New bill: bicycles only on sidewalks?

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
1,811
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多摩区
#1
I have read about that mysterious bill a few times on internet now, so I really would like to know whether that's just a rumour or an actual scheme of NPA technocrats.

The National Police Agency appears to be introducing a bill to the Diet that aims at restricting bicycles on certain roads that are "deemed to be too dangerous" for cyclists, while - at the same time - forcing them to use sidewalks in designated areas.

The National Police Agency is taking a second look in 30 years at the currentlt ambiguous positioning of bicycles in Japan which by the law are designated as vehicles, and required to run on the roadway. However, bikes have practically been allowed to run both on sidewalks as well as roadways regardless of what the law states, resulting in a majority of them being ridden on the sidewalk. This situation has lead to an increase of bicycle and pedestrian related accidents, in which pedestrians are injured.

The agency plans to define requirements for bikes allowed on sidewalks in the revised bill planned for submission at the next regular diet, in an attempt to clarify the positioning of bicycles on roads. The objective is said to avoid the increase of accidents between pedestrians and bicycles on the sidewalks.

Read more...
The Japan Cycling Navigator has put up a questionnaire and promises to oppose such a bill. Well, couldn't agree more with them! Here's their questionnaire, by the way.

What do you think of such a bill? How likely is it that such a bill will actually be passed? What will happen to professions such as bike messengers? What will happen to amateur riders or commuters who depend on their bikes in order to go to work?

I do hope it's just a bad joke... :gun:
 

Ash

Warming-Up
Apr 23, 2006
686
1
0
shakujiidai, nerima ku, tokyo
#2
I've heard it too.

I have hear of this nonsense before too. It is exactly the type of thing the police WOULD do though, so I am not at all surprised, just disappointed it appears to be around the corner.

I think we absolutely need to oppose it if they are actually serious about putting it to the diet (where it would pass with no debate and no problem, given the Abe government's attitude to being 'tough on crime'). Why don't we speak to the people at Japan Cycle Navigator and see if they would join us and organise a petition and then go an see a few of these useless LDP lawmakers (like the clown in my area) and the dork who runs the roads ministry and also the environment ministry?

The blog is quite right, Japan needs BIKE LANES. The overwhelming majority of the population uses bikes. Putting them on the sidewalk would be a real step backwards and a confirmation of the ruling ideology that roads can only be for cars. What a stupid ('&('$* idea. :mad:

Lets hear what everybody else thinks.

Ash
 

Sora

Basho's companion
Nov 2, 2005
933
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Yokohama -> Fukuoka
www.e-wadachi.com
#4
Here is an info from Nobuko-san. 2 TV programs are searching cyclists who comute by bike, for interview.

1. NHK "Close Up Gendai (クローズアップ現代)"
- who are living around Tokyo
- who have an experience of traffic accident on sidewalk
(the accident must be terrible to have to go to doctor)
- who can speak about the accident in fron of TV camera.

2. TBS "Evening 5 (イブニング・ファイブ)"
- who use bike for comuting (from 10km to 20km)
- age: 40 to 50, available your house or office for interview
- comute a lot of traffic road.
- there are some dangerous points in the comuting
- they want to equip small camera on your bike

If you are interested in, please let me or Nobuko-san A.S.A.P..
 

Pete

Speeding Up
Sep 22, 2006
144
1
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Ichikawa Chiba
#7
I'm gob smacked. This can not be a serious BIll. It's unbelievably stupid. They should be encouraging people to ride bikes. It's a great sport, healthy and environmentally safe. Are the NPA CRAZY? I have never heard of a law like this in any other country. Most governments are trying to encourage cycling, not trying to stop it.

In London you can get a big discount of the price of a bike (up to 50% I believe), if the bike is used for commuting to work. This is covered under the governments Ride to Work Scheme. It has been a great success and London is a much cleaner and less congested city for it. WAKE UP NPA:mad:

Lets have a similar Ride to Work Scheme introduced for Japan in the next Diet session instead.
 

