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Calls made for bicycles to have number plates

146 Comments

A study group formed by the Tokyo metropolitan government to come up with measures to lower the number of accidents involving cyclists, as well as improve cycling etiquette, is recommending that bicycles have number plates.

The group, consisting of experts in the fields of traffic safety and education, said that requiring bicycles to have number plates would make cyclists more responsible and reduce the number of abandoned bikes, Sankei Shimbun reported.

The metropolitan government says it is costly for the city to dispose of abandoned bicycles. By having a number plate registration system similar to automobiles, owners of abandoned bicycles will be easier to track down.

Shigeru Morichi, professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and the leader of the study group, said that the current situation is terrible, Sankei reported. He said the number of accidents involving bicycles is increasing.

In January, new rules took effect that are designed to keep bike riders on the left side of the road. Tokyo is also looking into setting up special color-coded lanes for cyclists.

The National Police Agency is planning to toughen rules for sidewalk cyclists in order to cut back on the number of accidents involving bicycles colliding with pedestrians.

According to police, the consistently high rate of collisions in recent years has caused them to consider restricting the areas where cyclists can ride their bicycles.

Police are also hoping to introduce safe riding education schemes, to crack down on drunk cycling and to eventually introduce more dedicated cycling lanes on busy streets.

All the proposals by the study group will be discussed by the Tokyo metropolitan government in September.

© Japan Today

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146 Comments
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..ok, next? introduce 'shaken' (please read in Japanese) and bicycle tax as well :(

14 ( +15 / -2 )

The group, consisting of experts in the fields of traffic safety and education, said that requiring bicycles to have number plates would make cyclists more responsible and reduce the number of abandoned bikes

Idiots. How about letting cyclists park more easily at home (Shibuya take note) and how about promoting recycling (excuse the Freudian slip) initiatives? Sell the bikes to other Asian countries and then you would probably make money.

2 ( +8 / -8 )

Getting run over by a bicycle hurts, so i think it's a step in the right direction, even if it involves a tax at some point..

-16 ( +8 / -22 )

Some cities, at least all the ones I've lived in in Japan, require bicycle registration at time of purchase, a sticker is applied to your bike, with, sometimes, the name of your school, and your name. Is Tokyo more of a tea-party, libertarian city without this feature? By the way, I don't see etiquette improving but it's easier for the cops to find your stolen bicycle.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

what a joke! it's bad enough i get pulled over my j-cops once a week for a 'random' check (check time averages 10min) of ownership.

10 ( +10 / -2 )

A bit of common sense and situational awareness while riding your bicycle seems to work well in other places on the globe.

22 ( +21 / -2 )

Whether it's a good idea or not, will they have to carry liability insurance? How would the law apply to out of state (prefecture) cyclists? Will there be any penalties?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Better to make most streets one way with no parking zones. Speed up car flow and encourage cyclists to ride on the road where they belong. This would also discourage riding against the flow of traffic. Number plate, they already have registration numbers.

9 ( +10 / -2 )

If people actually walked/rode around like they werent in some kind of bubble, none of this would be necesary in the first place.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Absolutely, as soon as 'the man' gets your name and address and attaches it to a piece of equipment. It is game over and time to start paying. They'll be handing out parking fines and speeding tickets next.

11 ( +10 / -1 )

They'll be handing out parking fines and speeding tickets next.

I see nothing wrong with penalties for dangerous riding. Trafic laws exist to make the roads safer for everyone. Why should cyclists be exempt?

-7 ( +9 / -14 )

MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY.

That's pure greed. All the materials from the bike are recycled. It's even a bonus to Japan if it's an imported bike with high grade materials. Not only do they scrap it but they sell it too.

Now they want you to pay more.

What's next?

That's easy. More greed. Shaken check for cars. Jutensha-Shaken for bikes.

Everyt 3 years you have to take your bike in for a check that cost 50% of the actual value of your bike.

Plus, it's a whole lot more paperwork (bureaucracy) which would probably cost more in terms of man hours and data storage.

Ridiculous proposal even if they do dress it up.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

And next, pedestrians will be required to have a walking licence. No, this idea of requiring a plate on a bicycle is nonsense.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Spud, i think one-way streets have their own set of problems. Here in the US some cities have converted narrow, 100 year old streets to be one way only and there's always some idiot getting stuck going against traffic in a car. Usually people who've never been in the area...

Back to the topic, i think riders with no history of accidents shouldn't have to carry insurance, but those with at least two should. A bike can go a lot faster than a person can run, and if someone is texting and riding, it could lead to a deadly accident. People have died trying to avoid a squirrel in the road, when the car spun out, hit a light pole and caught fire...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

P.S: Once you get a plate number just like a car. They'll want jibai-seki and a secondary insurance policy.

When are these people going to say "Hey don't come over to my house for dinner?" You look around at the things I have and then try to put a tax on everything.

Bureaucratic governments are way too intrusive.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't think that adding number plates will change the way people conduct themselves.

I've no doubt that as soon as the law was introduced, you would find bosuzoku types were bending their plates to avoid detection.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Everyt [sic] 3 years you have to take your bike in for a check...

More often would be nice if it meant less squeaky brakes!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The metropolitan government says it is costly for the city to dispose of abandoned bicycles. By having a number plate registration system similar to automobiles, owners of abandoned bicycles will be easier to track down.

So the concept of "removing the plates" before abandoning the bicycle is obviously alien to these people. Why, there's even a sophisticated device designed to help in said removal. It's called the "screwdriver" ;)

9 ( +11 / -2 )

If you think I'm going to put a license on my superlight road bike, you're out of your minds.

Why don't they:

a) just enforce existing laws

b) create bike lanes

I also agree with TigerTokyoDome about selling/recycling the bikes to other Asian countries.

8 ( +11 / -4 )

Agree with NetNinja. Just away to further tax people and create jobs for mindless drones. And yes, borscht, I believe that most cities have a registration sticker when you purchase a bike (new or used). So will this make it easier to track down the owner? No. Money grab, plain and simple. Build another road that no one uses in the north of the country.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Forbid pavement riding at all ,arrest violators actively and build bike path... thats all it takes...

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Pretty much everyone here is making excellent points & suggestions, and pre-emptied me on many of the things I wanted to write.

