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What do you think of attempts by police to get people to stop using cell phones and listening to music while riding bicycles?

31 Comments

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I think their attempts are as heartfelt and productive as their attempts at solving just about any crime. Unless the teenage culprits go and deliver themselves to an empty police box, their efforts will be as effective as GWB's governing abilities.

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I wish it could be a law. It is extremely dangerous to ride a bike while listening to an iPod or whatever. You can't hear the sounds around you. And reading and sending emails while on a bike is just as dangerous.

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Probably about as much as they had tried to stop people using phones whilst driving.... zero change after about a month of a little effort

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How about getting people to stop riding bicycles on the sidewalks? That would help wonders, too?

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I see no problem riding a bike while listening to an ipod, IF you keep the sound at an acceptable level. I listen to mine while riding, but keep the volume low enough to be able to hear the traffic around me.

If they are going to be picky about it, the same rule should apply to people driving cars - no headphones, no music too loud that you can't hear other traffic (i thought that's what the purpose of music was for though - to drown out the outside noise).

I can think of plenty of things the police should spend more time enforcing.

Children buckling up: some may be surprised, but it IS the law here to restrain your child in the car (with, I admit, plenty of ridiculous loopholes). The fact that police don't bother enforcing it means people don't bother following it. Uyoku vans: Is there no such thing as a noise pollution law? If I drove around the suburbs with a loudspeaker on my car singing karaoke and rambling on about politics, I'm pretty sure they'd pull me over - why not the uyoku? Cars that run red lights: They are ignored by police unless it is the scheduled "red light day" on their roster. Many police are given very specific duties to do during the day, and are either not authorised or not encouraged to practice other areas of law enforcement. For example, if they are rostered to catch people talking on mobile phones while driving, they ignore those who run red lights, speed, don't wear seat belts etc.

And while they're enforcing the above, they should add

kids who read manga or play playstation while riding bikes people who don't use lights on their bike at night 2 people riding on one bike people who use umbrellas while riding
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Well, when you live in a country where for the most part common sense does not prevail and where people have the attitude that, "if nothing happens then it's OK" you are facing an uphill battle. I have seen people nearly get killed, have come within an inch of losing their lives and they don't even flinch. I have seen people on bicycles as well as other means of transportation doing things that would get you locked up in other countries. Of course there are some sensible people but they are in the minority. There are stupid people in every country but I think only a radical conceptual change of thought about what it actually means to be riding a bicycle in public and what is common sense will bring about a change in this country. Personally I don't see it happening...but hope springs eternal.

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That's just common sense. Make it a law and I would suggest they start licencing cyclists. Punish them severely when the violate the rules! they are not just a danger to pedestrians but also cause a lot of problems to motorists as they believe they can easily get away with it.

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actually riding bicycles on the pavement, riding at night without lights, using an umbrella/walkman/phone while cycling are ALL illegal in Japan due to recent legislation. doesnt mean that anyone will stop doing it or that the police will do anything to enforce it though. walk through chiyoda-ku and you'll see a lot of people smoking in the street despite the ban/fine, and you'll definately see some morons driving and chatting on their mobile phones

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I support it. Also they should clamp down on people using headphones whilst driving - and I would hope it goes without saying reading newspapers/manga, shaving and applying makeup all of which I have witnessed recently

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lipscombe and Meanringo...Spot on. The fact that these activities are illegal will have virtually no impact on the folks doing it, or the police. In fact, a J-person could probably crash into a koban while holding an umbrella, listening to an i-Pod, and speaking on a mobile phone, at the same time, and not face any punishment. The cops are too busy checking the ID numbers on all our bikes to care about this petty stuff.

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I like the use of the word 'attempts' cos that is all they will be. It won't stop anybody doing such reckless and dangerous things as wearing an iPod or talking on the phone while riding a bicycle. I've seen teenagers with an umbrella in one hand and a phone in the other while riding along a main road with no sidewalk swerving on and off the shoulder. I guess the Shinto god is truly great cos he saves so many of these mullets from certain death!