Ash

Warming-Up
Apr 23, 2006
686
1
0
shakujiidai, nerima ku, tokyo
#8
Here is an info from Nobuko-san. 2 TV programs are searching cyclists who comute by bike, for interview.

1. NHK "Close Up Gendai (クローズアップ現代)"
- who are living around Tokyo
- who have an experience of traffic accident on sidewalk
(the accident must be terrible to have to go to doctor)
- who can speak about the accident in fron of TV camera.

2. TBS "Evening 5 (イブニング・ファイブ)"
- who use bike for comuting (from 10km to 20km)
- age: 40 to 50, available your house or office for interview
- comute a lot of traffic road.
- there are some dangerous points in the comuting
- they want to equip small camera on your bike

If you are interested in, please let me or Nobuko-san A.S.A.P..
I don't mind doing the TBS thing, that seems to be the right age group for me!

Ash
 

KWill

Warming-Up
Oct 7, 2006
47
0
0
Yokota Air Base, Japan
#9
As crowded as the roads are here in Japan, you would think they would introduce legislature that would continue to support bicycle use instead of angainst it. Yes, they do have bicycyle lanes but it's not asphalt, and usually a bumpy surface.
 

Freeride39

Peloton Leader
May 28, 2006
370
1
38
California/Tokyo Japan/Okinawa
#10
More bike lanes

I hate bike lanes on the sidewalk. Here are my reasons why:
- Too many sidewalk curb transitions
- Many blind corners
- Some mama charinko riders make it dangerous for other riders
- The lanes are inconsistent
- Pedestrians don't care about walking in the bike lane
- Bike lanes on sidewalks don't coincide for distance riders as roads do
- Sidewalk bike lanes are more dangerous than riding in traffic

Japan has more bike riders than the whole state of California, but California has more approved cycling roads and bike lanes.










-
 

Freeride39

Peloton Leader
May 28, 2006
370
1
38
California/Tokyo Japan/Okinawa
#11
California for cycling!

The League of American Bicyclists has named Santa Barbara, California a Bicycle-Friendly Community, following a detailed audit of the city’s efforts to provide safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and to encourage residents to bike for transportation and recreation. Through policy and design, Santa Barbara has focused on increasing opportunities for physical activity and is a model in America’s efforts to reduce obesity.
:p
 

KWill

Warming-Up
Oct 7, 2006
47
0
0
Yokota Air Base, Japan
#12
The League of American Bicyclists has named Santa Barbara, California a Bicycle-Friendly Community, following a detailed audit of the city’s efforts to provide safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and to encourage residents to bike for transportation and recreation. Through policy and design, Santa Barbara has focused on increasing opportunities for physical activity and is a model in America’s efforts to reduce obesity.
:p
That's great! Maybe the rest of FAT America will follow that lead.;)
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
1,811
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多摩区
#13
The following article appeared on Asahi Shinbun on Jan. 16, 2007. I do like Hikita-san's concept of "road-sharing."

POINT OF VIEW/ Satoshi Hikita: Allowing cyclists on sidewalks defies logic


In late November, a National Police Agency panel formed to discuss bicycle measures made a surprising recommendation: to officially allow cyclists to use sidewalks. Based on this proposal, the agency plans to submit a bill to revise the Road Traffic Law to the ordinary session of the Diet this year. The recommendation sets two conditions that the use of sidewalks by cyclists should be limited to: 1) children and elderly people and for such purposes as shopping; and 2) areas where roadways are heavily congested and, therefore, dangerous.

It is inevitable, however, that these conditions will be gradually eased and the use of roads by cyclists eventually restricted. I wonder how many people are aware of the fact that no country in the world stipulates that bicycles should use sidewalks. Bicycles are light vehicles which should use roadways as a general rule. Japan is no exception. The law stipulates that cyclists must stay to the left side of the road.

