Chapter 15 - The Rules of the Road

We've still got some time. Would you like to go out for another spin?
Huh?
Risa, you have that gleam in your eyes. Maybe you should try to calm yourself somewhat.
I just feel like I hardly got to ride, that's all...
But perhaps it would be better to take a short break.
Yeah... I think it'd be better if you rest for a minute before heading back out.
Maaai, I'm ready for tea now.
Sorry, looks like I've got a cranky kid to deal with on top of that.
I'm not a kid!!
Well, what if we all went to that cafe over there?
Sounds good to me! Come on, come on, let's go, Mai!
Do you mind, Risa-chan?
N- No...
Hehehe... You look like a dog without a bone, Risa.
N- No I don't...
I confess, I don't mind seeing you want it so badly♡
Geeze, why do you have to say it like that... People will get the wrong idea.
Well, they're free to interpret it how they choose♡
I'd rather they didn't...
Hey, you slowpokes... The rest of us are leaving now, okay?
Oh, right! We're coming right now, Reo-sama~
Wow, this place has such a relaxed atmosphere.
I often come here on my breaks.
.........
Risa, is something the matter? You're frowning at your menu.
I- It's nothing... Hmm, a cappuccino...?
Do you perhaps... want to try one of these latte art cappuccinos?
No, I just thought they looked neat is all...
Quite. Coffee is little more than unrefined bilge water, after all.
You always say that... What's your hangup anyway?
By the way, Mai-kun, which course did you take earlier?
We just went through some areas without many people... We turned around before we hit the downtown area.
Ahh, that's good for their first time out. It's better to start slow.
Um, Satsuki-san? Can I ask you something?
Hm? What is it, Risa-kun?
Are there any things I need to watch out for when I'm riding around town?
Let's see... It's probably a good idea for you to memorize the "Rules of the Road."
That's true, they're essential to riding safely.
You're on a bicycle, so doesn't that mean you can just ride on the street, or sidewalk, or wherever you feel like?
Not quite, Reo. If you don't obey the rules, you're liable to get in an accident.
That reminds me... It seems like I've been seeing lots of stories about bicycle accidents on the news lately.
Avoiding things like that is the perfect reason to commit these to memory.
Yeah... That's a good point.
The first thing to know is... Obey the lights. This should be obvious. Even the minor ones, even in the middle of the night when no one else is around, always obey traffic lights.
Also, no distracted riding. That includes having your umbrella out, or messing with or talking on your phone.
Oh, I've even seen people blow through a red light while they were playing on their phone with headphones on...
They don't even notice until they're hit by a car, then they get wrapped around the tire or lose an arm or a leg... I've heard stories from the older nursing students.
Eeegh... (*shiver*)
N- No distracted riding, got it!
Also... and this is getting a little technical, but bicycles are legally classified as a light vehicle.
A light vehicle?
That's why whenever there's a roadway with both a street and a sidewalk, you're required to ride in the street, on the lefthand side.
So that means riding on the left shoulder? That seems kind of scary... You're not allowed to ride on the sidewalk?
The traffic laws were amended to say that bicycles should ride on the street under ordinary conditions, but may ride on the sidewalk "only under circumstances when riding in the street would be hazardous."
Miya... How do you know all that? But when you say it's not allowed, that means...
If you're caught in violation, you can face imprisonment for up to 3 months, or a fine of up to 50,000 yen.
Are you serious?! Fines or jail time...?
Well, it goes hand in hand with the rules for cars. Wouldn't it be scary if bikes went the wrong way on the street, or rode on the sidewalk?
...Yeah, that would be scary.
And thus, violations incur penalties. The reality is they aren't enforced very strictly, but it's still a good idea to know the rules so that you can obey them.
Yeah... You really know a lot about this, though. When did you read up on it?
I just researched it in my free time... Like during class.
You should be paying attention during class! I still can't believe you remember all that just from reading it, though...
Risa, have you forgotten who I am? I'm Ayase Miya, the beautiful dark-haired girl genius.
Hnnh... It sounds stupid the way you say it, but it's true...
I'm really impressed, Miya-kun.
Naturally. If there's anything you would like to know, please don't hesistate to ask.
Hmph, you know-it-alls are all alike...
So I get the most important rules. But I still feel like I'd be more comfortable riding on the sidewalk when there are lots of cars around...
It seems that's considered unavoidable, to some degree. But you must exercise extreme caution on sidewalks where there are people. Pedestrians have the right of way.
I see... But cars drive on the street, and people walk on the sidewalk. It seems like there should be a special road just for bicycles...
In fact there are, Risa. Lately, bike lanes have been growing more and more popular nationwide.
Bike lanes?! They actually have something like that?
They've begun appearing alongside major roads. The trick to riding more efficiently is to be aware of and make active use of them.
Okay. I'll be on the lookout for those next time.
So the things I need to remember are... exercise caution on the sidewalks, and take advantage of bike lanes.
Now I know all about the rules of the road too!
Risa... That dialogue was so terrible and forced... It was like something straight out of an educational video.
G- Geeze, it wasn't that bad, was it?!
But Miya-chan actually does know quite a bit. I don't think we have anything to worry about.
Grrr... Why are you always being so nice to her?!
What's the matter, Reo? You're not jealous of Miya-chan, are you?
O- Of course I'm not jealous! I may not look like it, but I know a lot too!
Wow, really? Like what, for instance?
Stuff you don't even know. Like, um... Oh yeah, like wall blocking.
Wall blocking?
See? You've never even heard of it. Hehe.
So what is it? How do you do it?
Uh... Well, you, um...
Oh... Reo-sama, you wall block by...
Wait, you know what wall blocking is, Risa?
N-N- No, I don't really...
(I've just seen it in manga and short stories... But if I said I knew what it was, I just know Miya would ask me to show her.)

Waah... I couldn't do something that embarrassing!
Come on, Reo. Enlighten me.
Nnnh... Fine. But I'll only do it this once!
*slam!*
Hey, hey-hey, heeey!
*slam-slam!*
Hey, Reo! What're you doing to these people's wall?
Haah, haah... That's wall blocking, Mai!
What? What the heck is the point of that?
I- I dunno, really... It's probably how you let people know you're here or something, right?
Is it like something you do in an emergency...?
Hahaha, wall blocking, huh? You're such an interesting character, Reo-kun.
Y- Yeah, well... Heh, hehe...
Satsuki-san... you know what it really is, don't you?
Oh, so then that means you know what it is too, doesn't it, Risa?
I- I don't, I told you, I don't~!

Notes:
"Wall blocking" is an action typically performed in romantic fiction, where one character (usually a boy) will place their outstretched hand against a wall and use their arm to block the path of another (usually a girl).


To be continued... Next time♪

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