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How about enforcing cyclists ride on the correct side of the road, i.e. the left? I have had numerous incidents where, while riding a bicycle on the correct side of a two-way street, I've faced people riding on the wrong side. This has often been on narrow, car filled roads. Upon seeing me on my bicycle, the snits coming the wrong way have actually moved closer to the side of the road, forcing me to move further into the traffic lane, endangering my safety.

In a few cases I've moved as far left to the road as possible and actually stopped full in the gutter, with the other person facing me in a 'Mexican standoff'. In this situation, the person opposite me, who's been riding on the wrong side of the road, has look perturbed or angry as if to say "Why are you blocking my way???" They seem to have no concept that what they are doing is not only illegal but highly dangerous to the person who is in the correct lane, riding in the correct direction. Instead, they seem to feel that I'm inconveniencing them!!!

It just seems that many bicycles riders in Japan feel and act as if that rules of the road don't apply to them, and they should be treated as 'pedestrians, but on wheels' rather than operators of vehicles, which they are. This is a case of 'safety Japan' being 'very unsafety'!

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i don't think they should bother. it's perfect generation cleansing; the only thing that needs to be adjusted is that drivers who hit them should be let off the hook... or be rewarded...

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I don't believe Japanese people know how to ride bicycles. With or without iPods and mobile phones it is a disaster. Ever been to Osaka?

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I agree that many people ride dangerously, just as many people drive dangerously, but many of these racist comments disgust me.

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i think that if people are stupid enough to not pay attention to their surroundings, the rest of society should just let them die...it's called darwinism

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As a cyclist I support this 100%.

Of course, it should hold for drivers, too, and the practical effect will be to give the cops yet another pretense for fishing expeditions.

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papasmurfinjapan

but many of these racist comments disgust me.

Pray tell, where's the racism here?

One of the joys of Japan for me is the bicycle culture - that so many people embrace such a wonderful method of transport. However, I stand by what I wrote before - for a country that trumpets its safety, bicycle riding can be extremely unsafe here because of the actions of a substantial number of riders who do not treat riding a bicycle on public roads with the seriousness it merits. Such riders do not only endanger themselves, but the safety and wellbeing of others.

If it's not done already (please correct me if it is done) children should have substantial training and guidance about riding bicycles on the roads especially given the high use of bicycles in Japan> They should be taught to follow road rules not just as a matter of obeying laws, but for safety reasons and for the consideration of others.

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Upon seeing me on my bicycle, the snits coming the wrong way have actually moved closer to the side of the road, forcing me to move further into the traffic lane, endangering my safety.

You have this totally wrong. What I do is I get as close to the curb as possible and then raise my body up on the bars. At the same time I give them the biggest death stare imaginable. They are then forced to move into the traffic for me rather than vice-versa.

They're the one's doing the risky activity and they should take up the risk rather than you.

Those that aren't totally gormless anticipate this and move to the pavement; others have no sense and just come to a stop. Whereby you also come to a stop and politely tell them off.

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You have this totally wrong.

Reading on in my posts, you have probably realized what you're suggesting in your post is my strategy. However, In some of the cases where I've met these riders, there is no footpath/sidewalk/pavement for them to get up onto - the roads are that narrow, or there is a barrier separating the road from the footpath. Nonetheless, they still choose to ride the wrong way because they do expect other riders to move into the traffic to suit them.

The section of road I'm thinking about in my neighborhood is also quite steep. Imagine going downhill at a reasonable clip, sticking to the left so as not to inconvenience the cars behind me, then finding a rider pumping his way up the hill on the wrong side - it's not an ideal situation in the least.

Thinking back on what I wrote on earlier - I honestly don't think it's just a case of these riders not following rules or thinking about safety - it's all about their convenience and lack of manners. They're in the wrong lane because they can't be buggered crossing to the correct side of the road. Or they want to turn right at the next intersection, and being in the right lane is more convenient for them. They just don't think about anyone else but themselves, and they don't consider it might be ill-mannered - left alone unsafe - to be in the wrong lane.

