|So what do all the lines and signs mean?|
This article goes back some years but is a good base line. If you spot something incorrect, contact the admin and let us know so we can rectify it. Thanx
Contributed by Warren Daniel: I recently asked a couple of police officers (in detail) about the situation regarding lines. According to what they told me, it is safe to cross all white-lines, however, it is prohibited from crossing any yellow-lines. One may *pass* inside of the lane marked with a yellow-line and as long as one does not cross the line, one will be fine. Here's the breakdown of what they gave me:
White lines/yellow lines:
1) Broken white-line -- go for it. Just use your turn signal and no one really cares.
2) Solid white-line --- go for it but use caution. The purpose of the solid, white-line is to highlight the fact that changing lanes is more dangerous but one may cross the line.
3) Solid yellow-line -- do not cross. Passing within the lane is okay and also cutting across the line due to double-parked cars is fine.
About solid yellow lines, Tetsuya Nishimura contributes:
It becomes Oikoshi Kinshi (追い越し禁止 - No Passing) only when accompanied by a no-passing sign. And the no-passing sign is the same as Oikoshi No Tame No Hamidashi Kinshi (追い越しの為のは食み 出す禁止 - No crossing of line when passing): a white sign with a red circle and slash with two arrows inside), which people generally believe no-passing, except a white, recangular supplimental sign underneath it saying Oikoshi Kinshi (no passing).
4) Solid, thick yellow-line -- DO NOT CROSS. They seemed to stress that one... It was almost as if crossing the thick, yellow line means "Go straight to jail, do not pass go." This also includes the thick yellow-line which contains a thick white-line.
Nirinsha (two-wheeled vehicle) zones:
1) white-line leading to the nirinsha zone -- may be crossed to reach the nirinsha zone.
2) yellow-line leading to the nirinsha zone -- may be crossed to reach the nirinsha zone *if* cars are not moving. If cars are moving, however, it is not to be crossed.
3) white-line that turns into a yellow-line leading to the nirinsha zone -- white part may be crossed at anytime however yellow area may only be crossed when cars are not in motion. Same as number 2 above.
4) confusing, what-the-hell-does-this-mean, speckled white-yellow-white-yellow-line -- I personally feel that it is an attempt at the sanity of motorcyclists by the police but from what I was told, if a line has any amount of yellow in it, treat it as if it is a yellow line. When I asked if it was permitted to wheelie down while avoiding the yellow areas, they just laughed. I have no idea why. ;-)
On the highway:
1) broken white-line (lane lines) -- Again, maybe crossed however turn, however, use of turn signal is needed. Tetsuya Nishimura also contributed: On major National Routes and Expressways, the distance from the beginning of a broken line to the beginning of the next broken line is usually 20 meters. It may not be the case in the city even if it's a major route.
------ ------ ------ ------
|<- 20m ->| |<- 20m ->|
2) solid white-line (lane lines) -- Okay to cross but use caution.
3) solid white-line (emergency lanes) -- These are not to be crossed unless stopping in the emergency lane. Although cagers enjoy barreling down the emergency lanes, especially during Golden Week and other times of major backups, you'll get stopped if they see you.
4) yellow-line (where incountered) -- Cannot cross although passing is allowed (???).
Other notes courtesy of Tetsuya Nishimura:
Two white diamonds lined up vertically Pedestrian crossing ahead
White inverted triangle Yield ahead
"60 Kou Chuu" ("60高中") 60km/h for high and mid speed vehicles
With this paint on the road, Chuusokusha (Mid-speed vehicle) that includes 125-250cc bikes can run at 60km/h, which exceeds the legal speed limit for the class on the ordinary street (50km/h) by 10km/h. 50 Kou Chuu and 40 Kou Chuu are more frequently seen. [Note: Wherever possible Japanese routinely exceed the speed limit anyway--patrol cars, comparitively speaking, are few and far between. Still, keeping Murphy's Law in mind...]
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