I'll just add one more reason why this is unworkable. Have any of you ever tried reading a number plate on a car that was moving? now try to imagine reading a much smaller one on something that has much more agility than a car, moving and swerving about as it rides off.

Please though, let's have "Jitenshaken", if only for the squeaky brakes and having people put a bit of oil on their chains.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I often ride my bicycle in Tokyo, on the sidwalk, because it is a million times more dangerous to be riding your bicycle on the streets. I don't know what the police are thinking here, you might reduce the collisions with pedestrians, but now you just increased collisions with vehicles, or rather, the other way around, vehicles into bicyclists.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Number plates not really needed. Just need cops to enforce basic rules. Don't ride against flow of traffic. Don't ride dangerously on pavement. Don't talk on phone or smoke while riding. Umbrella?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Maybe it would be an idea to have all bicycles microchipped like pets - would make recovering/checking stolen bokes much faster. Someone stole my beloved Trek 7.3 2 weeks ago.....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"In January, new rules took effect that are designed to keep bike riders on the left side of the road"

This is the most stupid, irresponsible and endangering rule that I have ever seen! Look at these ignorant cyclists now! They are all over the place and I bet most of them either don't have drivers license or are not experienced drivers. They don't have a clue about rules of the road and dynamics of city driving.

How many times I see in horror how they block traffic while riding in middle of the lane, cross to the right side to make a right turn, switch lanes without looking back, don't let cars pass, and none of them wear helmets!

If police wants cyclists off the sidewalk, then everything that is on the road must pass road tests and have licenses! Number plates is not a bad idea, but license should come first. Personally, I am getting a drive recorder that would keep me out jail in case I hit one of those idiots!

On different subject, under what circumstances it is police in Japan that writes the laws? Isn't this unconstitutional?

-6 ( +5 / -10 )

What next? A bicycle license? Or maybe we have to go to 'riding' school before we can get one? People think they can solve any problem through govt regulation.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I agree with realteacher I also have a light weight bike I use for racing. These bikes are expensive and the last thing I need is a number plate system adding weight to the bike and destroying aero dynamics.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I think the idea of number plates on cycles would be a nightmare to enforce and manage.

As someone said you can remove the plate with a screwdriver and dump the old bike. No big deal, even my gran said she is capable of doing this! To lessen the effects of dumping you would also have to record bike model, serial numbers, and serial numbers of subcomponents, like they do with cars.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But we already have number plates. It's a registration number on a decal attached to the frame, containing data like names and addresses. Maybe the "experts" didn't know this.

Bicycle lanes are the answer. But no, that might require some real effort on part of the bureaucrats.

7 ( +9 / -3 )

Agree with @realteacher

Why don't they:

a) just enforce existing laws

Yeah, instead of pulling over random people for ID checks

b) create bike lanes

This is harder since some (many) streets are too narrow/crowded with cars etc.

I also agree with TigerTokyoDome about selling/recycling the bikes to other Asian countries.

They already do this, and they should continue to

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Country is ready to collapse. Good time for more bureaucracy...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It makes sense... to an extent. While I think it is a good idea to give cyclists more accountability so that they ride more responsibly, this will not solve the problem of abandoning bicycles. People can simply remove or break off the license plate if they abandon the bike. Serial numbers on the chassis can also be filed off. Also, again regarding accountability and rider responsibility, unless there are witnesses and perhaps video footage, riders can always throw the blame on the vehicle that hits them, and win.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I like the idea of more bike lanes.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Most dumped bikes are not dumped by the owner but by a thief who missed the last train. If the purpose of number plates were to return stolen property rather then fine the owner because a thief dumped his bike, it would make more sense.

The way to reduce bicycle accidents is to license riders, not the bicycles. Then those who ride dangerously could be banned from riding.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

If the police insist that I always ride on the road then I will ride in the middle of narrow roads. Riding on the very side of narrow roads is dangerous as dopey drivers try to squeeze past when there isn't enough room to do so safely. The cars will have to wait until they can move into the oncoming lane to pass me. When the road is busy this will not be possible, hence other people will be delayed.

There are cycle lanes around here, which I use, but they are often occupied by zombie pedestrians. Most days I also get pedestrians stepping out into the road in front of me without looking: these people will get knocked down regardless of where the bicycles are, number plate or not.

3 ( +5 / -3 )

If people were not so dam selfish and showed more consideration to others, this wouldn't be a problem. This applies to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists...

I have noticed that Japanese are friendly to family and close friends/co-workers, but put most of them outside with total strangers and their consideration and manners almost vanish. Of course I am not trying to tar everyone with the same brush, but if you have lived here long enough I am sure you know what I mean?

This was especially true post 3/11 I could not believe how pushy and selfish people were towards one another when the supermarket doors opened...

In closing, I believe Japan to be a 'secular consideration/empathy society'... (i.e. if I do not know you, you mean nothing to me)...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Now there’s an idea I think I like! Let’s put a plate on every bike! Like most things here we’ll make it hard Hmmm while we’re at it a license card! Two year inspections and insurance to boot In the first few years we’ll have plenty of loot! The money will show on a public docket SSHHH….don’t tell ‘em we lined our pockets! Within a few years they’ll accept the change Now let’s get busy with the rearrange An increase is costs and an increase in fees Lot’s more paper so cut down more trees! Next we will read that there is more talk I wonder how much we can charge them to walk?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is more than enough room on most major roads, all it takes is 80 cm of a road and actively prohibiting parking on those areas...specially delivery / taxies and sleeping construction vehicles...parked specially to create blind spots. I have NEVER seen cops enforce any of these here

The only problem really is education and actual enforcement of rules. I see mamachari with no lights going on the wrong side, pedestrians crossin wherever and OLs and students riding parallel in 3 on a sidewalk here every day and police does nothing about it even if pointed out.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

tokyokawasaki

I have noticed that Japanese are friendly to family and close friends/co-workers, but put most of them outside with total strangers and their consideration and manners almost vanish. Of course I am not trying to tar everyone with the same brush, but if you have lived here long enough I am sure you know what I mean?

To me it's the opposite... their consideration and manners vanish within their close friends and families. But that might depend on where you live. I've heard that the people in Tokyo were generally terrible... I live in Osaka, and I guess people in Osaka are generally more friendlier to stranger than average...