We're pretty fragile people out there on our bicycles. I wish those people would realize that.

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Good luck w/ that one!

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blvtzpk

Sorry, it seems the moderator has deleted them (which I suppose is a good thing). There were a few posts in succession basically saying "Japanese can't ride bicycles", "Japanese are idiots" etc. Granted there are people who can't ride bikes and plenty of idiots here, but generalisations about "the Japanese" being something or other was going a bit overboard in my opinion.

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This won't change anything as long as Japanese people continue going about their lives as if they had rubber asses.

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papasmurfinjapan:

Thanks for the clarification! I can see why you were annoyed now.

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I think the whole issue is stupid. Responsibility should be implimented amongst riders not stupid sanctions. For example, fair enough listen to music but not so loud that you loose all awareness of hazards around you. Using a cell phone while riding is just dumb. I'm sure the majority who want to live would stop what they're doing to handle their business on the phone instead of playing the balance vs concentration game! If anything Japanese riders should be shown some respect that they're using an eco form of transport. Shows that you cant please anyone in this day n age!

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Are you kidding? The police are not going to make any attempts whatsoever to get people to stop using cell phones while riding their bikes. And while we are at it, the priority would be getting people to ride on the right (correct) side of the road [maybe we should go back further and first construct proper bicycle lanes], get them to observe traffic lights, get them to turn on their lights in the dark, to mention a few. Why aren't the police going to make any attempts, really? Well, just because in this country all the authorities ever do is drawing up more regulations, but never enforcing them. It's a rare case someone gets caught speeding, ignoring a light, failing to signal, parking illegally, etc. Let's face it, Japan still is a backward Asian country if it comes to road traffic. Sad but true.

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It is not racist to say Japanese, or Asians, can't ride bicycles or drive cars properly. Just look at the traffic statistics.

Would it be ageist to say that 18-25 year-olds are bad drivers? No, because the statistics back it up. That's why their insurance rates are higher. Why does Vancouver have the highest car insurance rates in North America? Because the place is crawling with Chinese.

If there are any Asians reading now, tell me please, what is the purpose of the lines on the road?

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Personally, I think it's a great idea. However, I wonder just how exactly the police plan on stopping 100,000,000 people from doing it.

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>what is the purpose of the lines on the road? Good question. They are just demarcations. For the rest they mean nothing. Think about the center lines. They indicate the center of the road. You can cross them any time you like. I was in this country when the brilliant idea popped up to set aside a kind of sidewalk for pedestrians and cyclists by painting a white line on one or both sides of the road. These new zones were respected for about 3 days I think. Look now, they are a host to shop signs and parked vehicles of all sorts. Spreading all this paint on the asphalt provided some labor for some time, but that's about it. Police in Japan have never been serious about enforcing the traffic regulations. Everybody knows it and violates every basic rule without impunity. I drive almost every day and what I see and experience daily is unbelievable to a westerner's mind. Even after decades in Japan I keep wondering if the people I meet every day at work, in shops, in my neighborhood, my friends, are the same jerks who do all these asocial, stupid, dangerous things in traffic.

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Of course I meant 'with impunity'. Were there any more errors??

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I keep wondering if the people I meet every day at work, in shops, in my neighborhood, my friends, are the same jerks who do all these asocial, stupid, dangerous things in traffic.

I keep wondering if I've flipped off my boss, neighbor, or father-in-law, etc.

Once, I was jaywalking and a car honked. I flew the bird without even looking at the car. He pulled over ahead of me and said hello. It was one of my students.

Regarding crossing center lines, you will see in American newspapers, in the matter of record section, people being fined for crossing center lines.

Anyway, back to the topic, instead of the police, why don't everyday citizens just stick a golf club in the bicycle spokes if someone's talking on a cell phone?

Of course I meant 'with impunity'. Were there any more errors??

A comma after "Japan" in line 9 would have been nice. , "Even after decades in Japan, I keep ..."

I guess "anti-social" (bugging others) would have been a better choice than "asocial" (being absent?), but I'll have to check

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