The time has come again for commuters to abandon the stress and discomfort of the public transport system in favor of their trusty bicycle. Before you saddle up and join them, it is important to know the “rules of the road,” or the laws governing bicycling in Japan.
Ignoring Traffic Signals 1.
2. Ignoring Traffic Signs
3. Riding In Pedestrian Only Areas
4. Riding In The Incorrect Traffic Lane
5. Interfering With Pedestrians On Side Of Road / Pavements
6. Entry Into The Railroad Crossing When The Barrier Is Down
7. With The Flow Interference Of Priority (Right-Of-Way) Vehicles At Intersections
8. Interference At Intersections With Right Turning Traffic
9. Interference At Large Artery Intersections That Causes A Breach Of Safety
10. Ignoring Stop Signs
11. Blocking Or Interfering With Pedestrians Sidewalks On
12. Operating A Bicycle Operation Without Brakes
13. Riding A Bicycle After Having Consumed Alcohol
14. Reckless Bicycling
If you have spent much time here already, that last sentence may have come as a surprise, as it looks for all the world like cycling in Japan is a lawless endeavor, with riders beholden to no law but their own. However, there are many rules and regulations pertaining to cyclists, and while many of these laws are frequently ignored and rarely enforced, at this time of year traffic police will be out in numbers, looking to clamp down on infractions.
Before we begin, you can find more information provided by the Japan Traffic Safety Organization in English here, it is a PDF file. This pamphlet goes into more depth than this article.
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