Commuting by bicycle

The number of accidents involving bicycles is increasing. It is advisable, therefore, to enroll in an insurance plan (please refer to Insurance programs for KU students).

Rules

Failing to abide by the rules may result in being fined or penalized. Furthermore, bicyclists are liable to pay for injuries and property damages in accidents that they have caused. 

  • In general, bicycles are ridden on the left side of the street. It is permissible to ride on sidewalks if there is a sign indicating so (jitensha-hodo-tsukoka). When riding on sidewalk, ride slowly on the side closer to a street. In crowded areas, dismount the bicycle and walk with it.
  • Be sure to stop at “Stop” signs: "止まれ" (tomare: STOP). 
  • Bicycles are not allowed to turn right at intersections like cars. Use the bicycle crossing if there is one nearby.
  • Riding while under the influence of alcohol or carrying passengers is prohibited by law.
  • Use a light when cycling at night.
  • Lock your bicycle when parking for any length of time. It is highly recommended that you use two locks, since double-locked bicycles have a far lower risk of begin stolen.
  • Do not use an umbrella while riding a bicycle.
  • Do not use a cell-phone/smartphone or wear a headset/headphone while riding a bicycle. 
  • Children are required to wear helmets.
  • Obey traffic signals.  
  • Riding a bicycle in parallel with other cyclists is prohibited.

Crime prevention registration

Bicycle registration (bohan toroku) is required by law. When purchasing a bicycle, bring identification and proof of address. The cost of registration is 500 yen. Registration is valid for 5 years. Please make sure to keep the receipt given by the shop. If purchasing a bicycle registered in someone else’s name, be sure to obtain the registration certificate and the warranty certificate from the former owner, and change the registered name. If the bicycle is stolen, report to the police with the bicycle registration receipt.

Points to be aware of when parking bicycles

Bicycles parked unlawfully on side walks cause great inconvenience to pedestrians and drivers alike. Be sure to park only in the designated areas.

Bicycles parked in bicycle-prohibited-zones such as in front of stations, etc., will be removed in accordance with Kyoto City regulations. When a bicycle is missing, before assuming it was stolen, check the nearby notice or bulletin board. There may be a sticker indicating that the bicycle has been removed and instructions showing where to reclaim it. Removed bicycles are kept at the bicycle pound for 4 weeks. Notice that you need to pay when you reclaim the bicycle.

For further information on removed bicycles

Kyoto City also provides information concerning the bicycle parking lots and removed bicycles on their website (external link).

Kyoto City Construction Bureau (Japanese only)

Bicycle Policy Division (Jitensha Seisaku-ka)
Phone: 075-222-3565