January 2020

Our monthly online newsletter,"L'ESPACE".
L'ESPACE is a diverse French word that means place,area,cosmos,and gap.

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Bike rules

Bikes can be used freely by anyone. They’re a very convenient way to get around, but they’re regarded as light vehicles in Japan. Bikes cause many traffic accidents. Follow the rules and ride them safely.

Basic rules for bikes

Ride bikes on the road (the same space as cars)

In places where the roads are split up into the sidewalk (where people walk) and the road (where cars drive), ride your bike on the left edge of the road.

However, riding on the sidewalk is okay in the following situations.

  • A sign with an image of a bike is posted or painted on the sidewalk.
  • There is construction, bikes are parked on the road, or riding on the road is impossible for some other reason.
  • There are lots of cars on the road, making riding a bike there dangerous.

In addition, it’s okay to ride on the sidewalk if you’re a child, an elderly person, or disabled.

Basic rules for bikes

Be careful of people walking when riding your bike on the sidewalk

The sidewalk is a path for people to walk on. Even on sidewalks bikes can use, be sure to do the following.

  • Ride your bike near the road.
  • Ride slowly to avoid causing danger to people walking.
  • Stop immediately if you’re likely to get in the way of anyone walking.

Bike safety rules

Follow safety rules

When riding a bike, follow the safety rules below.

  • Follow the traffic signal.
  • Do not ride double.
  • Do not ride side-by-side.
  • Do not ride while holding up an umbrella.
  • Do not use mobile phones (smartphones).
  • Do not ride with headphones.
  • Do not ride after drinking alcohol.
  • Use lights at night.
  • Stop at the stop signs.
Riding the Bus

If you repeatedly ride in a dangerous way

If you are found to be repeatedly riding your bike in a dangerous way, and are warned by police two or more times within a 3-year period, you will be required to visit a facility to study bike rules. These study sessions last for 3 hours, and you will be charged 6,000 yen.

Other points to be careful of

Register your bike to prevent theft

Bikes must be registered to prevent theft. This is called “bohan toroku.” This registration proves that you own your bike.
This can be done at the store where you purchase your bike. You’ll need an ID (something that proves your identity) and some money. In Tokyo, the registration cost is 500 yen.
If you register your bike, you’ll receive a sticker with a number on it. Put this sticker on your bike, and if it’s stolen, the police will search for a bike with that number.

Be careful of where you park your bike

There are some places, such as the areas around train stations, where you can’t park your bike. These areas are called “jitensha hochi kinshi kuiki.” If you park your bike in these areas, it will be taken to a storage center for abandoned bikes by the local government.

To have your bike returned to you, bring the following to the storage center.

  • ID (something that proves your identity)
  • Your bike key
  • Money (The amount needed varies by area. In Tokyo’s 23 wards, it ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 yen.)
Riding the Bus

If you don’t know which storage area your bike has been taken to, call the local government office. They can find out for you by searching for your registration number.
Bike storage areas only keep bikes for 1-2 months before disposal. Retrieve your bike promptly after removing.

Being prepared for bike accidents

Bike accidents can cause serious injuries. To be prepared for an accident, you should enroll in bike insurance. If you are injured in a bike accident or cause an injury to someone else, the insurance company will pay for treatment.
If the bike you bought has a “TS mark” sticker on it, your bike is enrolled in an insurance program. However, this insurance only last for a one-year period from the date printed on the sticker.

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