Cycling to work (or indeed anywhere) safely - help me out

Joe McCarthy

Maximum Pace
Well, it depends where you are setting up your speed trap doesn’t it. In my experience speed trap locations have very little to do with accident reduction.
To be fair to you, I know a lot less about speed cameras in Australia than in the UK. the LSE did a pretty thorough study on them that was published a couple of years ago and they're a lot more effective than most people would guess.


Maximum Pace
Apr 23, 2019
This is what I love about Japan and has kept me here for decades.
Same as me. I like an orderly society, but not a police state. And the positive culture here far outweighs any negatives I've experienced in my roughly half-decade.


Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
Has anyone noticed the lack?

The lack of 80+ year olds smashing multiple other vehicles and bodies when careening into or through intersections on bikes?


Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
Well, it depends where you are setting up your speed trap doesn’t it. In my experience speed trap locations have very little to do with accident reduction.
Famously in Munich, where I lived for a long time, there was a great investigative piece in one of the big newspapers that the police did not set up speed traps and traffic light cameras at the intersections with the highest number of accidents, but “easier” locations.

On the subject of laws not being enforced, I find it ironic that in a country that appears pre-occupied with order and rule following ("The nail standing up gets hammered down" is a poor translation of a saying told to youngsters here to get them to be part of the hive), there are so many exceptions.
I don't think this is how I would describe the situation: in most places laws are strict, so if there is a rule “Do not do X.”, then that's that. In Japan, also rules and laws have tatemae and honne, and while Japan pretends to be all about rules, very often it works more like in e. g. Italy, where you can effectively skirt rules if you have and maintain a good relation to the others. If you don't, then it may very well happen that others use (written or unwritten) rules by selectively applying them in a convenient fashion. Just like in Italy, going with the flow is important. (Although to be fair, the flows may look very differently from one another!)

And regarding the saying, keep in mind that tallish white dudes can be nails standing up ;) (To be clear, I haven't had an experience in Japan with police where I felt singled out because I was a foreigner. But I have had those experiences in other aspects of my life. And I think it would be more likely that a foreigner gets caught for riding his bicycle drunk rather than an old Japanese oyaji-san.)

The bike laws appear to be written with this in mind, e.g., ride on the road, unless of course you feel its not safe.
The problem I would like to point out here is that feeling safe is very different from being safe. And that not feeling safe may be due to other people not sticking to the rules. In that respect Japan is not too different from other places I have been to: traffic cops mostly work from the perspective as someone driving a car.
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