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TOM

Maximum Pace
#1
I started to commute to and from work by bicycle on a daily basis since March 14 - "no longer capable of stomaching trains running at 50 or 80% capacity".

I really love this daily routine and I'm even making new friends or meeting old buddies :cool:while waiting at traffic lights (most of the time I strictly obey traffic rules :D).

This morning, I was called by my company's general affairs somubu and received a long lecture basically serving to let me know I can no longer use my bicycle and must henceforth use public transportation as before...I am obviously very disappointed.:mad:

Whereas in many countries, employees are even encouraged and get special allowances to ride their bike to work, the situation in Japan seems to be the opposite....

I was wondering how other "tsukinisutos" have managed to strike a compromise with their companies...
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#2
I told my present employer to go take a long walk off a short pier.

I can knock 45 minutes off my commute by riding and that they were more than welcome to use my reduced carbon footprint in thier latest chart and pat on the back session.

****S.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#4
This happened to me too when I worked for Japanese company. Check and see if its just legacy company policy or actual insurance restriction. What I ended up doing is write a typically stupid Japanese 'letter' that said I would take 100% responsibility for any accident and then put my hanko on it.
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#5
oath

It's all about regulatory compliance, I'm afraid...even a written oath of the kind Tim describes (誓約書 in which one states things like 「通勤途上の第三者に対する加害事故については、会社側に一切の責任を負わせません」that one will not hold the company liable for accidents caused to third-parties while commuting, etc.etc., I was told this cannot/will not be approved because the company regulations stipulate that employees may only use public transportation means...

I work for a publicly-quoted company and there is apparently no room for leniency which is a very pitiable situation indeed.

This happened to me too when I worked for Japanese company. Check and see if its just legacy company policy or actual insurance restriction. What I ended up doing is write a typically stupid Japanese 'letter' that said I would take 100% responsibility for any accident and then put my hanko on it.
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#6
Hmm. Do they let employees drive, or is it public transport for everyone? If the former, then I'd push for being 'allowed' to ride.

Employers do bear a certain responsibility for you during your commute. Tho I'm not sure of the details, it's probably somewhat similar to if you are injured (or injure someone) at work.

(on edit: I'd stepped away from this for a while, I guess those folks covered it.)
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#7
Hi Tom - you can also do this:

1) Cycle to closest station.
2) Take public transportation even 1 short stop. Then, technically, you are commuting by train to your work destination. And cycle is just used to transport to the train.
3) This becomes the '建前' version or silly white lie.
4) You can support this easily by cheap commuter train pass that goes back/forth to the station - and even get company to compensate you for it. Regardless you use it or not - at least the company has 'proof' you are using the train (or bus).
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#8
Or maybe if you "rent" your bike from someone ;) on a supposedly daily basis, would that make it become public transport?
 
May 22, 2007
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143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#10
Sorry to hear you've been bureaucratised, TOM.

I'm fortunate enough to work for an organisation that encourages greener/greenest commuting methods. We even have ten bikes on hand for staff to pop out to the shops or to nearby meetings. Like everyone else I receive a commuting allowance to the value of a rail commuter pass and put that towards my cycling costs. (No - it doesn't even come close!) I'm also the office volunteer cycle repair man!

I have some information on this topic on my desk at work. To summarise:

- There is no legal or regulatory obstacle to you riding to work. Ignorant HR departments may try to bluff with some excuse about the rosai (workers' accident insurance scheme) forbidding it, but that is untrue. The company may need to send a note to the local office, but it will not affect their insurance premiums.

- If you cycle (or drive, or take the train) to work, you must go by a direct route in order to be covered by the company's rosai policy for accidents incurred while commuting. So if, like James, you regularly go 50km or so out of your way for training, the insurance would not pay up.

- Otherwise it's totally up to your company's internal policies, as enshrined in the company handbook. You should have been given a copy of that, plus any subsequent revisions, and signed to say you understood the contents. If their policy states "you must take the train" then you will have to persuade them otherwise. Arguments in favour may include:
  • Getting home after the next big earthquake
  • Reduced environmental footprint
  • Hundreds of thousands of people do it
  • Reduced time lost to ill health as you won't be sneezed on by all those germ-infested salarymen
etc.