However, as motorization rapidly advanced in the late 1970s, the government partially revised the Road Traffic Law and introduced Article 63, Paragraph 4 to allow bicycles to use designated sidewalks to reduce accidents between cars and cyclists. The addition, however, was meant as an emergency measure only and was labeled provisional. As soon as road infrastructure is improved, it was envisaged that cyclists would once again be obliged to stick to roadways.

That was 30 years ago.

During the past three decades, nothing has been done to improve road infrastructure and bicycles inundate sidewalks. And now, the government is trying to change the law to allow cyclists to use sidewalks as a matter of course. The recommendation is inconsistent. On one hand, it recognizes the rapid increase of accidents between cyclists and pedestrians as a serious problem. Yet, it proposes lifting the ban for cyclists to use sidewalks as a way to settle the problem. The logic is irrational.

Let me cite an example that plainly illustrates how dangerous the actual situation has become. Japan, the only country in the world that turns a blind eye to cyclists on sidewalks, has by far the highest rate of cycle-related accidents among industrialized countries. I have no choice but to conclude this is a blatant failure of bicycle administration.

By allowing cyclists to use sidewalks, Japan has transformed bicycles into "an irresponsible means of transportation." Furthermore, it consequently turned roadways into a sanctuary for cars in violation of the important principle that the strong (cars) should give way to the weak (pedestrians).

The latest recommendation only exacerbates the situation. Instead, Japan should follow the example of European nations, where bicycle lanes are common alongside roadways. Even without bicycle lanes, we must drive home the awareness that cyclists have the right of way to use the left side of the road. On top of that, rules and morals of cyclists should be firmly established.

Japan neglected to do what it should have done, namely, rebuilding the concept of "road-sharing." As a result, accidents between bicycles and pedestrians on sidewalks have skyrocketed. Amid our rapidly aging society, a greater number of elderly with declining motor capability are using sidewalks. Under such circumstances, cyclists that use sidewalks pose a grave danger.

We have to protect the elderly and children. Sidewalks should be the exclusive sanctuary of pedestrians. While this is a common awareness shared by the world, Japan is trying to thoughtlessly break it by opening sidewalks to bicycles. It is regrettable that Japan alone seems to lack this common sense.

* * *

The author is a television producer and director of the nonprofit organization Bicycle Usage Promotion Study Group.(IHT/Asahi: January 16,2007)
Source
 

Ash

Warming-Up
Apr 23, 2006
686
1
0
shakujiidai, nerima ku, tokyo
#14
Nice post Thomas. Yes, It is an AMAZINGLY obvious piece of illogic.

1. Bicycles and pedestians have many accidents. Pedestrians use sidewalks. Bicycles use roads. Therefore bicycles should use sidewalks too.

That makes it all clear doesn't it?:confused:

Bicycles are light vehicles and should have designated lanes on all major roads TO PROMOTE THEIR USAGE and right of way OVER CARS.

I think this is the bottom line. The law should be clear and not left up to whichever cop has an anti-cyclist fixation to order a cyclist off the road on the pretext of it being 'dangerous'.

What is dangerous is having cyclists and pedestrians co-existing on the sidewalk, not to mention all the other hazards of cycling on a sidewalk, such as every driveway becoming an intersection.
 
Aug 12, 2006
22
0
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Tokyo
#18
To bury this Stupid bill

Hi, my cyclist friends.

As your are already aware of, the ridiculous “bicycle ban” law is going to be billed to the diet on January 31st. And unfortunately, NPA is very serious about it.

I personally know Mr. Hikita and his friend Mr. Takachiho Haruka (another bicycle enthusiast and a famous Japanese Sci-Fi writer); Mr. Takachiho requested me to post the below message on any foreign cyclist related BBS. As he stated in the message, this is free to reproduce.

Therefore, if you have your own blog or HP, please post it as many as possible to get attention of good cyclists. For burying this bill, let's make this issue a big news that CNN and/BBC to pick up.

