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Japan eyes new system to fine cyclists for traffic violations

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Good. The first one to clamp down on is cycling on the road on the wrong side. You are naturally looking right when pulling out on to a 2~3 lane main road as that's where the vehicles are coming from... Only to almost have a cyclist smash in to your near-side as as you pull out. And they seem to think you're in the wrong.

Anyone who drives around major cities knows what I mean.

27 ( +39 / -12 )

It’s a start but meaningless unless actually enforced.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

Right now cyclists are breaking the law by cycling in the wrong side of the road and against traffic in one way streets-they have done for many years and won’t stop now

15 ( +26 / -11 )

Why does Japan have to make everything so complicated? Just give them a fine and be done with it.

19 ( +32 / -13 )

I don’t think the police have ever stopped a cyclist before. I don’t think that there are that many accidents in Japan with cyclists. They are taught to ride a bicycle correctly.

-30 ( +8 / -38 )

Why does Japan have to make everything so complicated? Just give them a fine and be done with it.

I'm sure these systems were setup by those ojiisan in that agency to make them busy just before retirement. In other countries this thing not even worth to consider.

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

For now, the reason seems make sense to caught and give penalties to anyone that ride bicycle in reckless and negligence way, however after several years it will become other way to make those officers on the street busy, so they'll try to find any mistake any bicycle rider do. It has nothing to do with creating safe and secure road anymore.

Just take look on the street, especially in big cities, when those officer give a fine ticket to car driver not because dangerous driving but just because small mistake. For example just passing few centimeter after stop line will get you fined. Another one if someone need to overtake a bus/truck that stopping and need to cross certain line to do that, driver will get ticket too.

Not so many country have bicycle registration system 自転車防犯登録 now Japan want to bother more restriction for bicycle rider with new law? After mandatory bicycle insurance? After safety helmet? New rule after another.

What next? They want to bother new law for people who is walking on the street?

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

Under the envisioned system, which will require an amendment to the Road Traffic Act, bicycle riders could be issued so-called blue tickets such as for ignoring traffic lights.

Fining speeding perpendicular or diagonally through crosswalks when masses of people are crossing by bicyclists would bring in huge amounts of yen.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

How about actually creating and enforcing bike lanes? There is currently no safe and legal place to ride.

18 ( +23 / -5 )

As a pedestrian the bikes are out of control especially high speed electric bikes on sidewalks in Tokyo. They completely ignore stop signs and whiz around blind curves.

21 ( +23 / -2 )

kurisupisu

Today 07:34 am JST

Right now cyclists are breaking the law by cycling in the wrong side of the road and against traffic in one way streets-they have done for many years and won’t stop now

Actually on one way streets unless indicated otherwise, cyclist are permitted to ride as if it is a two way street. Now if you look on the street you will notice each side has a painted stop sign in either direction, this means that a cyclist can ride in both directions but in theory must follow the normal 2 way street directions remaining to the left in both directions and stopping at corners where painted stops signs on the street for cyclists are marked.

Like this image here:

https://expatsguide.jp/wp/wp-content/uploads/8things_bike_stop.jpg

Unfortunately few cyclists follow these rules, they ride in the middle, to the right , the left basically however they please and I honestly have never seen a cyclist even once stop at the cyclists specific stop signs.

A greater problem are those that ride opposite to traffic on 2 way roads large 2 and 3 lanes roads even with specifically designated bike lanes with arrows clearly indicating the direction cyclists are to follow.

These inevitably force other cyclists following the right direction to swerve out into traffic to avoid them going the wrong way.

On hakusan-dori they created a nice bike lane with cyclists on the sidewalk side of the road and parking between the bike lane and traffic.

The bike lanes follow the same direction as car traffic, but inevitably you will have people in the bike lane ride opposite to the traffic causing other cyclists and motorists to have to avoid them as at corners car are not expecting cyclists to be coming from the wrong direction when turning.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

All very well but its success is dependant on the police actually enforcing it, which doesn’t appear too hopeful.

Cyclists can cause a great deal of damage and cause accidents, not to mention kill pedestrians when they crash in to them as has happened a couple of times near where I live and I am sure all over the world.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

obladi

Today 08:02 am JST

How about actually creating and enforcing bike lanes? There is currently no safe and legal place to ride

Actually there are plenty in Tokyo, just look around but then 80% of cyclists ignore even the simple rule of following the direction of the bike lane.

