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Question about traffic rules.

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Question about traffic rules.

Postby weirdo36 » Sat 10.04.2008 3:58 am

Ife been looking around on the internet and on the forums but I can't find a lot of information about Japanese traffic rules. I bought a bicycle yesterday and now when I’m biking around I feel like I’m not all that save. When looking on the internet I could only find this http://www.pref.aichi.jp/chiiki-anzen/k ... u/english/ and http://www.npa.go.jp/english/kouki1/Bas ... nJapan.pdf . I currently have 2 big questions, 1 how do I spot a bicycle road? I am not allowed to drive on the sidewalk unless it has a bicycle road but how do I spot there other then the fact that they have a bike on them and a sign every now and then? Or is that the only way to spot them and does that just mean there are hardly any bicycle roads where I life. The other question I have is, if I come to a intersection without any traffic signs or without any traffic lights Who can go first? For example A car is coming from the right will he go first or will I go first?
I tried asking these questions to Japanese people but they just told me that it's save to always let a car go first. But I would still like to know it because most often cars approach me slowly not knowing what to expect from me ( as they can clearly see I don’t know who can go first from my hesitation and they can see I’m a foreigner so they properly think I have no clue what I’m doing) and as a result I don't know If I should just wait for them or go first. I can of course always go first when it's possible but I don't think that will get me a lot of friends if that involves violating traffic rules.

So if anybody happens to know any good information website about Japanese traffic rules or if somebody would be willing to help me answer these questions then I will be very thankful.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby tōkai devotee » Sat 10.04.2008 5:18 am

The are no traffic rules!! Especially if you're in Aichi-ken. I was living there 10 years ago and the first thing I was told when I arrived was that there are no rules. In seriousness, I'm sure there are rules, but no-one really obeys them.

I'm sure someone else will have a more useful answer than this :wink:  
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby weirdo36 » Sat 10.04.2008 5:20 am

Well I did got told by my school to be carefull as apparently Okazaki has a very big amount of traffic accidents. But yeah ife seen a lot of strange things here but I do hope somebody knows the rules because that way I know when I am abiding the rules and not.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby tōkai devotee » Sat 10.04.2008 5:38 am

Okazaki?? I've been there many times and still have some friends there. I wasn't far from there. I lived in Toyohashi and for a while in Toyokawa. The traffic there was shocking! It was a scary place to drive in or ride a bike. I was told that they had the highest rate of traffic accidents in the whole country. I don't know if it's still the case now but it wouldn't surprise me.

I'll try and find out the answers to your questions.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby weirdo36 » Sat 10.04.2008 5:59 am

Well apperently it still has at least that's what my school told me. And I only know toyohashi as the closest by Shinkansen stop but I haven't been there yet. Anyway if you find out any traffic rules that would be super :P
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby richvh » Sat 10.04.2008 9:37 am

When I was riding a bike in Japan, I just obeyed the same traffic laws I learned back home:
Ride with traffic
Stay off the sidewalk
Signal turns and stops
Obey all signals

Do that and I don't think you'll have too much trouble.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby MMM » Sat 10.04.2008 4:18 pm

weirdo36 wrote:Ife been looking around on the internet and on the forums but I can't find a lot of information about Japanese traffic rules. I bought a bicycle yesterday and now when I’m biking around I feel like I’m not all that save. When looking on the internet I could only find this http://www.pref.aichi.jp/chiiki-anzen/k ... u/english/ and http://www.npa.go.jp/english/kouki1/Bas ... nJapan.pdf . I currently have 2 big questions, 1 how do I spot a bicycle road? I am not allowed to drive on the sidewalk unless it has a bicycle road but how do I spot there other then the fact that they have a bike on them and a sign every now and then? Or is that the only way to spot them and does that just mean there are hardly any bicycle roads where I life. The other question I have is, if I come to a intersection without any traffic signs or without any traffic lights Who can go first? For example A car is coming from the right will he go first or will I go first?
I tried asking these questions to Japanese people but they just told me that it's save to always let a car go first. But I would still like to know it because most often cars approach me slowly not knowing what to expect from me ( as they can clearly see I don’t know who can go first from my hesitation and they can see I’m a foreigner so they properly think I have no clue what I’m doing) and as a result I don't know If I should just wait for them or go first. I can of course always go first when it's possible but I don't think that will get me a lot of friends if that involves violating traffic rules.