--Mike--
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#11
Thank you Mike :)!

Bureaucratised is the word.

Yes, the "somubucho" mentioned about the rosai worker's compensation insurance scheme that would bring the company into trouble in case of a serious traffic accident...good to know this is based on a misconception.

I guess I will have to work on convincing my company to amend the commuting regulations! The list of benefits the company can derive by supporting bicycle commuting is endless...

1. Preparedness for the next big earthquake
2. Reduced environmental footprint
3. Hundreds of thousands of people do it (very convincing this one :D)
4. Reduced time lost to ill health as you won't be sneezed on by all those germ-infested salarymen :)eek: true!!)
5. Increased worker productivity: Fit employees are more alert, more productive, perform better and more efficiently :rolleyes:
6. Improved employee health
7. Lower health care costs: healthier employees can reduce health insurance costs
8. Reduced employee turnover: Employers who appreciate workers' personal needs have less employee turnover
9. Supporting bike commuting is less expensive than an in-office fitness facility
8. Improve work/ life balance: Bike commuting can be substituted for the gym, saving employee’s personal time
9. Community engagement: Bicycles can be maintained locally by local bike shops contributing to local job opportunities as part of a sustainable economy
10. Improved company image and bottom line
etc....

Sorry to hear you've been bureaucratised, TOM.

I'm fortunate enough to work for an organisation that encourages greener/greenest commuting methods. We even have ten bikes on hand for staff to pop out to the shops or to nearby meetings. Like everyone else I receive a commuting allowance to the value of a rail commuter pass and put that towards my cycling costs. (No - it doesn't even come close!) I'm also the office volunteer cycle repair man!

I have some information on this topic on my desk at work. To summarise:

- There is no legal or regulatory obstacle to you riding to work. Ignorant HR departments may try to bluff with some excuse about the rosai (workers' accident insurance scheme) forbidding it, but that is untrue. The company may need to send a note to the local office, but it will not affect their insurance premiums.

- If you cycle (or drive, or take the train) to work, you must go by a direct route in order to be covered by the company's rosai policy for accidents incurred while commuting. So if, like James, you regularly go 50km or so out of your way for training, the insurance would not pay up.

- Otherwise it's totally up to your company's internal policies, as enshrined in the company handbook. You should have been given a copy of that, plus any subsequent revisions, and signed to say you understood the contents. If their policy states "you must take the train" then you will have to persuade them otherwise. Arguments in favour may include:
  • Getting home after the next big earthquake
  • Reduced environmental footprint
  • Hundreds of thousands of people do it
  • Reduced time lost to ill health as you won't be sneezed on by all those germ-infested salarymen
etc.

--Mike--
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#13
This is Japan - you are pushing a rope. Find the small thing that makes it acceptable and stick with that. Remember they have over 90% conviction rate and you are already considered illegal. Personally I'd just go back and say -

<Bowing to at least 90 degrees>
Oh - thank you dear leader for showing me how wrong I was to think I could move against our honorable company policy. <Bow again>

I beg you to provide me a commuting pass so that I can take the amazing Japanese Public Transportation which so efficiently and safely transports my dear brother workers.
<Bow Again>

Please accept this application for the official commuter pass to: (Station which is closest to your office) <Bowing Again>

You'll never hear another peep from them again.
 
Mar 2, 2011
160
0
0
Minami Urawa (南浦和)
#14
I am shocked and amazed at the bureaucracy. I thought the UK was bad enough for "public safety" and red tape. Jeeze. If I didn't already know it was impossible I would tell you to go tell them to stick their company policy up their arse!

Just cycle in and don't tell em
 
#16
Tom, my company is the same, though it is unofficial policy.

I think their reasons are: 1) there is no bike parking so they can have everyone do it. 2)They want you walking in looking professional.

