Tokyobling's Blog

Tokyo Bicycle Paths

Posted in Places by tokyobling on February 3, 2014

Personally I don’t ride a bicycle in Tokyo but plenty of people do, both locals and foreigners. Technically it is legal to ride a bicycle on sidewalks only where there are signs or special bicycle lanes allowing this, which might surprise you since there are very few of these around. You are also supposed to have lights on at night, not give a ride to any more than one person under the age of seven, not ride while under the influence of alcohol and always give right of way to pedestrians. You often see all of these rules broken on the sidewalks of Tokyo, sometimes even by the police themselves! Legally it is much safer to ride with the other traffic on the streets although I always shudder when I see those daredevils daring the mixed traffic of Tokyo roads.

On one sidewalk however, several months ago, I found this sign permitting bicycles, the first of its kind I’ve ever seen, near Asakusa. A few months after that, I saw another one near Shinjuku. But no matter where you ride, be careful!




18 Responses

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  1. Let Us Talk Good... said, on February 3, 2014 at 5:54 am

    OMG! I love this thing about Japan, that you people still ride on your bycyles. My father lived in Japan for 6 years and he still rides on his bycycle no matter what car we have! I love Japan and I want to come here!


    • tokyobling said, on February 3, 2014 at 6:54 am

      I love Japan and I love bicycles! I am glad to hear that he still rides them – keep fit, keep healthy and make a difference! (^-^)


      • Let Us Talk Good... said, on February 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

        Thank you and my regards for u n ur japan!


  2. TonyJ2 said, on February 3, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Thanks again for one of your tips about these cycling signs. I have given riding a go in Tokyo. While only for a few hours, I felt safer than at home! And with so many wide streets with good footpaths, canals and rivers, there are plenty of opportunities for getting off the road.


    • tokyobling said, on February 4, 2014 at 7:31 am

      Hi Tony! Thank you for the kind comment. Yes there are plenty of places for safe biking, I wish we had even more! It would be cool if there was a map showing the “bike lane highways of Tokyo”!


      • TonyJ2 said, on February 4, 2014 at 8:33 am

        True. I have this wierd little habit of riding in as many of the big cities I get to as possible. And I use the technique of riding where lots of others are as well. Eg Asakusa-dori. Makes a smaller target!


  3. celia knox said, on February 3, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    That’s the first time for me to see that first sign, too! I ride my bike around my neighbourhood, usually to the supermarket or train station. But I haven’t had a completely trouble-free bike-riding experience. I’ve been yelled at a few times by old Japanese men for parking and/or riding in supposedly the wrong place. One guy shook his old walking stick at me. I think he was trying to shame me in public, or something. I do try to obey the rules as much as I can!


    • tokyobling said, on February 4, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Hahaha… I hope that you were unlucky and met some very cranky people rather than you riding too much in the wrong places! It is super tricky to know what goes and what doesn’t when everything is illegal but everyone does it anyway. (^-^)


  4. samokan said, on February 4, 2014 at 3:22 am

    I was ask to join a seminar on bicycle rules since I used it to go to work. I never thought there were so many rules. Even listening to music while cycling is actually illegal. And since bicycle is still considered a vehicle like a car, if there are no special area in the pedestrian, you are supposed to cycle in the street together with the car in the side though. So many rules.


    • tokyobling said, on February 4, 2014 at 7:34 am

      It sounds like an interesting seminar and definitively worth a longish blog post! (^-^)


      • samokan said, on February 4, 2014 at 8:28 am

        It was. I got scare after it that I ended up walking to work for the next few days. I was planning to actually, I just have to get over my laziness 🙂


  5. Noodlect said, on February 4, 2014 at 10:49 am



  6. nanorie said, on February 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Cyklisterna är en av de grejjerna som jag kan bli smått irriterad över efter att ha nästan blivit påkörd 3-4 gånger. Det kan inte vara särskilt säkert för mammacyklisterna heller som kommer flygande med både barn och matkassar och krockar med fotgängare. Antar väl att det inte finns plats för att ha både gångvägar, cykelvägar och bilvägar överallt i Tokyo. Jag har dock aldrig hört någon av mina japanska vänner klagat om det (förutom när de väl blir påkörda), men sedan brukar japaner ju inte klaga så mycket som svenskar hah 🙂 Intressant med skylten, aldrig sett heller!


    • tokyobling said, on February 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Tokyo är trångt och det blir bara trängre och trängre för varje år! Det är därför jag hellre går än cyklar. Plus att man får mer chanser att fota! (^-^)


      • nanorie said, on February 7, 2014 at 2:05 am

        Det är sant! Brukar själv också bara gå 🙂 Alltid kul när man hittar undangömda små bakgator och nya ställen via fot…


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