assembly to permit tandem.
JCA (Japan Cycling Association) also plans to request the local public safety commissions to revise the rule.

I believe the list will be longer.
I hope I can say "Welcome to Japan" to you one of these days.

my best regards,
Haru, Tomo & Kaz in Japan
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Old 09-03-10, 06:59 AM
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redlegs
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I live in Hiroshima and have been waiting a long, long time for this! Now to get the tandem ready.
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Old 09-03-10, 09:21 AM
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Ready indeed.

From my experience of riding a bike in Japan (mainly in Kyoto) very few rules seemed to be enforced. It was certainly a pleasure riding in Japan, although the 'local rules' of riding on city pathways, the wrong way down oneway streets and occasionally through red lights took some getting used to.
All in all it was a joy and a marked difference from many of the steroetypes of Japan.
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Old 09-04-10, 08:09 AM
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When we lived in Japan in the mid '90s, we rode our tandem in many places, putting on about 5000KM in that time. We rode mostly in Shizuoka ken, but also in many of the adjoining areas. Also did a three week tour in 2004, of which all but three days was not in Nagano prefecture.

Our only interactions with the police were when we were invited in for tea

From what we were told, it has been a non enforced law to be used only if there is an accident. The purpose was to prevent kids from riding multiple people on a bike, tandems were not envisioned by the authors.

you can read about our 15 year old exploits at:

https://www.gtgtandems.com/japan.html
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Old 09-04-10, 06:17 PM
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. . . and that in a country that manufactured tandems (Fuji, Kuwahara etc)!
Ichiban!!!
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Old 09-04-10, 10:20 PM
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redlegs
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Bike law is quite representative of the way things are done in Japan. I am sure you can ride a tandem happily in most parts of Japan and not be bothered by the police. However, if you should have an accident or get on the wrong side of someone in power then you are likely to get in trouble.
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Old 08-24-21, 12:39 AM
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kaz1807
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Current state:

Most of prefecture in Japan, we can ride tandem.
The rest are Tokyo, Kanagawa and Nagasaki.
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Old 08-26-21, 02:35 AM
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We were booked in for this tour for April last year. We didn't go but we left our deposits with the company as I've done a previous tour with them and they are great guys https://www.cyclingjapan.jp/2021Kana...yoto12days.pdf
It would be really great if we could take our tandem instead of riding our half-bikes. Is this one of the prefectures that would be ok to ride a tandem in? My better half is very law abiding and would be most unhappy if she thought we were doing something illegal
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Old 08-26-21, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kaz1807 View Post
Current state:

Most of prefecture in Japan, we can ride tandem.
The rest are Tokyo, Kanagawa and Nagasaki.
Thanks for the update. This is great news. I grew up in Hokkaido in the '60s and '70s, and my wife and I have been hankering to tour the island on the tandem as soon as Covid allows.
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