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Bicycle Laws in Japan

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1 Bicycle Laws in Japan on Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:30 am

Shar

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Anyone have a good English resource regarding bicycle laws/etiquette in Japan? Looks like I will be inheriting an old cruiser bike from my predecessor and it's about a 20-minute bike ride to my school.

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2 Re: Bicycle Laws in Japan on Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:53 am

Wish I knew myself. Pretty much the laws here seem to be.

1: You have to register your bike with the local police, make sure you do that. It can take over half a YEAR for the registration to show up in your name. Save all the paper work and carry it with you.

2: You'll get annoyed by the local police thinking you stole your bike until they get to know you probably.

3: You usually need registration stickers for specific locations or certain bike parking lots, but just parking your bike right outside of a store you are going to (unless it is in a major shopping spot) is usually just fine. The school might require a sticker though)

4: If it is a busy area, I recommend a helmet just to be on the safe side. Japanese people seem to be red color blind, at least in Tokyo. Even when the cross walk is green, you'll have two cars zoom by.

5: Generally left side of the sidewalk is where you stay, but there are billions of exceptions.

6: Old women seem to ignore anyone trying to use the sidewalk, and stand right in the middle in your way and others' way. I personally think plowing them down should be acceptable, but apparently it isn't for some weird reason.

7: Ditzy women constantly walk their dogs at night. The dogs are so small they are invisible. Be careful because if you hit one you might fall off your bike and that would hurt.

8: Using an umbrella and riding your bike in the rain is supposedly illegal now. Everyone ignores this law. However, pulling off this balance act can take some practice, especially during a windy day.

9: Make sure to get some sort of reflectors or a light for the night, but don't get something super-powerful that blinds the crap out of everything in front of you like half of these people seem to get near me. If it is a strobe light, it doesn't go on a bike.

10: Beware of blind corners! There are a lot of them and Japanese people aren't even aware of the risks here. Even if you ring your bell and slowly edge out expect people to zoom by.

Overall though, it's still a lot less lethal than riding in the US, where you are below even a walking pedestrian.

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