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PSA: Cycling Safety

Thien Che

Cruising
Sep 14, 2020
32
39
Hey folks,

Just a friendly, unsolicited reminder to be careful on the streets. Had a minor accident last night in Shibuya crossing when a taxi came up on the inside lane and merged in front of me to get to a customer on the sidewalk. I rear ended and smacked my forehead (helmet on) quite nicely into the trunk at about 20kph. Bike, body, and teeth are thankfully completely fine, just sporting a mild concussion headache and public embarrassment.

After getting used to cycling on main roads (like Tamagawa-dori between Komazawa Park and Shibuya) over the past 6 months, it feels fairly treacherous even now with all of the buses, parked trucks, taxis, and mopeds using the outside/bicycle lanes. Traffic can be frantic at all times of day, with motorists and other cyclists shooting for any gap that they can find, especially during rush hour. I consider myself to be a fairly cautious rider, as I follow all traffic rules, use signaling, and daytime running lights. Despite that, I still have 2-3 close calls on my 5km daily fun rides. Could just be me, but would hate to see any fellow cyclists injured in any serious way.

Honestly, even if you have the best MIPS helmets, mount disco strobe lights, truck horns, and wear fluorescent body paint, there are still situations like mine where all of those nifty safety features aren't going to prevent an accident. Be mindful around road areas with stop-and-go traffic or where people/motorists might congregate, like bus stops, intersections, sidewalk crossings, and curb parking. Or, just use side roads if you're not in a hurry.

Anyways, that's my spiel. Stay safe!
 

Ratchet21

Speeding Up
Sep 7, 2020
110
82
Oh no! Am just glad you didn't suffer any serious injury. I normally try to cycle at sidewalk as much as I can for safety unless when it is really crowded. Will definitely be more careful when there is Taxi around me.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
1,040
471
Very well said, @Thien Che .

I've gradually learned:
  • Not to go fast in the city (I mean, not fast even by my crap standards) wherever there could be surprises
  • Not to ride far to the left: being out towards the centre helps me see people entering from the left and helps them see me (and has the bonus of a reduced risk of little shards of broken gods know what)
  • To use good lights front and back
  • To remember that in this nation of "safety first" [hollow laugh], people routinely drive cars at night with their lights off
But actually I've just been lucky.
 

47no

Maximum Pleb
Dec 29, 2019
30
54
I normally try to cycle at sidewalk as much as I can for safety unless when it is really crowded.

Be careful, unless you are going at jogging speed it is easier to get into accidents in the sidewalk, mostly because of unpredictable pedestrians (children especially) and cars coming out of garages/intersections that don't expect anything relatively fast to be going on the sidewalk
 

Kangaeroo

Maximum Pace
Jan 24, 2018
761
859
Hey folks,

Just a friendly, unsolicited reminder to be careful on the streets. Had a minor accident last night in Shibuya crossing when a taxi came up on the inside lane and merged in front of me to get to a customer on the sidewalk. I rear ended and smacked my forehead (helmet on) quite nicely into the trunk at about 20kph. Bike, body, and teeth are thankfully completely fine, just sporting a mild concussion headache and public embarrassment.

After getting used to cycling on main roads (like Tamagawa-dori between Komazawa Park and Shibuya) over the past 6 months, it feels fairly treacherous even now with all of the buses, parked trucks, taxis, and mopeds using the outside/bicycle lanes. Traffic can be frantic at all times of day, with motorists and other cyclists shooting for any gap that they can find, especially during rush hour. I consider myself to be a fairly cautious rider, as I follow all traffic rules, use signaling, and daytime running lights. Despite that, I still have 2-3 close calls on my 5km daily fun rides. Could just be me, but would hate to see any fellow cyclists injured in any serious way.

Honestly, even if you have the best MIPS helmets, mount disco strobe lights, truck horns, and wear fluorescent body paint, there are still situations like mine where all of those nifty safety features aren't going to prevent an accident. Be mindful around road areas with stop-and-go traffic or where people/motorists might congregate, like bus stops, intersections, sidewalk crossings, and curb parking. Or, just use side roads if you're not in a hurry.

Anyways, that's my spiel. Stay safe!
Glad you're not hurt seriously.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,925
2,107
  • Not to go fast in the city (I mean, not fast even by my crap standards) wherever there could be surprises
Yeah, while often it's safer to go with the flow of moving vehicles, any kind of ambitious goal such as making as many green lights as possible or keeping up with a bus invites risky choices. Often the faster you go, the less room there is for any mistakes, by you and by others.

Something that took me a long time to learn when I was a young driver: If you have too many close calls over a short period of time then it's time to take it easier or something bad will happen sooner or later.

Many drivers have a hard time judging the speed of road bikes as to them every bike is a mamachari, moving not much faster than a pedestrian. That's why they pull stunts like passing you and then immediately make a left turn or stop.

I second the warning against assuming you're safer on sidewalks. People step out of shops right in front of you or drift left or right unexpectedly as you're coming up from behind. If you ride on the sidewalk, you better do it slowly. As the "stronger" party you'll automatically be held responsible if you hit any pedestrian.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
3,367
1,471
Be careful, unless you are going at jogging speed it is easier to get into accidents in the sidewalk, mostly because of unpredictable pedestrians (children especially) and cars coming out of garages/intersections that don't expect anything relatively fast to be going on the sidewalk
And as a cyclist hitting a pedestrian is very serious (Oh Joe just wrote the same thing) .
Better to ride in the street on not too busy roads and make yourself as visible as possible. Japanese drivers are generally very good.
If you want to go fast get out of the city and hit some country roads, cycle paths are also not as safe as many think due to unexpected people popping out. Drivers are generally more predictable than random cyclists and joggers etc. Riding in a group is also safer if everyone is skillful enough to ride straight and brake safely.
 

Ratchet21

Speeding Up
Sep 7, 2020
110
82
Be careful, unless you are going at jogging speed it is easier to get into accidents in the sidewalk, mostly because of unpredictable pedestrians (children especially) and cars coming out of garages/intersections that don't expect anything relatively fast to be going on the sidewalk
I second the warning against assuming you're safer on sidewalks. People step out of shops right in front of you or drift left or right unexpectedly as you're coming up from behind. If you ride on the sidewalk, you better do it slowly. As the "stronger" party you'll automatically be held responsible if you hit any pedestrian.
And as a cyclist hitting a pedestrian is very serious (Oh Joe just wrote the same thing) .
Better to ride in the street on not too busy roads and make yourself as visible as possible. Japanese drivers are generally very good.
If you want to go fast get out of the city and hit some country roads, cycle paths are also not as safe as many think due to unexpected people popping out. Drivers are generally more predictable than random cyclists and joggers etc. Riding in a group is also safer if everyone is skillful enough to ride straight and brake safely.

I'll keep that in mind!
 
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