An Uber Eats delivery person rides a bicycle in Tokyo's Shibuya district. Shibuya shopping and amusement Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato/File

Bicycle traffic violations hit record high as cycling booms amid pandemic


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On the matter of Legality relating to cycling...

Personally, using earphones whilst cycling should not be against the Law (those who made that one up, clearly do not cycle regularly).

Holding an umbrella whilst cycling however is questionable - and doesn't really need a Law except that of Stupidity.

Laws however should be made upon controlling lighting of transportation - Car Headlamps should be dipped whilst on slopes (KM Taxi Drivers have a problem with that in their new eTaxis), and some Cyclists choose to mount excessive amounts of forward facing lighting on purpose to light-blind those oncoming to them. ... NOW those are important Road safety concerns that need actioning by Law.

Likewise some Street side vendors use very bright (halogen?) lights to shine upon their establishments in order to draw attention to themselves, but by doing so, at night they cause a visual distraction from the Road - a practice which should be banned as it causes a problem for both drivers & cyclists alike.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And, .... increasingly these days, I see Parents let their young kids run around wildly upon Pavements - which is horrifying... since as a Driver you won't notice these kids to your Left, and they can easily step out in front of you unwittingly as they play their wild games - and you have little or no time to stop!

As a Cyclist, if I'm on the pavement (which is required in some areas), I slow to a crawl or stop until they passed by.... I think when the Parents see that, they get the point.

Young Kids need to be kept under close supervision, which some Parents seem to forget. I sincerely hope, that they never learn the hard/sad way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In Japan, from experience -

Pedestrians reading mobile phones whilst walking are a Hazard both for Cyclists and Motorists (of all forms) alike.

Similarly Motorists watching TV whilst Driving, or being on the Phone are a hazard... to everyone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Biggest menace is a self entitled dick on bicycle wobbling and weaving in and out of traffic, or the one who races off the side walk into the lane of traffic.

These twats need proper education on how to interact with other road users and be shown the results of their actions if they continue to ride like twats!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

By type of violation, crossing a railroad after the gates close came second, with 5,931 cases in 2019.

Other violations include 1,555 cases of failure to stop at a stop sign, 1,024 of breaking rules such as not using earphones or an umbrella while cycling, while 109 involved cycling while drunk.

in all honesty, you really have to be a dimwit to have these kinds of violations as they're more of a safety hazard than the law just being nitpicky about enforcing rules just to become relevant. I've had a lot of cases where bikes would ride danger close to walking pedestrians or run at speeds that would make me want to reach for a helmet. speaking of which, they should add that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've seen too many of these uber eats fools on bikes, thinking they look so cool.

Get serious, you're delivering food. We've all done it in high school or college in one way or another.

Why is it that the kuroneko-yamato bike guys can do it civil and normal like, yet these uber eats guys think it's a video game out there?

I ride a bike everyday, and the thing I do the most is not so much going towards my destination. It's more about driving defensively and away from fools like this.

It's like putting on a giant back pack on them gives them the idea that they are transporting human organs or the meaning of life. YOU'RE DELIVERING KARAAGE AND BURGERS!!!!! Get some perspective. And biking skills.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

LOL, The biggest problem in Japan is bicycle traffic violations. I am sure America would to have this problem.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

1,024 of breaking rules such as not using earphones while cycling

Hmmm, I am in compliance.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The public appears to lack awareness that bicycle riders are subject to traffic rules just as vehicle drivers are, an agency official said.

That's the National Police Agency's job. Go into schools, onto YouTube etc., and educate people.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This should be extended to pedestrians as well. The locals have a very hard time walking a straight line and or simply not paying attention thus making it burdonesome for the passer-by.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If anyone is constantly breaking the traffic rules those would be ladies with mamachari. They just strap their kids on the bike and they don’t give a damn about anything. They are safe and have kids acting as living shields both on the front and on the rear. I complained once to my Japanese coworker that mamachari cyclists are the worst and he just said that the young cyclists are the worst all while almost being hit by mamachari twice on the sidewalk while we were outside together.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Oxycodin - no problem, Glad that BMX Biking still lives on, and hope you perform well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

SOrry for the last message of tonight or this morning... I rid me a BMX with only back breaks and that is a violation of not having front breaks but BMX trick bike is all about hitting the half pipe at a skate park.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I would order uber eats everyday if they had a real meal plan that is KETO diet(ketones) but I wouldn't want to eat there high carb diet fried in bad oils that cause liver and heart inflammation. I don't trust any restaurant as they will cook the food in the cheapest and heart disease causing oils. Look it up folks no joke.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Now, upon a more Serious matter relating to Cycling and Rules of the Road I would like to solicit a Serious question from the Locals here in Japan.

