Bicycles are a popular means of transport in Japan, especially in large cities like Tokyo. Japan ranks third as the country with the most bicycles in the world.
The car is not as popular as it is in Brazil, as it is possible to travel all over the country with trains and meters. So most Japanese people use bicycles to commute to work, market, mall, day care, schools, doctors and other short-distance commutes. Cycling is often much faster and more convenient than taking a train or driving a car.
Unlike cars, bicycle parking is easier to find and sometimes free. As in Japan there is safety and education, bikes can be positioned without any worries. Cycling can be much more practical than facing queues and congestion in large cities.
Despite the technology, most bikes in Japan are simple, some often have baskets in the front, and that doesn't mean the bike is female. Bike prices are usually between 10,000 and 30,000 yen, but you can find even cheaper at second-hand stores. Bikes that have this basket are known as Mama Chari.
The Japanese abide by traffic laws and tend to respect pedestrians and cyclists. But cyclists also have several rules to follow. Breaking some of the laws below can result in a fine and even imprisonment.
It is possible to register your bike at a police station, your bike is given an anti-theft registration number “Jitesha Bouhan Toroku”, if someone steals your bike, it will be easier to find.
In Japan, cyclists ride on sidewalks only if there are signs and lanes for cyclists. Otherwise, they must walk on the street, along with the cars, and always to the left.
It is forbidden to give someone (other than a child) a ride on your bicycle. You can get a fine of 20,000 円 (about 600 reais).
Children under 13 years old are required to wear a helmet, and children under 6 years old must use a car seat.
Using an umbrella, listening to music, using the phone while riding a bike can result in a fine of up to 50,000 円 (1600 reais).
You cannot cross a pedestrian lane mounted on the bicycle. And remember to always use the headlight at night.
Cycling under the influence of alcohol is prohibited. This can result in a fine of 1 million yen and up to 5 years in prison.
Take good care of your safety and your bike. Leaving bikes lying around can also get you a fine. By following these rules and traffic signs, you will be out of trouble.
As Japan is a very safe country, the police use a lot of their time to fine cyclists who break the laws. So think carefully before you do anything. People tend to be more afraid of the police when they are on a bicycle. It might seem like the Japanese are saints, but they inflict a lot of bike laws.
Despite Japan being a safe country, there are some bicycle thefts. Some people sometimes take someone else's bike to go somewhere. Most of the time she returns the bike to where it was. But some tend to steal, or leave it anywhere when they don't need it anymore.
There are many things to say about bicycles in Japan, but today we stop here. Finally, let's leave some interesting videos about bicycles in Japan.
The video below shows a little bit of Japan and its bikes.
See a modern bicycle parking in Japan: