Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Police to get tough on sidewalk cyclists !
Police to get tough on sidewalk cyclists
NATIONAL OCT. 26, 2011 - 06:18PM JST ( 76 )TOKYO —
The National Police Agency is planning to toughen rules for sidewalk cyclists in order to cut back on the number of accidents involving bicycles colliding with pedestrians.
According to police, the consistently high rate of collisions in recent years has caused them to consider restricting the areas where cyclists can ride their bicycles. Police said that 2,760 collisions with pedestrians were reported last year, the eighth consecutive year that the number of incidents has exceeded 2,000, TBS reported. Five of those incidents resulted in death.
Police said that although a legal guideline exists stating that bicycles may be used on any path of at least two meters in width, it is in fact the responsibility of the National Public Safety Commission to permit or deny cycling in each location. Under proposed new rules, cyclists will not be allowed to ride on sidewalks less than three meters in width, TBS reported.
Along with the proposed restrictions, police are also hoping to introduce safe riding education schemes, to crack down on drunk cycling and to eventually introduce more dedicated cycling lanes on busy streets.
The NPA said that police officers will issue warnings to cyclists seen riding on sidewalks or riding in a reckless manner, such as using cell phones or iPods while on their bikes, TBS reported.
With the exception of children (under 13) and elderly people (over 70), cyclists will be encouraged to ride on roads rather than sidewalks, the NPA said. In so doing, cyclists need to understand that they have to observe traffic regulations the same as drivers, an NPA spokesman was quoted as saying by TBS.
As you can see I have taken the above article from Japan Today and as a bicycle shop manager ,lifelong cyclist and a 12 year resident of Japan I'd like to give my opinion on the above article. Often more than not Japanese footpaths , sidewalks are just too narrow or crowded for cycling safely . In reality it's only old granny's and mothers with kids who like cycling on the footpath because the type of bicycle they are riding is quite suitable for slowly weaving in and out of all the pedestrians. If you happen to ride a nice road bike with 700c wheels the last thing you want to be doing is to be bumping up and down every 5 mins on the uneven footpath and you certainly can not ride at a decent pace on the footpath anyhow. One of the main reasons for cycling is to have a mode of transport that can get you to your destination e.g school, work , meeting etc quickly and riding on the footpath will only slow you down !. In Niigata city where I live there have been a few cycle lanes put in place within the last year but only a few !, they need a lot more of them everywhere to make it safer for cyclists to commute everyday. I have had several cases of Driver vs Cyclist road rage since living here and the last case was a driver than rammed me into the gutter on purpose yelling at me to get off the road . Little did he know I'm rather fast on a bicycle and I sprinted 4 blocks to catch up with him at a set of lights that luckily for me had changed to red , looking back on that incident now I should have gone to the police after taking a photo of his number plate . And where do the police ride , on the bloody footpath just like the old granny's - they need to set an example by riding on the road themselves !. Also is it not possible for a under 13 year old or 70 year old cyclist to cause an accident while riding on the footpath ! As usual another stupid idea that makes no sense whatsoever , just make more cycle lanes and educate everybody to use them including the young and old ! . This really comes down to educating both drivers and cyclists to share the road and be aware of each other as road users !