The Japanese Rules of the Road appear to be very similar to those within the UK, however one I find confusing is the Rule about giving way at a cross-roads ... from observation, I may not be understanding the Japanese version.

Within my area, there's a small hill with a crossroads area at the bottom of it, within what could be called the Town square. A road at the bottom of the slope runs in one direction (Left to Right - from the perspective of a person at the top of the Hill) and there's two separate one way-roads going up and down the hill, the downward road intersects into a single one-way road at the bottom of the hill.

So if you are a Driver going down the Hill, under English law, the Drivers of the cars at the bottom of the hill should give way to you, as you are on their Right hand side. However I see the opposite happening here.... which is quite dangerous for Cyclists. On many an occasion, I've seen a Driver suddenly stop, and let the driver on his Left go through and from time to time, this catches the odd Cyclist out (thankfully no fatalities yet).

So, I'd like to know, here in Japan, what is the correct rule for such a situation ? Even if both Cars correctly stop at the junction, which one ... has right of way (i.e. to go First ?)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Same as Australia.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I once had a guy run a red light and miss me by a meter. He had earphones in and was looking at his smartphone. He was completely oblivious to the fact that he nearly hit me. I was fuming.

Another time, a guy clipped my shoulder as he tried to squeeze past me and a group of obaasans. He even had the audacity to grunt as though it was my fault.

The worst offenders though are the mothers in their mama charis with kids in the back. They're always racing down the footpath. It really annoys me how they expect pedestrians to give way to them. I make a conscious effort these days to NOT get out of the way when they cross onto my side. Why should I have to move?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Cyclists need to obey the trafic laws, cyclists also need to understand the flow of traffic and how to interact with it in the correct manner, if not they need to be educated which is what is happening to them now.

Hit them harder more often and educate these people who do not understand simple things.

Bicycle does not mean immunity from everyhting on the road, does not entitle you to special rights etc, wake up numb skulls.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The public appears to lack awareness that bicycle riders are subject to traffic rules just as vehicle drivers are, an agency official said.

This statement can be said for any country.... The number of times (when I've driven back home in the UK), where a cyclist would ignore a red light, cut you up, and then have the nerve to give you abuse.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm a (leisure) cyclist myself, but umbrellas and smartphone use are clearly wrong because you can't use the brakes. I would support spot fines for this, either pay the fine or your bike or smartphone gets confiscated.

Yokohamarides is correct though that many urban roads should be one way and more space should be set for cycle paths. If you go to other cities, cars constantly have to stop for pedestrians and cyclists. The last one I went to that impressed me was Geneva. However, there is no point building cycle paths if they are going to be full of people using umbrellas and smartphones.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Who said riding a bicycle is good for health?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Give 30% of the road to the bikes and 20% to the pedestrians!

The plage is the cars not the soft and green mobility.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The J cops near me just go after drivers and do not stop cyclists-contrary to what this article says about fines , there is no money in it for them...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There's enforcement of bicycle traffic violations? Where? I drive through Roppongi Hills weekly and see cyclists ride right through red lights in front of cops with no cop ever stopping or warning the cyclists of anything.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The two worst culprits in my eyes are the Parent Mama Chari speedsters who strap their most precious possession to their handle bar seats and go speeding into the abyss using them as a battering ram. Or the Uber eats who are obviously incentivised to go fast and so have absolutely zero regard for anything other than getting to their destination while the food is still hot.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I think the powered bikes terrorize the sidewalks whilst the Uber eats types cause mayhem on the roads. No regard for signs or traffic lights not checking over their shoulder before merging.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

More and more people using bicycles(a wonderful thing that should be encouraged) means more and more people attempting to navigate, and survive, hazardous infrastructure mostly meant for motor vehicles.

Allocate separate and protected space for cycling and most of the problems mentioned in the article will disappear.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

1,024 of breaking rules such as not using earphones or an umbrella while cycling, while 109 involved cycling while drunk.

NOT using earphones is breaking the rules! Or an umbrella for that matter? I am surprised I haven't been stopped yet, but I guess it's just a matter of time!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Cyclists are a menace.

Locally as a car driver I gave to double check when pulling out for cyclist belting the wrong way down one way streets. Obachans unstable cos baskets full of groceries not to mention mums with two kids...front and back (no one wearing helmets!)

if I hit them I'm the demon

uber cyclists are the least of my worries. Usually young and aware.

