- Cycling in Osaka is safe and easy -
Join the tens of thousands of people who cycle safely in Osaka every day. All you need is your common sense - don’t crash into cars because they’ll hurt you, and don’t crash into people because you will be in the wrong no matter what. In short - don’t crash into anything. Easy, right? ;)
Cycling on the sidewalk is widely practiced in Japan, and pedestrians make way for you at a polite ring of your bell. So you won't have to worry about competing with traffic - a huge relief! Be a considerate, careful rider and your Osaka cycling experience will be a fantastic one.
- Safety features -
Our bicycles feature a rear reflector for night riding visibility, and an electric front light for night riding.
Helmets are not mandatory for bicycle riders over the age of 12, and that rule is not strictly enforced either way. So whether you wear helmets or not is a decision we leave up to you and your hair style.
Our bicycles have locks that go through the rear wheel and prevents it turning. Please ALWAYS lock your bike when you’re not riding it. Bicycles and umbrellas seem to be the “exception to the rule” in safe, honest Japan. If your bike IS locked, it won’t be stolen. If your bike ISN’T locked (even if you left it alone for just a moment!), it may be stolen.
- Riding on the sidewalk -
Most cyclists in Japan ride on the sidewalk. Cyclists are supposed to ride on the road except in “unavoidable circumstances due to roadway or traffic conditions”, but in reality those circumstances exist everywhere at all times, and the majority of cyclists (including the police) ride on the sidewalk. That’s because the majority of cyclists are casual riders, commuting at low speeds and that’s the safest, most convenient option for them.
Speedy cyclists (like lycra-clad racers) should ride on the road, following traffic laws. As a rule, if you are riding on the sidewalk, stick to low speeds (less than 10kph/6.2mph) and always be considerate of pedestrians, who have the right of way in all situations.
IMPORTANT! - As the ‘larger vehicle’, cyclists are responsible for avoiding pedestrians! If in doubt, always yield to pedestrians and ride in a safe, considerate manner.
For more information on traffic rules regarding cycling, here’s a link to an easy-to-understand English leaflet published by the Japanese authorities:
- Road Rules -
Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road in Japan, and the road rules say that cyclists riding on the road do so too. See below for advice about riding on sidewalks, which is where you’ll spend most of your time.
Riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol is officially a very serious offence, although I’ve never known anyone to get in trouble provided they aren’t involved in an accident.
Riders at night are required to turn on their light. Children aged 12 and under are supposed to wear helmets. Helmets are available for rental for 300 yen per day. If interested, contact us in advance to ensure they're available.
Riding one-handed is illegal, although this rule is largely ignored and not enforced. Every day you see hundreds of examples of people riding with umbrellas, talking on the phone or even texting! Riding with only one hand is very dangerous though, and we strongly suggest you avoid doing it.
In all cases we encourage you to obey the law and use your common sense.
- Parking legally -
In the central city, there are paid parking spots where you can park your bicycle for a small fee. Some larger shops and restaurants have their own parking spaces. If you’re away from the city center there are places you can park for free, and after 7pm it’s generally acceptable to park your bike in central city streets, provided you aren’t obstructing cars, foot traffic or local businesses. Be considerate and use common sense in cases like that.
Be aware that if you park your bike illegally during the day time in the central city or near any train or subway station, there is a small chance it will be confiscated by the city. This is called “Tekkyo/鉄橋” and it will require us to travel to the particular confiscation lot, pay a fine, and ride the bike back. You can tell that your bike has been “tekkyo”ed because they will stick sheets of white paper to the ground, telling you where the bikes have been taken away to.
If you are unlucky enough to have your bike taken away, it’s very important that you take a picture of that paper so we can read it! It’s not only proof that your bike hasn’t been stolen, it’s essential for us being able to go get the bike back. As back up, if possible please take a note (using google maps) of the place where the bike was taken from, and the time it was taken.
The fee if your bike is taken by the city is just 5,000 yen, but the fee if your bike gets stolen is 10,000 yen. So please help us get our poor bikes back. :)