Hakusan-dori, Meiji-dori, Yasukuni-dori, etc.. bike lanes and every minute of the day you will see someone in the bike lane going in the opposite direction forcing others going the right way out into traffic to avoid them,

Surprising motorist as they turn a corner not expecting someone to be coming from the wrong direction.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

The ignoring traffic light one should be a case-by-case basis in my opinion (for cyclists and pedestrians). There are traffic lights every block and if you happen to hit all of them, it's no faster than walking. A lot of times there are no cars to wait for and the coast is clear the entire time you are waiting. Unless they implement smart traffic lights that change based on real-time traffic, this rule is kind of harsh in my opinion. Everyday I come across a traffic light that turns red for absolutely no reason.

But I understand if many disagree with the above, leaving the decision up to clueless pedestrians and cyclists with no understanding of traffic laws will cause chaos as they feel they always have the right away even if the sign says not to go.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

@ Antiquesaving

The image contained in

https://expatsguide.jp/wp/wp-content/uploads/8things_bike_stop.jpg

is one that I have never seen before.

I’ll look out for them in my area

Now,

I live within 10 meters of a one way street which provides a nice downward slope for oncoming law breaking cyclists.I often have to give way to them (in a motor vehicle) before turning right at a junction, as I know they won’t stop or brake.

A collision would have the police involved and a lot of stress and wasted time.

Even though I am correct in my use of the road and they are not provides absolutely no consolation, if an accident occurs.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Redemption

Today 08:06 am JST

As a pedestrian the bikes are out of control especially high speed electric bikes on sidewalks in Tokyo. They completely ignore stop signs and whiz around blind curves

4 years ago crossing the street on a pedestrian crossing, I was plowed into by a woman barreling down the hill on her bicycle.

I hit the ground hard, she didn't fall stopped yelled at me for not getting out of her way and took off.

I got up thinking I was fine only to realize my arm was broken, she was long gone and I couldn't work for over a month!

Police couldn't do anything because all I had was older women on a bicycle as a description.

Bicycles like cars and motorcycles need number plates to go along with any new laws.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Leave the cyclists alone. Japan is one of the most cycle friendly country in the world. Discouraging cycling by fining people for an Idaho stop is wrongheaded.

-14 ( +10 / -24 )

I don’t think cycling has gotten more popular due to the coronavirus, I think it has gotten more popular because of UBER and their riders on a race against time so want to dodge those red lights. Zoom in between pedestrians.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Good. The first one to clamp down on is cycling on the road on the wrong side. You are naturally looking right when pulling out on to a 2~3 lane main road as that's where the vehicles are coming from... Only to almost have a cyclist smash in to your near-side as as you pull out. And they seem to think you're in the wrong.

You are. While you are correct about cyclists riding on the right side of the road, there are many times when cyclists are riding on sidewalks which doesn't have a wrong or right side. If you are only looking right when pulling out and not looking left as well, then you are liable to hit not only cyclists, but pedestrians as well. I cannot count the many times drivers are only focused on looking to the right while ignoring everything to their left. Be more careful, please.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

For me a cyclist who has been cycling for eighty years, wearing a helmet would very likely involve me in an accident. Why? Because with a helmet on my head I would cycle faster, feeling safe thinking the helmet would protect me if I fall! Without a helmet I am most careful on my bike. And I go slow. Besides, cycle helmets do not protect the face ! the most vulnerable part of the head! If cricket players wear helmets which protect the face, why do cyclists not wear cricket helmets ?

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

proxy

Today 08:52 am JST

Leave the cyclists alone. Japan is one of the most cycle friendly country in the world. Discouraging cycling by fining people for an Idaho stop is wrongheaded

Did you miss this part?:

According to the NPA, traffic violations by bicycle riders shot up from 7,193 in 2013 to 24,549 in 2022.

> Of the 7,107 serious or deadly accidents involving bicycles in 2022, about 70 percent were the result of cyclists breaking the law.

I was one of those injured by a cyclist ignoring the rules and law and I lost income, etc ..and the cyclists just took off!

2 ( +9 / -7 )

In most prefectures, bicycle owners need third-party insurance.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

"Leave the cyclists alone. Japan is one of the most cycle friendly country in the world. Discouraging cycling by fining people for an Idaho stop is wrongheaded."

I wonder what "proxy," the author of this comment, would feel if a careless bicyclist smashed into him/her while he/she was strolling down the sidewalk?