3 ( +10 / -7 )


It sounds like your part of the problem if you have no courtesy and kindly move out of the way.

Some sidewalks have bike lanes here, and I've seen pedestrians stand right smack in the middle of them making eye contact refusing to move.

There is always a flip side to the coin.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Cyclists on the wrong side of the road enrage me. They expect me to move out of the way and cause problems for other cyclists and drivers. The umbrella thing is so ubiquitous people must think it’s legal.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yet not a single person has been cited for smoking on the sidewalks. Nagoya passed an ordnance to stop smoking on sidewalks, and 10 years after the law went into effect, not a single citation was ever issued. Now in Tokyo they hire patrolmen to pick up the tens of thousands of cigarette butts thrown on sidewalks every day, but never enforce the law which was passed to prevent this pollution from occurring in the first place. Japan is a country of law and order, but laws must be equally enforced.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Not at all surprising.

I've often had to dodge cyclists while I was walking on the pavement, particularly mums riding with 2 toddlers.

What's confusing is that there are markings for cyclists on both roads and pavements in the same street!

While I understand cyclists not wanting to go on the road, the council should at least make the pavements wider.

As for the ones who got killed ignoring lights, it's people who got dragged into their recklessness I feel sorry for...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Interesting... imagine if police actually knew what bicycle laws were, since more than 70% have admitted they don't know any beyond the basics (and even then, where they might not apply, such as bikes on the sidewalk).

I got hit from behind by a middle-aged woman just last week while walking to work. Typical mama-chari with a child's seat on the back that rattles when it goes on and off the sidewalk, umbrella stand with umbrella open, woman had the visor on, etc. She ran into me then nearly fell of the tank she was driving, and had the gall to say to me, "You're walking while using a smartphone!" I shot back at her, "You hit me from behind you dumb bat! Not to mention you're on the sidewalk, right-hand side of the road, with an umbrella open. That's three infringements alone!" No apology.. nothing! She grumbled something under her breath, could barely right the bike, then went on speeding down the sidewalk while I stared at the mark left on the back of my jeans. Fortunately it wasn't that hard and she had slammed on the screeching breaks at the last minute when it was clear she wouldn't be able to go around me (due to the oncoming bike, also on the sidewalk).

Violations aren't up -- they are just doing their jobs a little more and going after a few people. They could take Japan out of debt if they started fining people for breaking the laws here.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I think that are trying to pass on the blame to Uber Eats delivery they can rest content that the run of the mill cyclists aren't breaking the law and therefore don't have to do anything about the local cycling etiquette since they always obey the law,right!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

There's a sidewalk near Skytree which resembles an Olympic cycling velodrome in the mornings. Cyclists treating the sidewalk like a racetrack. A couple of them have almost been knocked off their bikes by me as I refuse to cower out of the way. This is one of the most ridiculous non-laws in Japan - grown adults racing bikes on the sidewalk.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

As always, with any traffic-related issue it is the police who are to blame; they don't enforce existing laws simply because of laziness.

The crackdown needs to start with the police and fines should hurt, really hurt, several tens of thousands should do it.

However, it will never happen.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"Other violations include 1,555 cases of failure to stop at a stop sign"

I honestly don't think I have ever seen a bicycle stop at a stop sign.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Try walking to the shops and counting the number of cyclists who aren't violating the law in some way.

6 ( +9 / -3 )


I hear you.

It beggars belief that they can report the violations as actual fact.

There are so many that it is mind-blowing.

I remember a while back I saw a dude cycling while eating a bowl of instant noodles......he had both arms rested on his handlebars so he could enjoy his meal.

Saw a guy today riding with an umbrella in one hand while texting with the other resting his arms on the handlebars to steer while listening to his music......he went straight past a koban and not a single cop came out to pull him up because it was raining and they would have gotten wet.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I honestly feel bad for bikers. Police always seem to focus more on than drivers of motor vehicles.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

@spitfire .... 35% of all cyclists riding with open umbrellas.

Amazingly, I saw many using an umbrella while on their phones with earpods.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

How many violations haver I seen today on this rainy day........must be getting on for nearly 35% of all cyclists riding with open umbrellas.I don't how they report these violations with a straight face.What is worse now and compounding the problem even more is that a large proportion of those that received the ¥100,000 Abe gift spent it on those power-assist hybrid bikes.Now we not only have bad cycling etiquette on our roads we have it at a much higher weight and speed......a recipe for disaster.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

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