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What do you think of bicycling etiquette in Japan?

32 Comments

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32 Comments
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Is there any?

12 ( +22 / -10 )

Is there any?

Good point. What is ‘bicycling etiquette?’ Does that mean following traffic laws and rules of the road, and the more stringent bicycle regulations that were introduced a few years ago?

I like the fact that so many people cycle here. However, how they cycle is another matter completely - on narrow sidewalks, on roads riding against traffic, ignoring traffic signals, without headgear, lights, or high-visibility clothing. No, those things I don’t like.

And like issues with cycling in Japan, another major issue with country’s aging population is ‘motorized mobility scooter’ etiquette.

In my neck of the woods, more and more seniors are using which is great for their lives. However, they are ridden/driven like bicycles are here, with those riding/driving going against traffic, ignoring signals, and - worst of all - having no extra high-visibility equipment. In many countries where people use such scooters, they have tall flags alerting others - especially drivers - to their presence on or around road traffic. I’ve never seen a flag once on these devices in Japan. I have, however seen them coasting on country roads, much to my surprise, especially as they simply can’t be seen well until you draw close to them.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Is there any?

Good point. 

Agree

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

A nightmare. Given that bike lanes are nonexistent here they need to ride on the sidewalk which works out to chaos given all the foot traffic.

I've understood the "right of way" goes from pedestrian to cyclist to drivers. Drivers for the most part respect this, but cyclists flat out ignore it.

Fully agree with @Moonraker. Nonexistent.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Horrible! Can't count how many times the near misses I had with mothers on their mamacharis, not to mention that they love to cut off other cyclists and brake recklessly. Aside from their riding skills, hardly anybody wears a helmet. Japan is strict with its safety laws on cyclists such as requiring lights, no earphones, usage of umbrellas, but no mention on helmets. As someone who has cycled in Japan, I find that using a horn, a loud one, is useful at bringing their recklessness to their attention.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Etiquette? Defensive bicycling is more important. Dealing with vehicular traffic is my chief concern. However, I’ve often noticed that pedestrians ignore clearly marked divisions of some broad sidewalks.

Bicyclists ought to be considerate of pedestrians, of course, but riders have to be on their toes. Situational awareness is not a Japanese strength.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I puff myself up when a bicycle is coming at me. I am very large. So they steer well clear. Etiquette and bicycles is a fake.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

That the efforts of the people that actually follow the rules and ride with care are spoiled by the much more numerous that seem fixed into doing their worst and be involved in accidents.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

One thing that bothers me is whenever I am walking on a narrow sidewalk, I always get the "ching ching" coming from behind as if I need to be the one to get out of the way. This happens so much I almost want to yell at them "get off the sidewalk!".

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

quote: I’ve often noticed that pedestrians ignore clearly marked divisions of some broad sidewalks.

Painting some markings on random pavements to indicate cycle traffic is a recipe for disaster. With pedestrians on it, most of the marks will be obscured from view. People turning a corner might be looking to avoid other people, but they won't naturally stare at the ground to see if they are now sharing the pavement with cyclists.

If you want safe cycle lanes, switch one of the vehicle lanes to bikes, or lower a strip of the pavement to create a proper one for bikes only.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

there is none.

in Japan police can be harsh on drivers of cars or riders on bikes but bicycles...after 2.5decades in Japan I am still surprised that there are no traffic rules for bicycles ,say basic one like what side on road can ride,like have to stop on red signal,have to stop-check traffic before crossing road,bicycle msut have both front and rear lights ON and riders must wear helmets all the time...Japan still leaves in some kind of Jurassic park...

Japan does not need to invent warm water-just need to learn from others and just copy and past it here.Once bicycle riders will not comply than they will pay penalties as car drivers or bike riders do.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Organised chaos

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Get out of my way, pretty much sums it up.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Agreed, there isn’t any.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Organised chaos

In the cities, yes. However, imagine 10 or 20% more traffic though if some of those journeys were by car. More pollution, more gridlock, more car-on-human accidents. It would be even worse.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Today  09:37 am JST “ One thing that bothers me is whenever I am walking on a narrow sidewalk, I always get the "ching ching" coming from behind as if I need to be the one to get out of the way. This happens so much I almost want to yell at them "get off the sidewalk!". “

Tell me about it (!);

so annoying (!)

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Etiquette? I don't think we're anywhere near talking about etiquette when bicycles are used as kamikaze weapons: large chucks of metal hurtling at random any old how without any consideration whatsoever. I have seen a granny mown down on a bridge in Osaka by a junior high school boy in broad daylight.

