Cycling Rules of the Road


Traffic Safety Guidelines for pedestrians and cyclists is issued by the National Police Agency and the Japan Traffic Safety Association.  Please download the file and study the contents.

Responding to a traffic accident

Dial 119 or 110 if you are involved in or encountered a traffic accident

1, Stop your bicycle immediately.

2, Move your bicycle to the roadside to avoid obstructing other traffic.

3, If anyone is injured, call 119 to request an ambulance.
Until the ambulance arrives, give assistance and encouragement to the injured person, and use a clean handkerchief or clothe to stop any bleeding.

4, Call 110 to report the accident to the police regardless of whether anyone was injured.

5, Absolutely do not leave the accident scene until the police arrive.
As an operator of a cyclist is obliged to report the details of the accident to the police.

5 of Rules should be observed by cyclists in Japan

Rule 1
In principle, cyclists should ride on the street and use sidewalks only in the exceptional cases;
  • Bicycles are classified as vehicles, so as a general rule, cyclist should use the street.
  • Cyclists should use designated bicycle paths when they are available.
  • Cyclists should use the lanes marked for bicycles on sidewalks or roads when they are available.
  • Children under 13, adults 70 and over, and people with physical disabilities are permitted to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk.
  • When the street is too narrow, cyclists can ride on sidewalks.


Rule 2
Cyclists should ride on the left side of the street
  • Only the left side of the street should be used by cyclists.
  • Cyclists must not obstruct pedestrians if riding inside the lines marking pedestrian paths.


Rule 3
Cyclists must reduce speed on sidewalks and give pedestrians the right of way
  • When passing pedestrians on sidewalks, cyclists should reduce speed enough to enable a sudden stop.
  • Cyclists should stop riding if there is a risk of obstructing passing pedestrians on the sidewalks.
  • Cyclists should refrain from unnecessarily ringing bicycle bells at pedestrians on the sidewalks.
  • Pedestrians are given priority on sidewalks, so cyclists are expected to dismount their bicycle if necessary.


Rule 4
Cyclists must obey safety rules
  • Riding double is prohibited.
  • Riding side by side is prohibited.
  • Cyclists are prohibited from riding under the influence of alcohol.
  • Cycling after drinking alcohol is strictly prohibited.
    • Offenders could face up to several years in jail or a large fine.
    • Anyone who serves a person alcohol knowing that he or she will later ride a bicycle may also be subject to punishment.
  • Cyclists must use bicycle light at night
    • Cyclists must also use bicycle lights in the daytime when riding through tunnels or during foggy weather.
  • Cyclists must obey traffic lights at intersections and check for safety after coming to a full stop.
  • Cyclists must not use umbrellas.
  • Cyclists must not talk on mobile phones when riding.


Rule 5
Children must wear a bicycle helmet
  • Parents and guardians must ensure that children wear a bicycle helmet in the following cases;
  • When a child under the age of 6 is riding in the children’s seat of a bicycle.
  • When a child under the age of 13 is riding a bicycle.


14 of Dangerous Actions, cyclists obliged to attend lectures

On June 1st, 2015, the revised Road Traffic law went into effect,  obliging cyclists who repeatedly commit reckless actions to attend safety lectures.

Reckless acts designated in the revised law are as follows;

1, Ignoring traffic lights

2, Entering railroad crossing with bars down

3, Failure to obey no-passage instructions

4, Failure to reduce speed on sidewalks

5, Breaching traffic zone regulations

6, Obstructing pedestrians on side of road

7, Obstructing vehicles with right of way at crossroads

8, Unsafe cycling, such as using mobile phones while riding

9, Drunken cycling

10, Obstructing vehicles when making a right turn

11, Failure to observe safe passage at roundabouts and other places

12, Stop-Sign violations

13, Obstructing pedestrians of sidewalks

14, Riding bicycles without brekes

Rules at Intersections

1, Right-hand turn
  • At intersections with traffic light

    1. When the light turns green, the cyclist should cross the intersection in a straight direction and come to a stop on the opposite side with the bicycle facing right.
    2. When the light of the intersecting street turns green, the cyclist should proceed in a straight direction after looking both ways to check for safety.
  • At intersections without traffic lights

    1. The cyclist should look behind to check for safety, cross the intersection in a straight direction.
    2. Then, slow down to make a right-hand turn, and check for oncoming cars before proceeding.
2, Left-hand turn
  • When making a left-hand turn, the cyclist should make sure not to obstruct pedestrians crossing the street.
3, At Stop signs
  • Cyclists must come to a full stop at stop signs, and look both ways to check for oncoming cars before proceeding.
4, When a narrow road meets a wider street
  1. Cyclists should come to a full stop at intersections where visibility is poor, narrow roads meet wide streets, or where sidewalks comes to an end.
  2. Then, look both ways to check for safety before proceeding.
5, Intercections with bicycle lines
  • When the intersections has designated lines for bicycles, cyclists should ride within the lines.