I've also heard that people in Tokyo don't ring their bicycle bells... but here in Osaka they do... strange.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Darknuts - actually yes! Bike license and education is absolutely necessary here, most people can hardly walk let along ride a bike and re-education would be a blessing!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

and, there is no place for any plate on my bike haha its either that or light....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

unless you have eagle eyes, how could anyone make out a license (not number) plate on a bike?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We have bike/moped permits in Hawaii but its pretty much useless.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

like the lines at the land office isn't bad enough. luckily the only two wheeler i have also has a engine and can hit 200 km/h.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nice poem there Mobass4u :) Personally I think this study group of " safety experts" is a bunch of oyajis trying to figure out how to create - 1) a way to scam more money off public for their bonuses - you can bet those millions of license plates will bring in the ¥¥¥ 2 ) more post- retirement jobs for themselves and their buddies - lots more useless drones sitting half asleep behind desks to administer it all.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@gaijintraveller

The way to reduce bicycle accidents is to license riders, not the bicycles. Then those who ride dangerously could be banned from riding.

I agree, if they do this, i do mind, if they take away my bicycle and put it cycle jail.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

i do mind = i would not mind

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This seems like a good idea in theory but horrible in practice. Cars already have number plates and that does little to nothing to stop them from speeding, parking where they should, or generally following basic traffic rules. I don't see how the police would be any more active in enforcing cycling laws than they would now just because there is (possibly) a number plate on the bike. Also, as other posters mentioned, they would be easily removed for conveninece (crime) or if someone really wants to be bold, they could switch plates with a stranger and rack up fines under their name. Let's hope they realize the issues with this and instead try to find real ways of fixing the issues with cyclist/pedestrians/motorists all sharing the same (often narrow) strip of road.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do the police ever track down the owners of abandoned cars? I don't know about Tokyo but it is a nightmare in Fukuoka. Good luck trying to get the police, city or prefecture to remove an abandoned car. If the number plates are removed it is no longer considered an automobile, it is considered to be garbage but only after it has sat in the same place for (I forget exactly) a lengthy period of time. If the street is wider than 3.5 meters it is not considered to be a parking violation so cannot be towed until it is declared "large garbage." If it is not sitting on a road less than 3.5 meters it is not a police matter at all for "normal roads" under the national road designation rules. A road classified as an expressway has different rules than local roads. If the road happens to pass between two rice fields there is a good chance that it is the responsibility of the local JA to move the car and bear the cost. Most cities have a glorious mix of city owned, prefecture owned, nationally owned and JA owned roads or bits of roads and nobody wants to take responsibility.

The previous owner of the abandoned car will not face any sanction. When abandoned a car is unowned.

I have had to work my way through the bureaucracy a few times to get abandoned cars removed. The first time was a burnt out hulk and an education in Japanese law. It took persistent pressure, arm twisting favor swapping and 6 months to get that moved. The second one was easier to get moved after we tracked down the VIN, measured the road, counted the days and went to the local koban with the PTA. The third one was gone in 12 hours. One call from the PTA to the city and the city checked the VIN and started calling the guy at work.

Abandoned bicycles are not a problem. We actually got one back, thanks to the little sticker and junk dealers make good money my gathering up abandoned bicycles to be recycled or refurbished and exported.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As much is there is a huge problem with bicycle etiquette, I fail to see how number plates will change anything. Bicycles already have to be registered. I also have to have a little chuckle about creating bicycle lanes. Where? In the sky? Most of the roads around Tokyo are too narrow for a footpath, better less a bicycle lane. However, it is good to see them acknowledging there is a problem, but they obviously have no idea how to deal with it.

Recently I have seen many police checking bicycle registrations, but again, it means very little. I actually saw a 20 something girl just keep on riding when a cop asked her to stop. He chased for 10 meters or so and then he stopped. She just muttered something along the of "bugger off pig!" and kept riding. I would go as far to say the problem is not just bicycle etiquette, but etiquette within the society in general.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

far better to introduce a system of govt owned bikes that the public can utilise, do away with private ownership all together

-3 ( +4 / -6 )

Number plates for bicycles that already have identification stickers on them? Anyone would think that Tokyo was being run be an extreme right wing nutcase..

Seriously though, an audit of unsafe roads, traffic calming, more pedestrian/cycle only zones, proper cyclist education at schools and through the media, and rental cycles like in Paris and London would make Tokyo (and the rest of the country which would follow it) a great city indeed.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I don't own a car in part because it's wasteful and bad for the environment. Also, it's much cheaper...please don't make it not worth my while to choose this lifestyle option.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My bike got stolen once, well actually a number of times. So I would go and buy a new one. Well, I get a phone call from the police saying they found my bike and to come get it. I said I already bought a new one and would have to go down to sign off on it. I get to the police station. My bike is there. I asked the cop if a kid took it and he siad no.Do you know who? Yes, I was told a homeless man. I said give him the bike. They said no. I said, I do not want it. They said I would then have to pay for them to dispose of it. I took the bike, told my friend with the van, I will meet you over there at 7-11. I peeled the sticker off, got in his van and left. No more police calls after that.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I said give him the bike. They said no. I said, I do not want it. They said I would then have to pay for them to dispose of it. I took the bike, told my friend with the van, I will meet you over there at 7-11. I peeled the sticker off, got in his van and left. No more police calls after that.

Why were you expecting them to give away your bike? That is not their job. Instead of just leaving at a store, and possibly making trouble for the owner having to pay a fee to get rid of it, why didn't you give it to a homeless person yourself? The quickest way between two points is usually a straight line.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

wackness, I am with you - they hope to squeeze us for some of all the money we are saving by not owning a car.

This will ultimately lead to less people using bikes and I think that is really the plan. The convenience of drivers and car industry profits trumps everything else.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cars already have number plates and that does little to nothing to stop them from speeding, parking where they should, or generally following basic traffic rules.

Take those plates off and you might begin to see how much they make people behave!

If having plates led to people filing complaints against bicyclists, and being able to track them for remembering the plate number, I am sure we would see a change in behavior, not 100 percent, but a great deal. Well, that is if the police actually did something about complaints, and even just a phone call might set a few straight.

The real question is, would it be worth it? I don't think so. The people who think this stuff up are not terribly bright. They decided to put bicyclists on the street and ban them from the sidewalk. How many cycling kids are going to die on the road, crushed by cars, so that careless bobbling grandmas don't break a hip in a collision with a bike? Its called priorities. If they had any sense of them, license plates on bicycles would be very low on the list of ideas they would tell us about.

Forget ettiquette. What Japan needs to do is bring order to both pedestrians and cyclists. They need to have some basic clear rules laid out before they demand people obey them, of course! For example, they should paint a white line down every sidewalk, and encourage all to keep left. Bicyclists should be allowed on the sidewalk, but only if they are traveling slowly enough. And police should concentrate more on rule infractions than stop the same gaijin everyday to check for stolen bikes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The one and only time I had anything to do with the Jap Bill was riding home late one night, after a few Asahis, on a bike I had picked up about a month earlier. Said bike had been lying in a vacant block for several weeks prior and had grass growing all over it and was clearly old and abandoned. So I put it back to work. The Bill, ever erstwhile to crack down on the theiving foreign horde, pulled me over. No English V basic Japanese meant we were getting nowhere and I was starting to imagine myself detained then deported. It wasn't looking good. Bike had no registration and they clearly thought I had nicked it, which I guess I had. Then, an African guy stopped his car out of the blue and asked what was going on. I explained, and he said "Leave it to me". He spoke to the Bill for a few minutes, they eyed me, I looked as innocent as a lamb, and eventually he said to me "They want you to put the bike in their car and they will take you home. I strongly advise you NOT to do this - you don't have to go with them and it's not a good idea to get into their car." So I said "Thanks for the offer, but I'll ride" The Bill drove off, and the African guy and I chatted - he told me he had endured years of harrassment by Japanese Police and knew his rights and the law in Japan very well and was always looking to help other foreigners where possible. Great bloke, who absolutely saved my ass.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh yeah, the post script to the story is that my trusty steed was subsequently flogged from the train station about a month later. I was absolutely outraged!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Disillusioned

I actually saw a 20 something girl just keep on riding when a cop asked her to stop. He chased for 10 meters or so and then he stopped. She just muttered something along the of "bugger off pig!" and kept riding.

This is the main reason they're talking about implementing license plates. When patrol police, whether on foot or on those antiquated and heavy police bicycles, try to stop someone for doing something illegal, the riders just keep riding. When they say, "make cyclists more responsible", they mean, "make cyclists more identifiable".

Of course, all that's going to happen is the scofflaw types will bend/obscure their plates, like all the bikers do now.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As a cyclist I would love to ride on the road rather than the sidewalk, but with no bike lanes it's pretty difficult. But the idea of bike lanes also seems impossible, the roads are already narrow enough and it would also require people to stop parking on the side of the road anywhere and everywhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To all those people proposing more sidewalks and bicycle lanes. Do you actually live in Japan? Are you at all familiar with town/city streets?? There is not enough space on most streets to even consider this a realistic proposition.

By enforcing the current laws with stricter punishments, more people would follow them.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"The group, consisting of experts in the fields of traffic safety and education, said that requiring bicycles to have number plates would make cyclists more responsible and reduce the number of abandoned bikes, Sankei Shimbun reported."

BS. It would just generate a major cash grab for some vested interest of the government. Work on enforcing CURRENT laws and educating the public as to what they are. THEN talk about making new requirements. How on earth would having a license plate on a bike increase safety for people who don't know, or who DO know but flagrantly violate, the laws?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the cycling nightmare continues, chapter 1001 - licence plates. I have bigger issues at the moment with growing weeds as the weather warms up, the already narrow roads are getting even a narrower out in the burbs as the monstrous weeds grow like something out of the movie Jumanji, encroaching on the narrow space I ride my bike. Thankfully I don't like in Tokyo city, but encouraging bicycles and discouraging private cars should be a priority! Delivery vehicles, police cars, taxis, buses should be the only vehicles in the city centre unless they do like singapore and have an ETC ring around the centre city that charges you drive in there. The public transport system is sufficient that you don't need private cars in the city center.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"The group, consisting of experts in the fields of traffic safety and education,..."

Obviously they're doing a horrible job. I know more about bicycle safety laws than ANY Japanese I've ever spoken to on the subject, including a police officer. As for the number plates, most bicycles are (or should be) registered when purchased, and there is usually a sticker put on the bike with a number for that purpose -- which essentially serves all the functions these 'experts' are talking about, minus the obvious money grab, of course. I'm guessing it'll cost money to buy and register a plate? or will the government be so kind as to give them out for free?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

spudman wrote

Better to make most streets one way with no parking zones

But then retailers couldn't use the streets as their de facto customer parking.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Riding my mama-chari home from the school today, I was scorned by pedestrians when I was forced onto sidewalks, and honked at by cars when on the roadway. There is basically no home for bicycles, which are the most economical and efficient means of transportation available. The authorities are trying to make more rules for bikes, but first they should make space for them. They are in the gray zone, and need be recognized first as legitimate forms of transportation. Japan calls for eco-eco-eco, but tries to make life difficult for us who are trying to practice good ecology.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The other problem is that most pedestrians know cycling rules much less than cyclists do, so you're going to get complaints from pedestrians who don't have a clue what they're talking about.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Licence plates for bikes!

There is a saying we use in the UK "On yer Bike"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

there is usually a sticker put on the bike with a number for that purpose -- which essentially serves all the functions these 'experts' are talking about, minus the obvious money grab,

The registration involving the sticker is voluntary and costs 500 yen, including tax. The problem with stickers is that they can be quite quickly and easily removed. However, if they required stickers on all bicycles, it might be less likely that removing them would be seen as a solution to avoid being caught riding a stolen bike.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Last I heard, pavement riding is illegal (unless indicated) and carries a 50,000yen fine as does drunk driving etc... Seems like cops need to spend less time in the Koban and more time on the streets enforcing existing laws for bikes AND cars than creating redundant rules like number plates. Plus, I think children need to have the rules of the road ingrained in them on a yearly basis at school to prevent violations and cops be given more power to punish violators.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I totally agree that bikes are in an unfair position. No bike lanes and most roads have no room for them, and no where near enough parking anywhere for them. They need to address this first...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Last I heard, pavement riding is illegal (unless indicated)

Ask six different cops about this and you'll get six different answers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Bwahahhaha This the funniest thread JT has put on in a while. The best is coming out of everyone.

