Article NHK article on brakeless fixies this morning.

Jun 18, 2011
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Okayama
#1
Did anyone see this?

I only caught half of it, but they were saying how these bikes are increasing in Tokyo and how dangerous they are. They reckon that at 20km/h a regular bike takes 9m to stop and a brakeless fixie takes 22.5m to stop. The bike shops and some cycling association were going on about how bad they are and how they will ruin the reputation of all cyclists etc etc.

This might result in some sort of crackdown by the police?

I used to have a bmx without cable brakes as a kid, but the rear bearing would lock when going in reverse, acting as a brake. Going forwards, the pedal movements weren't fixed to the wheel like fixies though.
 
#2
At my bike shop, we are not allowed to sell a fixie unless it has both brakes. The company policy won't let us even do repair work on bikes that have less then 2 brakes.

I agree that brakeless bikes on the streets are a dangerous thing and should be cracked down on. I've seen people ride brakeless bikes because it looks cool but if you think about it, they are an accident waiting to happen. They can hit peds, other cyclists and cars because they can't slow down quickly. Sometimes evasive action isn't enough, sometimes you do need to stop. Having at least one brake is the law and I wish more fixie riders would respect that law more because it does give other cyclists a bad image.The only place those types of bikes should be allowed are on the track.

I want to mention that fixie rides are not the only types of riders that give cycling a bad name. Many roadies and BMX riders also can show little respect for the law and other riders.
 
Jun 9, 2011
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#3
wait, the law is at least one brake? so i can take off my rear caliper brake and still be cool with the police? cite, please.

i agree that riding brakeless is not a safe thing to be doing, but i'm not convinced yet that boneheads riding brakeless on track bikes are really causing a big problem. i see just about as many brakeless bmx bikes or 26" street/park bikes around, and those things have free wheels and are even harder to stop (i rode bmx brakeless for a while so i know). it's hard to trust reports where the evidence presented is some dude saying "this is a problem" rather than statistics.

in any case, it sounds like the problem is riding without brakes and fixed gear folks aren't the only ones doing this. if the problem is brakes than it should be addressed as such.

the brake that okayamaPaul described is a coaster brake and works inside the rear hub. last time i got stopped by a police guy for not having a rear brake this is what i told him i had.
 

zenbiker

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#4
Not as cool as me!

No brake fixi riders are just fashion following wanabes!
I on the other hand an a trend setter.

I've disconnected the brakes on my car!:eek: Sooo cool!
Dangerous? Not at all! those massive pistons give excellent engine braking and I have excellent driving skills!:cool:
Next step is to cut the steering wheel down so that I can just about get both hands on it.... and stick some playing cards on the wheels.:eek:
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#5
According to the law cited here, bikes are legally required to have a front and rear brake.

I saw a lot of brakeless fixies in LA, and it was fairly entertaining watching people on their fresh-from-the-shop fixies awkwardly trying to stutter step to a stop at intersections, like we used to on our scooters as kids.
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#6
No brake fixi riders are just fashion following wanabes!
I on the other hand an a trend setter.

I've disconnected the brakes on my car!:eek: Sooo cool!
Dangerous? Not at all! those massive pistons give excellent engine braking and I have excellent driving skills!:cool:
Next step is to cut the steering wheel down so that I can just about get both hands on it.... and stick some playing cards on the wheels.:eek:
Funny!!:D
 
Aug 17, 2007
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Yotsuya, Tokyo
#7
Issues

zenbiker, fantastic bit of satire!

Yes, Patrick, you are correct: At issue is whether a particular bike has enough stopping power, and not whether a group of cyclists is causing a problem. But, behind this is the issue of human nature.

Some people do not care much for their own safety let alone the safety of other road and pavement users, so laws must be created and enforced. How they are enforced and under what circumstances is the issue.

It doesn't surprise me that some people don't give a damn about the safety of others, but I am always amazed by how cavalier they are with their own safety. I know that media influence, the cool factor, and the tipping point exert powerful influences on us, even to the extent of affecting our intelligence at some level. You only need to surf YouTube for a while to see video after video of people deliberately throwing themselves in harm's way.

What bothers me is that when these yahoos come to grief by fault of their own ineptitude, as inevitably they must and do, they undermine the credibility of careful, thoughtful cyclists who are involved in accidents caused by factors beyond their control. People are prone to generalizations; it's hard to separate the chaff from the wheat.

