The rules were approved in 2007, and many court rulings have been handed down against cyclists. Some are concerned that the number of rulings indicates that people don't know about the road safety rules.
"Under Japan's Road Traffic Law, bicycles are treated as "vehicles" and are supposed to travel on roads, not sidewalks, but in practice the situation is different and recently there has been a surge in accidents between cyclists and pedestrians on sidewalks. In response to the increase, the Road Traffic Law was revised in 2007, creating a provision regarding conditions for bicycles traveling on sidewalks.
The judgments awarding high compensation to pedestrians highlight the tough stance courts are apparently taking against cyclists who injure pedestrians in response to the tightened regulations."