I love the bit about the riding school to get a bike license.

I tell you want. I have to put a license plate on my bicycle, I'm definitely going to "Pimp my Ride"

I ride at night so I want H.I.Ds. Oh and don't forget coilovers. I'm gonna lower it. Plus Brembo brakes. I already have the navigation system on there. Oh wait. ON the back rack I'm putting a solar powered sub-woofer right there with iphone connectivity. One more thing. I better be able to ride tandem and I want an ETC system.

My silly point is this. A bike is not a car. You never never want a bureaucratic system like this in your home country.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nessie: " The authorities are trying to make more rules for bikes, but first they should make space for them. "

This is a serious problem that we all know about (if we live in Japan), and it's not just for bicycles but many roads have no room for pedestrians. In my town there is a street near a major university that is so congested and used by flatbed trucks when it's basically a one-lane street that the university has hired people to hold signs all day asking students to walk in single file down the road. That road, where people have to walk thanks to the trucks and cars, has utility poles square in the middle of walking path. Last year I measured a few of the spaces people have to walk in without crossing the white line into traffic and at one point I got 14 cms, and it was a rain gutter to boot!

Now, add to that bicycle traffic. The problem is that when the great trade wars blossomed between the US and Japan for dominance over the automobile industry (and Japanese cars are FAR better!), the laws of pedestrians and cyclists were put in the back seat, and then later the trunk... and now seem to be dragged under the car. In a survey conducted among police last year nearly 70% didn't know most bicycle laws, so how on earth can they hope to enforce them? They know the basics -- no doubling, must have a light at night -- but they don't know anything else, including the most recent laws of no riding on any sidewalk under three meters wide. This license plate system will do NOTHING to improve the situation if, as you and others, and I, have pointed out, the current laws are not enforced to begin with.

I read the stats a while back and it was something like 2000+ MAJOR accidents reported involving bicycles and pedestrians on sidewalks, and you have to figure most minor ones are NOT reported. And of course we all know about the obasan on mama-chari crossing read lights with two kids in tow who think convenience trumps safety. There needs to be a MAJOR revolution regarding bike laws and enforcement, and a one-week 'safety week' and a few voluntary seminars and silly number plate requirements aren't going to chance squat.

7 ( +7 / -1 )

Why worry? This is Japan, and this is a study group coming up with recommendations. In a decade or two when they've come up with a few recommendations at the cost of millions of yen, they'll have to form a committee to further discuss the issue. Once the committee comes up with a few ideas based on the initial recommendations (several years later of course), they'll have to pass it to sub-committees to further discuss individual points of each idea. By the time it even comes to being a law we'll all be dead of old age and our descendants will be flying around in jet-packs!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

our descendants will be flying around in jet-packs

For which, people will be calling for number plates.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The reality is that if there is a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian, it is more than likely that both will live and be uninjured. If there is a collision between a cyclist and a motorized vehicle, cyclist would probably die or sustain serious injuries while driver of the vehicle would be screwed for the rest of his life. Now what is the reason that police wanted all cyclist on the road again? What is the logic in than?

1 ( +3 / -3 )

Smithinjapan, you've mis-attributed the quote to me. That was Mitoguitarman.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The one and only time I had anything to do with the Jap Bill was riding home late one night, after a few Asahis, on a bike I had picked up about a month earlier. Said bike had been lying in a vacant block for several weeks prior and had grass growing all over it and was clearly old and abandoned. So I put it back to work. The Bill, ever erstwhile to crack down on the theiving foreign horde, pulled me over. No English V basic Japanese meant we were getting nowhere and I was starting to imagine myself detained then deported. It wasn't looking good. Bike had no registration and they clearly thought I had nicked it, which I guess I had. Then, an African guy stopped his car out of the blue and asked what was going on. I explained, and he said "Leave it to me". He spoke to the Bill for a few minutes, they eyed me, I looked as innocent as a lamb, and eventually he said to me "They want you to put the bike in their car and they will take you home. I strongly advise you NOT to do this - you don't have to go with them and it's not a good idea to get into their car." So I said "Thanks for the offer, but I'll ride" The Bill drove off, and the African guy and I chatted - he told me he had endured years of harrassment by Japanese Police and knew his rights and the law in Japan very well and was always looking to help other foreigners where possible. Great bloke, who absolutely saved my butt.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bikes on pavements are really annoying.

The quieter streets in Tokyo either have narrow pavements, or none at all, so you have bikes coming at you from both directions. As pedestrians you think you would be safe from wheels... sadly no.

Add more bike lanes - you have wheeled transport? Ride on the road. Pedestrians shouldn't have to give way to bikes on the pavement.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

a friend of mine was knocked to the ground by a bicycle and broke her elbow. the guy on the bike never stopped and was never found. bikes as vehicles are required to stop for pedestrians. typically, they never do. that's why they need to get them off the sidewalks. as for riding in the street, you know the risks you take your chances.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A study group came up with this BS? How about the police do their jobs?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is funny! Where else in the world would "bicycles" come under scrutiny. Forget N-disasters, falling birth rates, suicide rates, economic doom, food chain problems, political shambles ...licence plates for bikes? This is urgent? Really get real face facts not little things.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Nessie: Oops! Sorry!

Ronald: "By the time it even comes to being a law we'll all be dead of old age and our descendants will be flying around in jet-packs!"

They're always be obachan ignoring the laws, jet-packs or mama-charis. There's a reason the latter have the name they do, by the way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have to say that only in Japan would this ludicrous proposal even warrant serious debate.

One of my favorite Tokyo photos is one I took of an Obasan driving a bike down that road from where Almondo used to be towards azabu. Dressed to the nines with an umbrella up. Classic. So we add number plates. What will happen?

First of all they will be made and sold at around Y5000 a set. Then there will be "options" such as personalised plates or those with a Hello Kitty emblem on them. This will be followed by the above mentioned obasan tut tutting at the plates young girls have today and making numerous calls to the police - complete with plate number - of anyone who they feel has not matched their considered degree of riding skills. The police will make tracking down these miscreants their top priority and will write their reports in triplicate. New schools will open teaching you how to ride bikes correctly. AKB48 will do a series of commercials on the do's and dont's of bike riding. Then some old fart in Diet will propose that all bike riders will have to wear helmets. This will be debated for about 12 years until someone announces that wearing a helmet increases erections in over 70's and then it will become law within two weeks. Then there will be a "cool bizon bikes" campaign for politicians.

