Bicycles are a cheap and efficient means of transportation wherever you are in the world. While it’s common for every individual to have one, there are things that differ in terms of rules if you will. In my country, the Philippines, rules for biking don’t really exist. That’s what I’ve known for 25 years of living there. You buy and put it to use at your own risk. I had never owned one until I moved to Japan.
Back home, biking became dangerous in my eyes after having a little mishap while learning how to ride it. Right there and then, I swore I’d never ride one. The scars on my left knee have faded, but I can still recall that unfortunate event. Thank God nothing serious happened.
Having to live in Japan for over a year, the sight of the locals on their bikes has become normal to me thus I ended up asking my better half to get one for me with a word to always be careful and abide by the regulations.
Here are the things I’ve picked up all along which are totally new to me and certainly different from my motherland: (Note: I have no intention to offend anyone nor degrade my own country. These are facts.)
- Upon purchasing a bike, you’ll be given a membership card with your newly bought bike’s number and a document with details of your purchase. They will be needed in case of theft. This isn’t the case in the Philippines. You get nothing but your bike of choice.
- The member card serves as an insurance as well. Apart from the bike’s price, you’re asked to pay for different costs with particular inclusions. For example, if your bike is stolen within a year from the date of purchase, you can buy the same model for half the original price. No such thing as bike insurance in the PH. Stolen bike? Go buy a new one for full price of course!
- If there are pedestrian lanes, there are bike lanes as well. This isn’t the case in the PH. Don’t be surprised if you see bikers riding along with the cars and big trucks.
- When you’re on the bike, remember to always give way to the pedestrians. Not always the case in my country. In my experience, I had to wait for the the biker to pass me by before crossing.
- Keep to your left. Just go the other way in a few cases like a pedestrian is coming to your direction and doesn’t seem to budge moving to his left. Not quite sure about this in the PH. One can go either way depending on the situation.
- You have to turn on the headlight at night unless you want to be caught and be fined. In the Philippines, it doesn’t matter.
- Always check and follow the traffic lights. Probably the same in my country.
- There are designated parking areas for bicycles. Some are for free, some are not. In my country, you can park anywhere and as long as you want.
- If you want to ride a bike with a toddler or two, worry not, there’s a specific bike for you. I’ve never seen anything like it in the PH.
Did I miss a thing? I must say, biking in Japan is quite safe and absolutely convenient. How about in your country?