So, I lock my bike out of eyesight and throw on something that isn't sweaty over my cycling clothes and then walk one block in and go change in the locker rooms. Dresses and skirts make this easier but it's still a pain.

I don't commute by bike. I exercise before work. And I don't talk about it.

I have my commuter bike back in Tokyo and am so happy to start riding to work again. :D Too often it's the best part of the day!
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#17
"I don't commute by bike. I exercise before work. And I don't talk about it." < I like that take on it!

Tho there's been a grumble from an individual or two, hearing all this has made me realize how lucky I am. Maybe schools and businesses differ on this?

We have a machine for folks to "swipe in" that is right in the middle of 学務科 (not my building). I lean my bike on the glass of the main entrance and go in in full cycle wear to do that little duty. I'm usually earlier, but sometimes the swipe in happens as all the staff is gathered at 8:30 for a pep talk/report by one of the higher-ups. And there or on the way out it's not uncommon to run into one of the 理事 or even the 理事長 himself. They're the bright and encouraging ones, not the grumblers. I hop back on for the 50m or so to my building, in the front door, up the elevator to 4, and down the hall to my office, where I park it and change. I leave early when possible, and I do try to go down the elevator when classes are in session to minimize contact. (I used to carry the bike down the back stairs, but switched to SL shoes a few years ago.)

One past grumbler is a chain-smoker on my floor. After I harassed him a few times about leaving his door open while smoking (smoking is not even supposed to happen in offices), he yelled at me a time or two about my bike being dirty. But that's been a season or few, and we've since implicitly taken to ignoring each other.

The other, also some time since her more mild comments, is one of the two women who are the main phone receptionists. The school has had a bit of CCTV around for a while now and her desk has a screen with maybe six views on it, so I guess she sees me sometimes. Her comments have been oblique, "Don't you think...?" or "What would a visitor think...?" To which I have given cheerful replies about it being good PR, something about internationalism, or maintaining general genki-ness.

I don't flaunt it, but I've been a prof for ages (no more promotion, so no chance for cycling "dirt" to come up). Also, having been there for 23 years (and three days), longer than many, and also older, means the sempai-kohai thing runs to my advantage.

***
Also, about 15-16 years ago I was out for a noon/afternoon ride and happened to crash. Left hip bone split open and had to be wired up, etc. They could've said then not to ride any more, but they only wanted to clarify that I was off on my own and not between home and work.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#18
Tom in Tokyo and Yokohama they have specail facilities set up, Basically its a storage facility and locker room with showers so you can ride in. Lock your bike in a secure building, shower, change and then walk into work as if you had just caught the train. I think some might even wash your kit so you have spanky freshgear for the ride home.

Also the locker allows you to leave suits and shirts there so you travel ultra light.

I have no idea what the Japanese name is for these companies, but I will try to pop in to my local one today and get a broucher for you and you can they use the monthly commuter pass compensation to pay for the facilities.
 
Aug 20, 2010
76
25
38
Minato-ku
#19
Marunouchi Bike & Run

Just thought I'd let people know about this facility soon to open in Marunouchi, a stone's throw from Tokyo station. I work in this area, but fortunately so far, nobody has had an issue with me riding in.

http://www.bike-run.jp/about.html#shop

I must mention that they do charge a fair amount - 15000yen for a month's parking! But the facilities do look pretty good and it could well cover the cost of a commuting pass.
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#20
Thanks James...I believe you are referring to QURAZ and their trunkrooms. About 10,400 yen a month for a 0.5 tatami space which is enough to hold a bike.

Tom in Tokyo and Yokohama they have specail facilities set up, Basically its a storage facility and locker room with showers so you can ride in. Lock your bike in a secure building, shower, change and then walk into work as if you had just caught the train. I think some might even wash your kit so you have spanky freshgear for the ride home.

Also the locker allows you to leave suits and shirts there so you travel ultra light.

I have no idea what the Japanese name is for these companies, but I will try to pop in to my local one today and get a broucher for you and you can they use the monthly commuter pass compensation to pay for the facilities.