Need I go on? this is the most stupid idea.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I have to say that only in Japan would this ludicrous proposal even warrant serious debate.

Actually this has been debated for some time in many nations. In my home country it has been debated to death for years and l just wish they would actually instigate it. Why as a road user should a car be forced to wear number plates for recognition purposes, when cyclists who also use these roads not have the same type of recognition devices as well.

It seems that vehicle drivers are held responsible for their actions on the roads but one group (cyclists) are not. Not only do motorists have to pay numerous fees for the right to use a road but on the other hand cyclists get to use the same road without any sort of fee's or risk of penalty for doing the wrong thing because they wear no recognition devices.

What is the harm in having number plates on bicycles? Are cyclists really that scared of a bit of accountability for their actions?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Two comments;

One, Good luck with that.

Two, I have a crazy idea that as insane as it may sound, it may actually even save people's lives. Teach some common sense to people around here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

smithinjapan

Nessie: Oops! Sorry!

No worries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not only do motorists have to pay numerous fees for the right to use a road but on the other hand cyclists get to use the same road without any sort of fee's or risk of penalty for doing the wrong thing because they wear no recognition devices.

Cyclists pay muncipal and prefectural taxes for road construction and maintanance. Also, we're often also motorists.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bike lanes sounds like a really good solution for cyclists. I myself would love to see more bike lanes as I'm always on my road bike. But they could also be a big failure.

The other day I was on the road and found a bike lane. If ride your bicycle on the road you could imagine how excited I was when I found that bike lane. Well, that excitement didn't last long because it was over two blocks later. Then two blocks after was another "bike lane"... for a block, just to merge into the sidewalk again. It was like the city decided to color the space left between the car's lane and the sidewalk in blue and call it "bike lanes". Total fail.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nessie

Cyclists pay muncipal and prefectural taxes for road construction and maintanance. Also, we're often also motorists.

Then as a motorist you will know that you pay much more than just municipal and prefectural taxes to use roads. Yet cyclists do not. And as l said in my post, motorists through their number plates are responsible for their every action on the road as they can be easily identified. Yet cyclists are not and cannot be held accountable for theirs due to a lack of a recognition feature.

So why should one road user be held to a much higher expectation and standard and pay more to use the same item as someone who has no fee's, no identifying feature and can do as they wish because they cannot be traced.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Too many fools here in Tokyo and it is very dangerous trying to walk around with all of these idiots that THINK that red lights?? Stop signs etc..do not apply to them?? Say like in front of my child's kindergarten where idiot university students fly through the red lights when little children are trying to cross the street with their parents and almost not only hit the small children but also babies in their baby strollers etc...so sorry I know all the idiots here will give me thumbs down for saying the truth, but TOKYO needs these harsher laws and they need to BE ENFORCED!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cletus- the harm is that it will dissuade people from cycling. Why should non-drivers subsidize (and we do) roads built almost exclusively for the use of cars?

For example, the cost of road maintainance and construction runs to $75 million per 3 miles of urban interstate in California. Do you think tolls cover that? OTOH 1,250 miles of bike lanes could have been built for the same amount. Bike lanes cost only from $5000 to 60,000 per mile.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Another problem is, a lot of people just don't pay attention to how they ride their bikes. Sorry, but smoking, talking on the phone, old ladies on their bikes and tricycles riding in the middle of the road, you are just waiting for something bad to happen. Basically, many accidents could be avoided if many people just pay attention, stop being selfish on the roads, I think the accident rate would plummet quite significantly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Probably half the study involved at the police academy involves bicycles. Now it's probably going to be most of the course.

Another thing for all the TV shows to fuss over while Japan sinks lower and lower.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SimonB: " New schools will open teaching you how to ride bikes correctly. AKB48 will do a series of commercials on the do's and dont's of bike riding."

You forgot to mention they'll be doing so in lingerie and having pillow fights as they ride!

Cletus: "What is the harm in having number plates on bicycles?"

Better yet, what's the benefit? As I have already mentioned, it's a fact that most if not all bicycles have registration numbers on a sticker on them, so what benefit is an easy-to-remove plate going to provide than other people fodder for reporting perceived crimes, or for police to do less than they already do at present? I'm telling you, all this is is a money grab. People would be required to pay for the plates and registration, and likely a renewal fee, which would net local governments even more money than they steal from you now. That's the sole purpose of this proposition. Anything else -- holding people accountable for bike laws, etc., can easily be done with the current laws in place.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"...AKB48 will do a series of commercials on the do's and dont's of bike riding."

I can see it now -- the new hit single, "Jitensha ni Let's Ride Happy Time, Faitooooohhh!"

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Smith, no issues with plates on bikes, unless of course:

1) Motorists entirely ignore the law and more or less run over bikers in their lane (which they do) 2) They apply penalties for avoiding potholes , sewer drains, parked vehicles turning cars, etc (which they will) 3) Try to enforce minimum/maximum speed limits (which you can't measure on a bike) 4) Charge you road tolls (considering bikes weigh so little there is no affect)

I entirely agree, there's no real point, especially when they already have all these laws on the books. They simply want to be able to use camera systems to mail you tickets, as well as registration fees (on top of the ones you already pay)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A fantastic idea.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Ok, let'shear all the suggestions for vanity plates for bikes.......like PDL AZZ.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why as a road user should a car be forced to wear number plates for recognition purposes, when cyclists who also use these roads not have the same type of recognition devices as well.

Because really, bikes don't have the power to kill or main people like cars, motorbikes and trucks do.

No way in HELL would I put a plate on my road bike. I have it registered, have a huge lock and keep it just outside my door. I follow the road rules. Not my fault most others don't.

I have an idea, how about the cops get out there an enforce road safety? How abotu parents teach their kids about bike safety? How abotu school teach students about bike safety? How about fines for bikers, let alone drivers instead of ignoring the issues and coming up with more stupid rules that are nothing but money making schemes? I end up screaming at bikers, pedestrians and drives every day I bike to work. Why? They ignore the laws and rules that our their to protect us. Putting a little plate on my bike isn't going to save me nor others. It hasn't worked for cars so why do these people think it would work for bikes??