Best regards,
ILT

______________________________________________________________
Message from Takachiho Haruka (http://www.takachiho-haruka.com/)
(Note: His web site is available in Japanese only.)
Translated by Kuni Kimura

Unbelievably ridiculous bill is going to be presented to the diet in Japan.
Irrationally, bicycle is allowed to run on sidewalks in Japan, so naturally accidents between pedestrians and bicycles occur every day.

However, Japan National Police Agency schemed to ban bicycles to run on roadway and put the bicycles up on the sidewalks.
What NPA wants to do is to revise the road traffic law for sake of expanding Automobile corporations' and car drivers' benefit.

A prominent Japanese cyclist Mr. Hikita Satoshi contributed an article for Asahi-Shinbun newspaper to appeal abnormality of the bill.
Please refer to the following URL for the detail. ( http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200701160101.html )

Japanese cyclists are of course developing protest campaign against this shameful revision. However, situation is a bit tough. They need support. Please support their campaign. I wish you to post this message including Mr. Hikita's newspaper article at above URL on any and all bicycle related BBS, blogs and webs (in principle, please post this to where you can control).

Japanese bureaucrats are very conscious of what other countries say. Make this issue a big news that CNN and/or BBC to pick up WILL affect to the bureaucrats.

Your words could make a change.
Let the Japan National Police Agency know how irrational and unreasonable they are in the world standard.

I wish support of sensible cyclists from all over the world.

This article is free to copy and reproduce. By Takachiho Haruka
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,669
483
103
Japan
#19
save your energy.

Its all a big storm about nothing. People will still ride their bikes in the street and only about 1 time in twenty will the police ticket anyone. look how many parents don't use car seats despite it being the law and the cops never seem to ticket people for it, or look how many people still use their cell phones when driving , And these are legitimatly dangerous.
It'll blow over. Me i have only ever been asked to stop riding my bike once. I was on a colnago and he was on foot. No contest.

Stupid law so common sense will prevail. IMHO.



(edit , spelliong)
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#20
Ride on!

I’ve taken my time in writing this, because it seems to be a sore point for a lot of riders out there. But here are my views:
Firstly, everybody agrees that the bill is “illogical”, “stupid”, “daft” and “unnecessary”, as well of a whole heap of other less politically correct descriptions. And I’m with all of you on that one.
However, I can say that I’m NOT 100% against it either.
The main reason is… “The Mamai-Chari”!
I’ve ridden on most roads around this country, fairly comfortably. I’ve been surrounded by “good drivers”, “bad drivers”, “trucks”, “tour buses” and “taxis”.
And I can live with them all – That I’m still alive is testament to that!
But, if this bill doesn’t get passed, and things swing the other way, where the NPA decides to say, “OK! Let’s kick all bicycles onto the road with the cars”, the absolute last thing I want to do, is “SHARE THE ROAD WITH A F#@KING MAMA-CHARI!!!!”
Also, as was mentioned in a previous post, the police over here will turn a blind-eye!
They are extremely ineffectual at stopping what “the majority” are doing.
It almost happened to me in Kyushu, but after finding out the current laws, the policeman himself, was breaking the law in telling me to ride on the sidewalk.

IF I was asked to come up with a solution for the whole problem, it would be this!
Split the bill in two:
Riders WEARING helmets must use the road!
Riders WITHOUT helmets must use the sidewalk!
That includes those daft-arsed bicycle messengers that I see everyday riding through the middle of Tokyo without helmets (and without lights at night – in dark clothing – and some of them on single/fixed gear bikes, and no brakes). IDIOTS!

The majority of mama-chari riders on the sidewalk never wear a helmet, so the sidewalk is where they should stay – usually they are only travelling less than 3km from their homes to the shop and back.
Seriously, I don’t want to see them on the road.

And finally, if this idiotic bill IS actually passed, I will only have one thing to say to every policeman who tries to stop me… “Catch me if you can, Mutha-Fu@ka!”
I’ve never heard of anyone being deported for riding a bicycle on the road in any country.
Let them do as they will, and let us just keep riding – as we will! T