Crime Prevention - 12. "Keep the bicyclists' rule for safe driving" | Lectures for Foreign Students on Disaster Control | JPSS, the information site of studying in Japan

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Lectures for Foreign Students on Disaster Control

"Keep the bicyclists' rule for safe driving"

Listed below are the cases of a road accident.

  • 1. Two bicycles traveling on a sidewalk crashed into each other, and the one of which was caught off balance and its motorcyclist fell over on the roadway. He was run over by a car that came from backward and died.
  • 2. A motorcyclist crossed a intersection ignoring that the traffic light was red, so that a truck driver who attempted to avoid the bicycle run into a building and died.
  • 3. A bicycle of a woman aged 71's and that of a 14 year-old boy's collided at night, and the former died from the accident. Both didn't turn the front light on when the accident occurred.

Furthermore, we have the cases of a bicycle accident which led to the large amount of compensation for damage (from Metropolitan Police Department's website).

  • - A high school student bumped into a pedestrian with a bicycle by mistake while going to school with the result that the pedestrian incurred the serious damage of spinal cord injury. [Compensation for damage]60 million and 80 thousands yen
  • - A high school girl riding a bicycle with no front light on at night collided with a female nurse. The school girl was distracted by using mobile phone in the time of the accident and the victim was injured to be resulted in some form of disability. [Compensation for damage]50 million yen
  • - On the sidewalk along a train track where there was no streetlamp, a high school boy collided with a pedestrian because he was diverted by a train. The pedestrian died from the collision. [Compensation for damage]39 million and 120 thousands yen

By the Road Traffic Law, a bicycle is treated same as a vehicle. You must obey the bicyclists' rule, or penalty will be imposed on. Please be alert and keep its danger always in your mind when riding a bicycle as much as driving a car.

  • 1. In principle, bicycles should be on the main road. Keep the left side of the roadway. But cyclists may travel on the sidewalk on the occasions described below.

    • if there is a sign that says bicycles are permitted.
    • cyclists aged under 13, aged over 70 or disable may travel on the sidewalk.
    • when traveling on the sidewalk is necessary, judging from the traffic condition of the roadway (for example, when there are obstacles such as parking cars).

    When you travel on the sidewalks, you must ride in a way and at a speed that does not obstruct pedestrian traffic and keep to the side facing the road.

  • 2. You must not ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol. Driving while intoxicated shall be subject to imprisonment at forced labor for not more than five years or a fine of not more than 1,000,000 yen.
  • 3. Having two people on a bicycle is prohibited in Japan (except carrying a child aged under six).
  • 4. Don't ride a bicycle abreast.
  • 5. You must turn on front light at night.

The following points are also what should be aware of.

  • - You must not attempt to use a mobile phone while riding.
  • - You must not wear a earphone nor a headphone while riding.
  • - Don't ride a bicycle holding an umbrella in a rainy day. Avoid riding a bicycle in a rain, but if necessary, please put on a raincoat.
  • - Proceed slowly or come to a momentary halt to check safety when you turn a corner, or go out from a narrow alley to a wider main road.

If the police inquire you because of a violation of the traffic laws, it is no use making excuse that you haven't known well about the traffic rules. More importantly, if you make someone injured by an accident it would bring great blame upon you. Be particularly careful when riding a bicycle.


If you would be involved in a traffic accident, act as stated below regardless of you being a victim or a person responsible for the accident.

  • 1. Treat injured persons

    Confirm the damage situation and if someone gets seriously injured, please call an ambulance immediately when injury is serious (dial number: 119)

  • 2. Report to the police

    Please call policemen right away (dial number: 110). If you do not report it to the police, they don't issue a proof of a traffic accident that will be required when you putting in a claim for insurance premiums.

  • 3. Ask the name, address, and contact number of any other people involved.
  • 4. Inform the contracted insurance company if you have got insurance.

When you are injured, receive medical treatment at hospital afterward even if it's not serious. Also, you are advised to ask Japanese acquaintances of yours (school teachers, school clerks, or your coworkers) for advices and consult with them for further arrangement as much as possible.


Register your brand-new bicycle, or Transfer of ownership when you get a secondhand one.

When you buy a bicycle you need to register it in proof of your being the owner of the bicycle. You can ask the shop for its registration. If you buy a secondhand one from a friend or somebody, make sure that it is registered. If it is registered, ask your friend to write the proof of transferring of ownership. Take this certificate and Alien Registration Card to the nearest bicycle shop to ask the registration transfer.

You must not pick up unattended bicycle

At train stations or corner of the streets in Japan, you can spot bicycles still fit for use, left there for many days without being taking care of. Though they look a waste, they should not be picked up by others. If you do, the police find out that from registered number (all bicycles are supposed to be registered as explained above) and you will be charged with embezzlement.

Illegal parking of bicycles is prohibited.

A bicycle will be treated as an "abandoned bicycle" if it is not parked at a designated area, then it might be cleared away by a local authority. In order to get the bicycle back you have to make a claim and pay the fine at a specified place. You bicycle always should be parked at the designated area.


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