Given that many of the bikes are heavy (especially the infamous mama-chars) and usually going at top speed, this might be the last comment proxy composes to Japan Today.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Was overtaken by a cyclist in my car yesterday. I driving at maybe, for legal reasons I can’t say as it was a 50km zone, but the cyclist was doing around 80km.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

To strengthen measures to prevent accidents, bicyclists across all age groups have been urged to wear a helmet from April this year.

How would wearing a helmet prevent accidents? - unless it leads to fewer people cycling, and that's probably what we are seeing here as well. Not improved safety through anything effective like protected bike lanes or speed/red light sensors/cameras to enforce infractions by far more dangerous drivers in cars and trucks, but only measure designed to dissuade people from riding bikes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Stephen Chin

Today 09:10 am JST

For me a cyclist who has been cycling for eighty years, wearing a helmet would very likely involve me in an accident. Why? Because with a helmet on my head I would cycle faster, feeling safe thinking the helmet would protect me if I fall! Without a helmet I am most careful on my bike. And I go slow. Besides, cycle helmets do not protect the face ! the most vulnerable part of the head! If cricket players wear helmets which protect the face, why do cyclists not wear cricket helmets ?

Wow I have heard a lot of silly excuses this is one of the best!

You sound like the guy that says he doesn't wear a seatbelt because he knew someone that knew someone that heard of a guy dying in a car accident because he couldn't get his seatbelt off.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

My impression of Japanese police is that they do not do very much policing. In my inaka town, the police chief spends 10 days a year attending entrance and "graduation" ceremonies at the local nursery, kindergarden, elementary schools, junior high and senior high. They also go to the school sports days, any big events in my town, and do promotional things, like cycling proficiency at school. There is zero enforcement of cars and trucks going through red lights.

Cycling in inaka is mostly fine, but is dreadful in the city, with cyclists holding an umbrella or looking at their phone. The police should crack down on both.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Helmets are now required on bicycles.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

What about riding on the footpath? Is that actually ok?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Whenever this subject comes up we inevitably have the " I see cars violate the laws all the time" or something along this line!

But this:

According to the NPA, traffic violations by bicycle riders shot up from 7,193 in 2013 to 24,549 in 2022.

> Of the 7,107 serious or deadly accidents involving bicycles in 2022, about 70 percent were the result of cyclists breaking the law.

Shows us that it is clearly cyclists that are not following the laws of the road.

Now reading the comments it seems clear many here view the police as not very effective (to put it nicely).

But I'd the Japanese and the police do one thing really well it is collect data and clearly the data shows 70% the vast majority are due to cyclists not motorists violating the laws.

The police love nothing better than to charge motorists as it is usually an easy prosecution, so for them to admit they can't in 70% of the cases means that their is a problem and it is the cyclists.

I had a doctor's appointment at 8:30 I was out quickly, it is a short drive home and in that time on 3 occasions I had to slam on the breaks to avoid cyclists running a red light going in the opposite direction of traffic.

This is not an unusual situation it is the norm.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

dude, ive been stopped hundreds of times - typically it is to check i have a gaijin card and the bike is mine

JapantimeToday  

I don’t think the police have ever stopped a cyclist before.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

1 - never seen anyone getting a red ticket

2 - people aren't wearing helmets despite it being illegal.

3 - cyclists on the pavement aren't being caught and fined.

This is all a joke and the cops are pathetic.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

@wallace

There is plenty of research from around the world that helmet laws reduce cycling. Cycling is not an inherently dangerous activity. Progressive countries like the Netherlands do not have such ridiculous laws.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Badly

Today 09:58 am JST

What about riding on the footpath? Is that actually ok?

That depends!

Some have pedestrian and cycling sections if they don't the rules are basically like this.

Children under a certain age (sorry can't remember exactly but I think 12 or 6th grade primary school) are permitted to ride on sidewalks and elderly over 65 can do the same as well as mothers with an approved child seat when the child is with them in the seat on the bicycle if no child then they must use the road like other cyclists.

But good luck seeing any police enforcing these rules.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Well, they are going to need a veritable army of people to take care of this, because cyclists in Japan are a law unto themselves and do whatever suits them. They want to ride on both the roads and sidewalks interchangeably when and how it suits them - and are a menace to both pedestrians and drivers in the process. These fines are long overdue.