Frankly, I've ridden Tokyo streets long enough to know that I value every ounce of stopping power I can get my hands on, and I never ride the pavement without the fingers of at least one hand gently resting over a brake lever. And, given recent postings, I've taken to doing the same whenever I am behind a taxi!

So 9m is the standard stopping distance? I remember my very first experience with disk brakes about ten years back: I went endo because I was used to squeezing the front brake so hard on my old caliper mtb!
 
Jun 18, 2011
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Okayama
#8
Yeah, they had a guy on a practice course stop with a road bike and then with the brakeless fixie and those were the distances.

I agree it is dumb and causes problems for other riders. Even out here in the sticks, I always get cars trying to desperately overtake me and then slamming their brakes on in front of me.

Then again stupidity isn't just restricted to fixie riders. I saw a guy yesterday while coming down a mountain in the dark (with lights of course) riding up the mountain lightless in a pair of jeans and sunglasses on too. It is a fair hike up the mountain too. :confused:
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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www.roadfixie.com
#9
HTFU! Most ANY brakeless rider who has mastered a skid can out brake, out pedal and out manouver ANY mamachari-piece-of-you-know-what. Not too mention at least 70% of all the so called 'road bike' riders, who in the face of ANY manouvering situation simply slam on their brakes and promptly crash - or cause crashes all around them.

The issue is simply that brakeless riders whith no skills tend to be more visible in their incidents. Yet - it's a self levelling issue in that those riders with no skills either skill up very quickly, or they get brakes. Whereas brakes only riders tend to ride with overall medicore skills and cause way more incidents as a group.
 

kiwisimon

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#10
Typical cops finding a minority issue to focus on and then launching a full scale campaign to address the issue. Visa over stayers, kids on bicycles using cell phones e.t.c. Gives the appearance of working hard (from Tarou porker in the koban, as if?) to make all of us safer. In the meantime helmets aren't mandatory and child seats in cars are a mere suggestion. Damn NHK is just a mouth piece for the idiots who take out taxes.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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www.roadfixie.com
#11
AMEN!

Typical cops finding a minority issue to focus on and then launching a full scale campaign to address the issue. Visa over stayers, kids on bicycles using cell phones e.t.c. Gives the appearance of working hard (from Tarou porker in the koban, as if?) to make all of us safer. In the meantime helmets aren't mandatory and child seats in cars are a mere suggestion. Damn NHK is just a mouth piece for the idiots who take out taxes.
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
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#12
Silliness

Just incidentally, I was looking at the British Embassy homepage on living in Japan. In that they state:

Roads in Japan are well maintained. [...] drivers should pay particular attention to: pedestrians crossing roads at green lights, especially at junctions; cyclists travelling on the pavements, or on the wrong side of the road and without lights at night; and taxi drivers stopping suddenly.
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/japan

To repeat: cyclists travelling on the pavements, or on the wrong side of the road and without lights at night.

Looks like the problem is long standing enough and preceeds the fixie boom.

Oh for the days of gunboat diplomacy to resolve pressing international issues - that would surely sort the mama charie issue out.
 
#13
HTFU! Most ANY brakeless rider who has mastered a skid can out brake, out pedal and out manouver ANY mamachari-piece-of-you-know-what. Not too mention at least 70% of all the so called 'road bike' riders, who in the face of ANY manouvering situation simply slam on their brakes and promptly crash - or cause crashes all around them.

The issue is simply that brakeless riders whith no skills tend to be more visible in their incidents. Yet - it's a self levelling issue in that those riders with no skills either skill up very quickly, or they get brakes. Whereas brakes only riders tend to ride with overall medicore skills and cause way more incidents as a group.
Well said like a Fixed Rider. I agree that there are many roadies that will rely on their brakes rather then look for a way to avoid a collision and I agree that there are many brakeless riders that know what they are doing or skill up quickly. I don't mind a skilled Fixie, in fact my friend who got me into riding was a Fixed rider.

The only this I want the cops to do is crack down on idiots. People on the wrong side of the road, no lights, cell phones/ umbrellas/ cigarettes in hand and mama-charis doing 10 km/h on meiji-dori. Those badasses who want to ride on a "fashionable" fixie (or roadie, bmx, etc) will eventually kill themselves trying to look cool.

