Traffic Rules for Cycling in Japan

Bicycle-commuting is convenient; traffic rules for cycling in Japan are as follows:

Riding a bicycle does not require any license and it is very convenient when you go to school. However, bicycles are regarded as light vehicles under the traffic law in Japan, and if you do not follow the law, that would be deemed to be breach of the law. So you must be careful when you ride a bicycle. Some prohibited clauses impose fine and/or imprisonment. Every international student who plans to use a bicycle while their stay in Japan for study must learn the basic traffic rules in Japan.

Rules for Cycling

The basic traffic rules for riding a bicycle in Japan are as follows:

Run on the left side of the road

Bicycles are categorized as light vehicles, so as a general rule, you must run on the left side of a roadway. (When the road is divided into a sidewalk and a roadway)

Follow all traffic signals and signs

Follow traffic signals and signs while you are riding a bicycle. If there are traffic signals dedicated for pedestrians and cyclists, comply with them.

Road Closed

All vehicles cannot proceed.

Closed to All Vehicles

When you get off and walk the bicycle, you are treated as a pedestrian, so you can proceed.

No Entry for Vehicles

This sign means that the road is an exit of a one-way road, so no vehicles are allowed to proceed. Get off and walk the bicycle, and you can proceed as a pedestrian.

No Entry for Bicycles

No bicycles are allowed to enter. Get off and walk the bicycle, and you can proceed as a pedestrian.

Follow the Direction

You can proceed in the direction of the arrow only. Get off and walk the bicycle, and you can proceed as a pedestrian in any other directions than the one designated by the arrow.

Stop Sign

Stop to confirm the safety and then you can proceed.

One-way Traffic

You can proceed in the designated direction only. Get off and walk the bicycle, and you can proceed as a pedestrian.

Bicycle Only

Only bicycles can proceed.

Bicycle Lane

An exclusive lane for bicycles. Only bicycles can proceed.

Bicycle and Pedestrians Only

Only bicycles and pedestrians can proceed, and cyclists must let pedestrians go first.

Pedestrians Only

Only pedestrians can proceed, but if you get off and walk the bicycle, you can proceed as a pedestrian.

Cycling Side by Side Permitted

In ordinary roads, cycling side by side is prohibited, but in that road you can cycle side by side. (maximum two persons)

Bicycle Crossing Zone

Crossing zone for cyclists.

Drunken cycling and riding double on a bike are prohibited

Riding a bicycle under influence of alcohol is prohibited. When you have alcohol, never ride a bicycle. Also never ride double on a bicycle.

Turn on the light at night and early morning

Be sure to turn on the light before you start riding a bicycle at night or in the early morning (twilight hours). You can see better and the light acts as a sign that shows where you are to pedestrians and vehicle drivers.

Concentrate while you are cycling to avoid danger

Do not “operate a smart phone/cell phone,” “talk on phone,” “listen to music using headphones,” “hold an umbrella,” etc. while you are riding on a bicycle, because those actions are extremely dangerous. One-hand steering a bicycle while holding an umbrella or texting on a smart/cell phone may be punished by three-month imprisonment and/or fine of 50,000 yen at maximum.

When you turn to the right in an intersection, use the two-step method


As a general rule, when you are on a bicycle and want to turn to the right in an intersection, regardless of whether a traffic signal is present or not, first proceed straight into the intersection, and then turn to the right.

For further information on rules for cycling, visit the following site:

Traffic rules for cyclists | National Police Agency

Registration of bicycle just in case of theft

If you consider having a bicycle, you are recommended to register it just in case it is stolen. The registration system will help a bicycle owner take back his/her bicycle if it is stolen. You can register your bicycle in any place with a sign board of “自転車防犯登録所 (Register Office of Bicycles)” (at Bicycle shops and home centers throughout Japan).

It is not necessarily to register your bicycle, but, by making this registration, you can prepare just in case of theft.

Bicycle registration Q & A | Tokyo to Jitenshasho Bohan Kyoryokukai (Tokyo Bicycle Sellers Association for Theft Prevention)

Repair of flat tire

A flat tire is the most common problem that happens on a bicycle.

You can have your bicycle repaired at a bicycle shop, or repair it yourself with repair tools that are available in home centers or 100 yen shops.

Link to Movie:

Bicycle shops throughout Japan

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