The bicycle is a widely used means of transport in Japan, especially in large cities such as Tokyo. Japan ranks third as the country with the largest number of bicycles in the world.
The car is not super popular as in Brazil, since it is possible to get around the country with trains and meters. So most Japanese people use bicycles to get to work, the market, shopping, kindergartens, schools, doctors and other short distances. Cycling most times is 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 security and education, bicycles can be positioned without any worries. Cycling can be much more practical than facing queues and traffic jams in large cities.
Despite the technology, most bicycles in Japan are simple, some often have baskets on the front, and that does not mean that the bicycle is female. Bicycle prices are usually 10-30 thousand yen, but you can find them even cheaper at used stores. The bikes that have this basket are known as Mama Chari.
The Japanese comply with 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 receives an anti-theft registration number "Jitensha Bouhan Toroku", if someone steals your bike, it will be easier to find it.
In Japan, cyclists walk on sidewalks only if there are signs and a cycle lane. Otherwise they must walk on the street, together with the cars and, always on the left.
It is forbidden to give a ride to someone (other than a child) on your bicycle. You can get a fine of 20,000 円 (about 600 reais).
Children under 13 are required to wear a helmet, and children under 6 must go in the car seat.
Using an umbrella, listening to music, touching the phone while riding a bike can lead to a fine of up to 50,000 円 (1600 reais).
You cannot cross a bicycle-mounted crosswalk. And remember to always use the lighthouse at night.
It is forbidden to ride an alcoholic bicycle. This could lead to a fine of 1 million yen and up to 5 years in prison.
Take good care of your safety and your bike. Leaving bicycles lying around anywhere can also pay you a fine. By following these rules and traffic signs, you will be trouble free.
As Japan is a very safe country, the police use a lot of their time to fine cyclists who break the law. So think carefully before you get any done. People are more afraid of the police when they are on a bicycle. It may seem that the Japanese are saints, but they quite inflict laws on cyclists.
Although Japan is a safe country, there are some bicycle thefts. Some people sometimes take someone else's bicycle to go to a certain place. Most of the times she returns the bicycle to the place where it was. But some tend to steal, or leave it lying around when they don't need it anymore.
There are many things to talk about bicycles in Japan, but today we stop here. Finally, we will 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 lot in Japan: