Some information for those of you who may be returning to Jiba soon for the Oyasato Seminar or International Hinokishin Corps: the police in Tenri have cracking down on bad bicycling behavior since May this year to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.
I have seen police officers patrolling the Tenri Hondori shopping arcade at night recently, not to mention hanging banners that promote good bicycling behavior, so it is advisable to bike in Tenri with caution since a 50,000 yen traffic fine is the last thing you want while you are here.
Even worse, in the event you are in an accident and injure a pedestrian due to prohibited bicycling behavior, you will be asked to pay compensation to the accident victim.
To give an idea on what bicycle-riding infractions the police will likely stop you for, here is a caution list handed out to students of the Tenrikyo Language Institute.
- As a rule, ride your bicycles on the road (Exceptions include designated areas or when the traffic situation does not allow it.)
- Ride your bicycles on the left side of the road.
- Yield to pedestrians when riding on the sidewalk. While riding on the sidewalk, yield to pedestrians and ride on the side closer to the road at a reduced speed.
- The following behaviors are prohibited: Riding while intoxicated, double-riding, and riding side-to-side with another rider.
- Turn your lights on at night. (Ensure your bicycle has a working headlight and a reflector in the rear)
- Observe traffic lights. Pause at intersections before proceeding.
- When making a left turn at a traffic light, make a stop when the light is red.
- Do not use cell phones or listen to portable music devices while riding.
(Violators will be fined up to 50,000 yen, equivalent to about $627.50 USD)
- Do not ride a bicycle with an open umbrella. If you are held responsible for an accident, you will be asked to pay compensation equivalent to what a motorist pays.
- Japan Cycling Navigator: Info (2009)
- Japan Today: “Police caution more than 10,000 in Tokyo for breaking new bicycle rules” (Feb 2012)
- Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department: Bicycle traffic rules and manners (Japanese)
(TLI caution list in Japanese)
- 自転車は原則車道 を走る。（指定の表示がある場合と、交通状況からやむを得ない場合を除く）