Oh, and there IS insurance for bikers. I don't have it but know a few friends who do - in case of bike theft.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yet one more taxation scam, and govt. control on an a robot population....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Number plates are for vehicles with engines, not bicycles. Every country in the world agrees with that. If Japan wants safer roads for cyclists, they need to realize that only dedicated cycling lanes will achieve that. Imagine all the extra bureaucracy that will be necessary when purchasing a bicycle. Oh, it's a scheme for the central government to make more tax money off of its citizens. Now I get it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

tmarie

"Why as a road user should a car be forced to wear number plates for recognition purposes, when cyclists who also use these roads not have the same type of recognition devices as well." Because really, bikes don't have the power to kill or main people like cars, motorbikes and trucks do.

tmarie, l can understand your point however in my home city every year cyclist injure 278 people (thats not even counting the injuries to the cyclists). And cyclist do not have to pay one cent unlike here in Japan. They do not need to register their bikes (and on a serious note do you have to here in Japan. I have been riding here for nearly two years without this. So on a serious note is it a legal requirement here?). Yet every year they manage to injure hundreds and cause untold amounts of damage to cars that the driver then has to foot the bill for.

No way in HELL would I put a plate on my road bike. I have it registered, have a huge lock and keep it just outside my door. I follow the road rules. Not my fault most others don't.

Thats a lame argument though. I keep my car locked and follow the road rules to so why should l register my car or wear a number plate?

I have an idea, how about the cops get out there an enforce road safety? How abotu parents teach their kids about bike safety? How abotu school teach students about bike safety? How about fines for bikers, let alone drivers instead of ignoring the issues and coming up with more stupid rules that are nothing but money making schemes?

I completely agree with this. As l have said time and time again. Road safety is not just the responsibility of drivers but rather each and every single person on the road whether in a car, truck, bike, or walking. And until each person takes responsibility for their own actions and stops blaming only the driver then we can really tackle the issues that all road users experience

Putting a little plate on my bike isn't going to save me nor others. It hasn't worked for cars so why do these people think it would work for bikes??

I can understand your sentiments, but something is better than nothing and obviously the status quo is not working either here in Japan or in my home country. And the last thing we want is incidents like have happened in my home country where bike riders actions have led to motorists getting that upset road rage incidents result.

Oh, and there IS insurance for bikers. I don't have it but know a few friends who do - in case of bike theft.

Is it compulsory like car insurance. Will it pay for repairs to my car when some klutz on a bike takes my mirror off or scraps the side of my car or runs into the back of me? I couldnt care less if you bike gets stolen l care that you are going to pay for damages to my car when it gets hit by a cyclist breaking the law or not paying attention to where they are going.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This is not going to happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unreal - licence plates for bicycles !, I am the manager of a bicycle shop here in Japan and every new bicycle that is sold has it's own security sticker which the police get a copy of in case your bicycle is stolen. As for accidents when you have cyclists of all ages riding on narrow footpaths with pedestrians you are bound to have accidents. Back in NZ you are stopped by the police for not wearing a helmet, no lights and riding on the footpath !. If the J Cops would enforce some of the rules they have in this country for cyclists who happen to be breaking the law, whatever that may be. People might take notice if they had to pay a large fine instead of a friendly warning . The dumping of cheap Mama Chari's in this country is appalling and because those bicycles are so cheap to buy people don't seem to care if they are dumped at the local train station or tossed away because the chain fell off because they have never bothered to oil it etc. As for cycle lanes they need to be everywhere to allow cyclists to ride safely , cut a car lane off and divide it into two on both sides of the road . There are far too many roads that have too many lanes for cars so surely one of those lanes could be turned into a cycle lane. The points above are needed to fix the problems addressed in the article not licence plates !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

On the spot 2000 yen fine for using phone/ holding umbrella/walking the dog/reading manga etc etc etc while cycling. 5000 yen later at koban if you don't have the dosh on you.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

plates for bikes WTF! just another money grabing idea thought of by bureaucrats, what next yearly permits to walk on the footpaths.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cletus: "Is it compulsory like car insurance. Will it pay for repairs to my car when some klutz on a bike takes my mirror off or scraps the side of my car or runs into the back of me? I couldnt care less if you bike gets stolen l care that you are going to pay for damages to my car when it gets hit by a cyclist breaking the law or not paying attention to where they are going."

How is any of that going to change with a number plate on a bicycle? You have been talking about how unfair it is for car drivers when a bicycle runs into them, but forgetting for the moment it is usually the other way around, let's talk about the issue at hand -- bicycles being forced to don number plates. So if a cyclist with a plate crashes into you you're going to pay less?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Cletus, you're now confusing insurance and plates. If the government made it mandatory to have bike insurance, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

Of those 278 injured, how many were the cyclist's fault vs the driver of a car or a pedestrian? How many deaths compared to cars? If you want to start with numbers on bikes, why not numbers on people? I personally have never been at fault for an accident on a bike because I am defensive in biking but lord knows I have had more than a few close calls because of pedestrians and drivers - not to mention idiot bikes who come at me going the wrong way and expect ME to move into the traffic. No freaken way. What exactly is this damage you're talking about? To cars? If a car hits a biker, it usually is the car's fault. Be it hitting someone from behind or the side. The damage to a car is minimal compared to the damage of the biker. Are you talking about bikers who come up the side of car and scrap them? That isn't to say bikers are never at fault, in this country, many certainly are. But until the laws and rules here are crystal clear and people are fines, stopped, educated, people will continue to bike without night lights, on the wrong side of the street, on the sidewalk (and really, if they want them off the sidewalks, where are the bike lanes and where is the education for drivers of bikes and cars??)

Road fees? For what? Bikes don't damage roads and if the government wants me to pay a road tax for my bike, they better make some bike lanes and pave the roads a hell of a lot better. Potholes are dangerous for cars but deadly for bikers. Hit one the wrong way and you're off your bike and in the traffic. If they want money for my light bike that doesn't damage the roads, they better start charging car/trucks per weight (like highways) and I'll pay - but will demand better road conditions.