I saw a guy today riding your typical fashion fixie with a chopped handle bar and no brakes. He was dressed like an emo Chuck Norris and his bike fitted with leather and what not. Trying to look cool (I guess) he kept going through an intersection even though the light had turned red and the cross traffic had a green. He was staring at the cars thinking that if he looked at them badass enough, they would stop. Well a large dump truck barreling down the road with a full load wasn't gonna stop for this idiot in time and had locked up its tires. The idiot on his bike stared at the truck thinking if he looked long enough it would stop. Rather then bailing from the bike (or stopping at the red light for that matter) and looking "uncool", he took a hit from the truck. It sent him flying and mangled the poor bike. Unfortunately the bike didn't survive and the idiot riding it did. I hope he thinks being in a body cast will look cool...

I may sound one sided on the issue but it really was the rider's fault, not the truck (or the bike).
 
Jun 9, 2011
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#14
holycrap! i always assumed that fashion fixie riders with no brakes and more style than skill were headed for an accident sooner or later but i've never witnessed an accident. riding in front of a dump truck is pretty remarkable in it's stupidity. there are lots of the big dump trucks on my morning commute and either it's really hard for the drivers to see the traffic around them in those things or the drivers are all major a-holes. not counting times when i've fallen over on my own at stoplights the only accident i've had so far has been when a dump truck coming towards me ran me off the road near yotsuya. dump trucks are not to be messed with.
 

StuInTokyo

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#15
........... I saw a guy today riding your typical fashion fixie with a chopped handle bar and no brakes. He was dressed like an emo Chuck Norris and his bike fitted with leather and what not. Trying to look cool (I guess) he kept going through an intersection even though the light had turned red and the cross traffic had a green. He was staring at the cars thinking that if he looked at them badass enough, they would stop. Well a large dump truck barreling down the road with a full load wasn't gonna stop for this idiot in time and had locked up its tires. The idiot on his bike stared at the truck thinking if he looked long enough it would stop. Rather then bailing from the bike (or stopping at the red light for that matter) and looking "uncool", he took a hit from the truck. It sent him flying and mangled the poor bike. Unfortunately the bike didn't survive and the idiot riding it did. I hope he thinks being in a body cast will look cool...

I may sound one sided on the issue but it really was the rider's fault, not the truck (or the bike).
and you know that the Dump Truck driver will still get at least some of the blame, at least 10% maybe even 25%......:mad:
 

StuInTokyo

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#17
as he should. motor vehicles and especially heavy trucks are easily lethal in accidents and operators need to be extra careful.
Sorry, that is bullshit attitude, I can tell you about situations where driver A was doing nothing wrong, not even moving, stopped exactly where he should be, doing nothing illegal, gets hit from behind by someone speeding, and still the cops write it up as 10% his fault.

From what Eric posted.....

he kept going through an intersection even though the light had turned red and the cross traffic had a green. He was staring at the cars thinking that if he looked at them badass enough, they would stop. Well a large dump truck barreling down the road with a full load wasn't gonna stop for this idiot in time and had locked up its tires. The idiot on his bike stared at the truck thinking if he looked long enough it would stop. Rather then bailing from the bike (or stopping at the red light for that matter) and looking "uncool", he took a hit from the truck.
The DT driver was not speeding or doing anything wrong, but the cyclist was, still the DT driver will get some blame, well that is bullshit. With that kind of attitude, then why would anyone drive a DT to start with, if any accident will ALWAYS be partly your fault, just because you drove on the public road, sorry, I'm calling BULLSHIT on that one :D

Sometimes the cyclist is in the wrong.:rolleyes:
 
#18
This one was definitely the bikers fault. The DT had the green light in his direction for at least 5 seconds or more. If you know where route 20 and meiji-dori cross in shinjuku, there is a tunnel that comes out from under Shinjuku park. The DT was coming out of that tunnel and wouldn't have seen the biker until it was too late anyway. Normally I would take the biker side but this driver did everything he could to prevent it.
 

kiwisimon

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#19
as he should. motor vehicles and especially heavy trucks are easily lethal in accidents and operators need to be extra careful.
BS on this.

Obviously you haven't driven an 8 ton vehicle. They can't stop in an instance, no matter how vigilant the driver. Folks running red lights and fumi kiri need to consider the law abiding driver coming the other way.
 
Jun 18, 2011
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Okayama
#20
BS on this.

Obviously you haven't driven an 8 ton vehicle. They can't stop in an instance, no matter how vigilant the driver. Folks running red lights and fumi kiri need to consider the law abiding driver coming the other way.
Driving a truck in this country would be hard work.

That fixie guy in the accident sounds like a big fat knob.