Riding a bicycle around the university and throughout Sapporo over the warmer months is a really enjoyable activity and also a cost effective way of getting around. Bicycles can be purchased new from various shops, or second hand from the University Co-op usually twice a year. If you become a Co-op member, you may also become eligible to receive a second hand bicycle for free. For more information, please visit the Co-op website (in Japanese), and then click on “International Students Committee.” Over the winter, riding a bicycle becomes extremely hazardous not only to you but to other people on the icy roads and is therefore forbidden by the university.
Bicycle Registration is always conducted when you purchase your bicycle. So be sure to have proof of identification and ¥500 for the registration fee during that time. As the number of bicycles increases, theft is also increasing and registration is now required by law. Be sure not to lose your bicycle registration card after purchase. If you give your bicycle to a friend or are given a bicycle, you must change the personal information attached to the bicycle. Ask at any bicycle shop for further information.
As of June 1st, 2015, stricter bicycle rules were introduced. If you break “Road Traffic Law” twice within 3 years, you will have to attend a lecture on bicycle riding by the police. This takes 3 hours long and costs ¥5,700. For more information, please visit the International Student Support Desk.
Please take note of the major rules for a riding bicycle below:
- Ride on the road and NOT on the sidewalk.
- Keep left.
- Obey traffic signals & signs.
- Use a bicycle light at night.
- Riding with 2 people, and parallel riding are prohibited.
- Don’t ride one handed (holding a cell phone or an umbrella).
- Don’t listen to music when riding.
- Riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol is against the law.
- Not using a light when riding a bicycle at night is against the law.
- Children must wear a helmet.
Although the rules of the road are listed above, here are some other common courtesies to bear in mind when riding your bicycle:
- Bicycles move on the left side of the road.
- When a bicycle path is defined on the sidewalk, bicycles must move within it.
- Whilst on the sidewalk, bicycles must move at a slow enough speed and be prepared to stop at any time.
- When disturbing the path of pedestrians, stop and walk your bicycle.
Bicycles should be parked only in areas designated as parking spaces. Around certain subway stations, such as Kita 12 and Sapporo Station, parking may be illegal. If you park your bicycle in prohibited areas, it may be removed and you will have to get your bicycle back within two months at a cost of ¥2,000. Please refer to the City of Sapporo’s website (in Japanese) for legal parking areas.