While they are at it, they can also introduce laws stopping drivers from just switching on the hazard lights and parking their car in traffic on the LHS of the road. It's madness. Half of them are just sitting there with their feet on the dashboard with the aircon on watching YouTube. Unbelievable.

And....and....and....

4 ( +9 / -5 )

factchecker

Today 10:01 am JST

1 - never seen anyone getting a red ticket

A red ticket is only "Currently, cyclists can be issued so-called red tickets for serious offences."

Meaning causing an accident or injury so I doubt you would be a witness to the giving of the ticket.

2 - people aren't wearing helmets despite it being illegal.

Again, no enforcement or penalty was written into the law so what can the police really do other than repeat over and over again to wear a helmet.

> 3 - cyclists on the pavement aren't being caught and fined.

I agree but as I pointed out there are exceptions, children under a certain age elderly over 65, and mother's with child seat and the child with them are permitted to use the pavement/sidewalk.

> This is all a joke and the cops are pathetic

Check the article and facts!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

You are. While you are correct about cyclists riding on the right side of the road, there are many times when cyclists are riding on sidewalks which doesn't have a wrong or right side. If you are only looking right when pulling out and not looking left as well, then you are liable to hit not only cyclists, but pedestrians as well. I cannot count the many times drivers are only focused on looking to the right while ignoring everything to their left. Be more careful, please.

Sigh. I said roads. Not sidewalks. Let's assume we're all intelligent enough to know the difference.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Roy Sophveason

Today 10:05 am JST

What about riding on the footpath? Is that actually ok?

> For those younger than 13 or older than 70, yes

Thanks I was fairly sure about 12 and under.

I was under the impression 65 but 70 sounds right.

But I did check and people riding with an approved child seat bicycle with the in the seat can also use the sidewalk (my guess is this falls under children under 13) but if they don't have a child with them then they must use the road not the sidewalk.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'm pretty much ok with the cycle behaviour in Japan. The rules place the fault with the car so it tends to make drivers think about their surroundings more.

Unfortunately, the level of driving ability in Japan is atrocious. Pedestrian crossings ignored, tailgating, watching tv, playing games, line-chatting with friends, cutting corners through the conbini car park, turning into a road without looking if it is clear, kids boshing around inside the car like it's a softplay park, window visibility nullified by net curtains, soft toys or figures.

The local police could make millions of yen everyday fining drivers sailing through red lights.

The 'Japanese' mask slips off when they get behind a steering wheel.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

proxy

@wallace

There is plenty of research from around the world that helmet laws reduce cycling. Cycling is not an inherently dangerous activity. Progressive countries like the Netherlands do not have such ridiculous laws.

Bicycle helmets save lives.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I am all for safety. But more policing is just lazy gorverning.

@sakurasaki is on point.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@wallace

Bicycle helmet laws do not save lives.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Paustovsky

Today 10:30 am JST

Again the " look at card , red light ...etc..."

Fact check 70% of accidents involving cyclists are caused by cyclists not motorists.

It is right in the article.

If a car runs a red light and the police are there, the driver will get a ticket.

A cyclist does it and nothing the police can do.

And in many cases the cyclists running that light cause cars to slam on their brake possibly causing other cars to run into them causing an accident while the cyclists just rides off

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The report, in the American Journal of Surgery, also concluded that riders with helmets were 44% less likely to die from their injury, and 31% less likely to break facial bones. There is no doubt helmets cannot resist substantial impact and cannot save everyone.

https://firstaidforlife.org.uk/cycle-helmets-do-they-really-save-lives/

Researchers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

(NHTSA)found that helmets reduced the likelihood of serious head injury by 60 percent. Additionally, in cases where it was known whether cyclists were wearing helmets, 79 percent of those who were fatally injured between 2010 and 2017 were not wearing them.

https://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Documents/2019-DCA18SS002-BMG-4-MitigatingHeadInjury.pdf

I have worn various helmets which saved me from injury. Hard hats in construction and engineering. A Motorbike helmet saved me twice in serious crashes.

I don't ride a bicycle.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

According to the NPA, traffic violations by bicycle riders shot up from 7,193 in 2013 to 24,549 in 2022.

Without looking at at least the increase in cyclists in that time, this number is not so meaningful.

The helmet statistics arent so straight forward. I wear a helmet on long/fast rides usually.