I don't know if Kansai is uniquely atrocious in this regard, but what I do know is that I am far more scared of these machines than by Covid.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

How people ride on the street cannot be said "riding in a good manner". Some cross the road even the traffic light shows stop, and some ride against the cars. Revised traffic law has already in effect, however, many riders do not know much about it. Therefore, they ride on the pedestals, though they have to get off their bicycles. More announcement about law is needed so that many bicycle users can be aware of it. Also, those who do not follow the law or are against the etiquette should be punished.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There's no etiquette at all.

Cyclists here think they own the road and carelessly cycle around traffic, when I drive, while I exercise extreme caution and patience with children, the elderly and mama-charis I have no qualms about zoom passing cyclists (the types that wear spandex pants) and food delivery guys at high speed. Stay on the side walk, stick to mountain roads or cycling courses and leave the roads to cars.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

You mean the one were a crazy kid going insane in the bike hits you and then tries to flee with virtually no consequences at all?

It is pretty funny that if you are in a bicycle you can go as fast as your mucles allow you to without any real restrictions, even in the sidewalk, and depending on your strength and the terrain (for example, going downhill) you could surpass 40Km/h.

But if you try to use anything with an electric motor on it, even if that thing can do more than 15km/h, you need to get a gentsuki license, get number plates, get a back mirror and directional lights, and even if you could, you cannot legally go over 30Km/h... for that you need probably a full bike license.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Worst I've seen in any country.

Riders ignore the rules.

Police ignore the riders ignoring the rules.

It's actually quite pathetic.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Really not very good, similar to driving etiquette and walking etiquette. Common displays of lack of awareness (or apathy towards) their surroundings and lack of consideration for others around them. Often running red lights more blatantly than drivers who at least have some kind of three second rule. Riding on the wrong side of the road and glaring sullenly at me coming the other way, as though expecting me to swerve out into traffic for them. Riding with their elbows to be able to better use their phones, so absolutely not prepared for an emergency stop. In a situation where slowing down would be appropriate? Slowing down, stopping, looking left and right, the lessons of childhood? Nope, just come pounding out of that blind turn or through that intersection. (What brakes? Neck doesn't work.) Hand signalling doesn't seem to exist here either, probably because the hands have smartphones and umbrellas to attend to.

On a more positive note, better than my country of birth.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Most Japanese ride slowly, on the sidewalks and use their bells. Their slow speed means the chance for a tragic accident is reduced. Overall, everyone kinds of shares the sidewalks and no one gets into a big hissy fit over their space. It is metropolitan Japan, it is small, narrow, crowded.

Often times the most dangerous is the moms with semi electric assist bicycles and kids on the front and back. Their actual speed is very fast, and brakes are usually not maintained or just poor to begin compared to a road or mtb.

As many cars park or put on their hazards on main streets, it means the bike lanes are actually cut off, and doors fly open at an instant putting the bicyclist further into the lane of traffic.

Car drivers here in general are more courteous to bicyclists than I have found overseas, where road rage warriors speed up behind bicyclists and cuss them out or fight with cyclists at stop lights.

Stay safe, ride with common sense, use lights, slow down in crowded areas, wear a helmet if you want? I do when I ride in traffic to central tokyo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

snort * Bicycling etiquette? In Japan? Non-existent. I think the chances of you getting clipped by a cyclist or even mowed down is higher than getting hit by a car in Japan. Or so it feels like what with cyclists using the sidewalks, swerving carelessly in and out of crowds, not looking where they're turning etc. etc. It's still honestly baffling that for a country where so many people cycle, there is still a lack of proper bicycle infrastructure in cities.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

Riding racing bike which are designed for racing on closed roads should never be allow on public roads unless the road is close to other road users. Commuter bikes are fine They have wide general purpose wheels and tires they have handle bars that place your body in an upright alert position. Racing bike are not road user friendly and should be bar from public roads.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As said, totally non existing, was told "gaikokujin something something" with an angry face by some granny coming at me driving against traffic yesterday because I didn't give up the road 100%. I keep checking bicycle laws in case I'm the one being crazy. Where I live I see way more bicycles on the right side of the road instead of the left, I wonder if it has something to do with Kansai being the opposite on the escalators. Really can't see no other reason for people being so confident riding on the wrong side of the road, so many really seem to think they are in the right when they are coming at me waiting for me to yield.

And at the same time I see news reports on police checking if bicycle riders are properly putting down their feet at stop signs. Like 9 out of 10 won't even stop at a red light, priorities please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The traffic police in Japan have the power to charge you with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs even if you pass their testing. The not stopping at lights or balancing is so not to disengage their racing bike shoes and to re-engage which is pain if you are riding a racing bike. This again proves these type of bikes should be bared from road use. They are racing bike so do your practicing on the belladrone not on the road with other road user friendly vehicles. I ride my bike daily. I am not against commuting to work on their choice of bike weather it a E-bike or a tricycle as long as it is safe to use on the road with other road users. No to racing bikes on the public road systems period.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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