So if anybody happens to know any good information website about Japanese traffic rules or if somebody would be willing to help me answer these questions then I will be very thankful.


Here's how things were were I lived:

If there is a four-way intersection with no sign, I wouldn't expect the cars to do more than slow down slightly. Even if there are stop signs, I wouldn't expect more than a rolling stop. A car driver will never feel the need to "share the road" with bicycle. If there is a sidewalk, use it (unless it is very crowded with pedestrians). Where I was there weren't many sidewalks. The road is a battlefield.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 10.04.2008 5:04 pm

richvh wrote:When I was riding a bike in Japan, I just obeyed the same traffic laws I learned back home:
Ride with traffic
Stay off the sidewalk
Signal turns and stops
Obey all signals

Do that and I don't think you'll have too much trouble.


The thought of him doing that reminds me of the words of the American consul in Russia who was informed by Lee Harvey Oswald that he wanted to renounce his citizenship and live in Russia because he was a Marxist....."then you're going to be a very lonely man".

God bless you if you actually did all that, but you're probably the only person in Japanese bicycling history who ever has.
Never underestimate my capacity for pettiness.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby tōkai devotee » Sun 10.05.2008 5:48 am

There are a few places in Japan where it's ok to a few places in Japan where it's ok to ride on the footpath (or sidewalk as Americans say) but you must use your common sense and look out for pedestrians. I've been looking everywhere for a pic of the sign which allows you to ride on the footpath and can't find it. It's circular and coloured sky blue with a pic of a bicycle and an adult holding a child's hand. If you see one of those it's ok to ride on that street.

When I rode in Japan, I often used the footpath, especially on major roads. I had to go down national route 1 at least for part of the way and that was always busy with trucks and was so scary, so I always rode on the footpath then. The footpaths were wide and there was never any trouble. There was plenty of room for bikes and pedestrians. Policemen often slowed down and looked at me but since I was riding carefully, they did nothing (except when I drove a car on the footpath, but that's another story!! :wink: ). A friend told me that they'd rather see someone cycling on the footpath than on the road as it's safer. With the increase in cars on the roads, it's not very safe for cyclists.

I think one of the best advice I could give is watch what other cyclists do.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby weirdo36 » Sun 10.05.2008 7:44 am

tokai devotee wrote:I think one of the best advice I could give is watch what other cyclists do.


Well thank you for the advice but the Japanese people really just do as they please here. They drive on sidewalks were youre not allowed to they pass people on the left and the ride side, all kinds of strange things happen so they are not a good example im afraid. I think I should look around to find Police on a bike and then mimic there actions.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby tōkai devotee » Sun 10.05.2008 10:44 pm

Well, what I really mean is, "When is ROme do as the Romans do" - kind of! If the Japanese are doing crazy things when cycling, I don't expect you to do that too. But if they are riding on the sidewalk,and not getting into trouble then assume that you can too.

I know you feel unsafe and that's understandable. It is very unsafe.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby pippa » Mon 10.06.2008 11:40 pm

I lived in Okazaki for a year and didn't find the traffic to be too dangerous. In the centre of Okazaki (ie. the approximate area between Higashi Okazaki Station, JR Okazaki Station and Aeon) most of the footpaths/sidewalks have bike lanes (as tokai devotee described them). As long as you use your common sense and pay attention when you're on the road, you shouldn't have too much to worry about.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby MMM » Tue 10.07.2008 5:31 am

It sounds like the situation might be different depending on what part of japan you live in.
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby weirdo36 » Tue 10.07.2008 7:43 am

Of course the traffic situation is different troughout Japan but I suppose the Traffic rules are the same everywhere. Would the Traffic rules perhaps be the same as the Default European driving rules where they drive on the right side of the road but then just fliped over to the other side? For example when I want to pass another bike Do I do it on the Right side? As in the EU you would have to do it on the left side, and if somebody comes from the left would that mean They can go first as in the EU people from the right can go first?
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Re: Question about traffic rules.

Postby coco » Wed 10.08.2008 5:05 am

Traffic laws were partially amended in June. They added some rules for bicycle.
Although I couldn't find any website written in English, this page might be helpful.
http://www.bicycle-file.com/jm_q&a_1.htm
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