So stats show, obviously that wearing a helmet reduces serious injury/death if caught in an accident. Unfort some other data also seems to show that the likelihood of getting into an accident may increase with helmet wearing, factors include both risky behavoir AND recent research showing drivers consider helmeted riders as less human.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

While they are at it, they can also introduce laws stopping drivers from just switching on the hazard lights and parking their car in traffic

This is one of the things I find causes the greatest disruption on the road.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It may just be my area of Tokyo but lately I have seen a sharp increase of people wearing helmets, but it seems by a large margin mostly men and especially elderly men (it is interesting the variety of helmets some construction, some motorcycle, even saw one with a rugby and cycling) but the thing that stands out are the women and older women, few if any wear helmets.

Both my wife and I have been actively looking as we wanted to see if the new "law" had any impact and this is what we both noticed.

My wife's theory is the men don't care about messing up their hairdo but the women do. Maybe!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So stats show, obviously that wearing a helmet reduces serious injury/death if caught in an accident. Unfort some other data also seems to show that the likelihood of getting into an accident may increase with helmet wearing, factors include both risky behavoir AND recent research showing drivers consider helmeted riders as less human.

Now this has been repeated here often.

I have checked previously and again just within the past hour.

It is interesting.

The only information I can find on helmets increasing accidents is on pro cycling sites done by/for anti cycling regulations groups.

All the medical, safety, non bias research institutes all contradict the findings by these pro cycling groups that also oppose, training, registration, liability insurance nsurance, etc.. they even oppose regulations requiring bicycles have brakes ( yes many fixed gear bikes have no braking system and in many jurisdictions this is still not regulated)

I will go with the data from the NHS, the transportation board, CDC, etc..over bicycling.something, Road.something, etc..

1 ( +4 / -3 )

kurisupisu

Today 08:35 am JST

@ Antiquesaving

> The image contained in

> https://expatsguide.jp/wp/wp-content/uploads/8things_bike_stop.jpg

> is one that I have never seen before.

> I’ll look out for them in my area

I am not surprised, I find few people actually bother looking at what is really going on around them.

There are basically 4 stops cyclists must obey.

The obvious Red light.

Then the regular stop sign which is for all forms of moving vehicle including bicycles

Then there are the increasing bicycle only stops signs which are miniature version of the regular stop sign and almost exclusively used on designated bike lanes and bike paths.

The last one is the paint road stop

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTC7kGNkQnLW9U6eXAKMru8PNKicDMSvxtsng&usqp=CAU

These are the most common after the red light and full size stop signs.

Unfortunately you will find 90% have never noticed them a 99% will ignore them and why not the police cannot do anything right now anyway.

But if you drive get a dashcam if you don't already have one because if you hit a cyclist that did not stop at these painted stops and you have no stop the dashcam is you proof they didn't stop.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japan is not constructed, as a very condensed and space limiting road system, to all of a sudden become bicycle law aware. Tight roads, many one ways, traffic light systems not made for bicycles, and general jungle to get around by bicycle, especially in the big cities.

First thing's first. I've heard people think the sidewalk is where the bicycle is supposed to be. There is nothing of past Japan that says otherwise, because of the lack of space on the streets, no shoulder and being inches from rushing cars. Bicycles naturally ride on sidewalks, here. It's illegal in many other countries, and might even be here, I don't know, but if it is, how crazy to stop people on the sidewalks when there often is no road to ride on without being whacked by a car mirror.

If the streets and spacing allowed, more bike paths might happen, but logistically, it can't be done without a huge effort to redo streets. That isn't happening, and bike paths won't be a ubiquitous thing.

Essentially, with so many basic problems of roads and bicycle safety not being something the Japanese considered, when she should have, the infrastructure and the culture of waiting and waiting until problems occur, recent issues are a symptom, not the disease.

Japan often makes new rules based on system is already in place, but they don't address the cause, per se. There may be a slight alleviation for betterment. Maybe not.

It does not solve the problem and can be an annoyance from both ends people argue over and over.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan's police agency said Thursday it plans to slap fines on cyclists  for traffic violations in a bid to reduce the number of accidents

So, in other words, they will START to do their job?

Are they also going to start tagging inept drivers using phones while they drive?

following the rise in popularity in bicycles as a means for commuting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

that has nothing to do with anything in 2023.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Surely it’s just a way to keep bored police in their koban offices busy? Why not focus on noisy neighbours and increasing pressure on anti social noisy cars?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

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