From my understanding bikes must be registered when bought. I have always had to pay a small fee for it - and am irked at it because none of my stolen bikes have ever been returned. Whatever. Which is why I now have a huge lock and drag my bike up and down three flights of stairs daily.

Insurance isn't mandatory but yes, does cover the claims you're suggesting. Have you ever had a bike cause a problem for your car? I haven't and don't think I know anyone who has. I do however, know more than a few people that have been hit by cars.

My point it that slapping numbers onto bikes isn't going to change anything and that this is just a money making scam.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And the last thing we want is incidents like have happened in my home country where bike riders actions have led to motorists getting that upset road rage incidents result.

You do realise that this is a result of people not willing to share the road, right? Those damn bikers in the way... Road rage. No different than folks who suffer it when stuck in traffic. Perhaps those people just shouldn't be allowed to drive if they can't control their emotions whole in traffic or stuck behind a bike for a few minutes due to on coming traffic? Or better yet, give bikers a safe place to bike so they don't have to fight with the traffic. The fumes are bad enough!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I have a couple of ideas to improve the situation: 1) Outlaw the sale of cheap, sharty bikes. People rarely abandon their cars. If bikes cost more, no one would abandon them either, unless of course they were stolen, but few abandoned bikes would free up the resources for the able-bodied police to track down the proper owner. 2) To hell with drivers, create bike lanes on major streets. Ensure that police ENFORCE these new cycling paradises. 3) Make it legal for pedestrians to defend themselves against cyclists if they even come close to them on the sidewalks. I don't care how tough you think you are, after a few belts to the face or crowbars to the spokes, you will learn to stop riding on the sidewalk. Boom, problems solved. They didn't even need to pay me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's obviously all about the "Yenjamins".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

3) Make it legal for pedestrians to defend themselves against cyclists if they even come close to them on the sidewalks. I don't care how tough you think you are, after a few belts to the face or crowbars to the spokes, you will learn to stop riding on the sidewalk. Boom, problems solved.

Does this work the other way around? Say those idiots who stop and decide to check their phone for a message during green walking/biking lights and I'm in the "bike" crossing section? The idiots that run out in front of me while I have the right of way on my bike? If yes, bring it on. A few less idiot bikers and pedestrians sounds great to me! Can we do the same to the drivers as well??

Which brings up an issue... If bikes aren't supposed to be on the sidewalk, why are there little patches that state bikes are okay? Why the section on the crosswalk for them? The government needs to sort it self out with regards to rules and where they want people on bikes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

there's no many cyclists that just don't pay attention to what there doing, the amount of times i've been "clipped" by someone on a bike texting on their phone is beyond a joke - and it's never their fault...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's obviously all about the "Yenjamins".

LOL!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tmarie, thats why I always carry a brolly with a nice, shiny, pointy spike. Sometimes I feel like the fourth musketeer swashbuckling my way through a tsunami of myopic kamikaze cyclists. Great fun.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MeanRingo: "3) Make it legal for pedestrians to defend themselves against cyclists if they even come close to them on the sidewalks. I don't care how tough you think you are, after a few belts to the face or crowbars to the spokes, you will learn to stop riding on the sidewalk. Boom, problems solved. They didn't even need to pay me."

Man, I am SO with you on this one! This evening I saw this old dude pull out of a grocery store parking lot on a bike, riding on the sidewalk, and he hit a little girl with his bike (not seriously enough to warrant him stopping), then rolled on to hit the outdoor sign for a Chinese restaurant before deciding he ought to get off his bike and check his groceries. Little girl was fine, fortunately. I don't know what happened with the Chinese restaurant sign, though it seemed to suffer little or not damage at the time. My guess is the old codger got back on the bike but a wee bit later and weave and wobble down the one meter wide sidewalk but a few moments later. At the speed the oyaji was going he could have FAR more easily walked, but intelligence has never been the strong point when it comes to laws and convenience here in my experience.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Then as a motorist you will know that you pay much more than just municipal and prefectural taxes to use roads. Yet cyclists do not

What do they pay? Don't go to expressways? I don't often ride my bike on the expressway. I do often see cars parked in the middle of the highway.

Finally, heavy vehicles pay more because they destroy roads. Bicycles incur no road structural maintanance costs. This is why trucks are charged by the axle on expressways.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Finally, heavy vehicles pay more because they destroy roads. Bicycles incur no road structural maintanance costs. This is why trucks are charged by the axle on expressways.

Nessie, I was just about to post this. Wear on the roads is proportional to the fourth power of the weight of the vehicle, which is why there are pedestrian bridges from ancient Roman times still in use whereas automobile-oriented roads need to be repaved every few years. Pedestrians and cyclists will never, ever wear out a road that's built to automobile standards and is maintained at public expense.

Yet even people who are forbidden from driving cars (who have bad eyesight, say) must pay taxes to maintain an entire infrastructure that they can never use. They run the risk of being injured or killed by automobiles with no possibility of killing someone else. They have to breathe in the disgusting pollution emitted by cars at no benefit to themselves (and clean layers of black soot off their bicycle wheels). They can never have a job that requires an automobile to access. They have to subsidize the free parking that many workplaces and business offer to drivers. I could go on, but I'll stop here.

And now the cops want to make things even harder for the poor beleaguered cyclists? Give me a break.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All right, who's uncle owns the company that would make the number plates. Plus, given the rotten drivers in cars would licenses really improve the quality of riding?

I'm with Thon, this is just going to add an expense and solve nothing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Does this mean that every child with a bicycle have to get a licence? Will there be a special licence for tricyclists and cyclists on training wheels?

If we're going to head into the waters of insanity, lets not test the waters first. Jump right in!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I bought a second-hand mama-chari a few years ago. It got stolen at the grocery store and 10 months later the cops called me to say that they found my bike 4 stops away (inaka stops)...A good day's ride. I was ticked-off more than anything - what the hell are the cops doing chasing down my 2nd hand bike 10 months after the fact? Go do something useful or cut my taxes! If some guy needed my bike to get him halfway across the prefecture, let him keep it.

Now they want to improve the system? It's working much better than it needs to as it is.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lot of laws and regulations in this country, means to keep you protected from you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

there's no many cyclists that just don't pay attention to what there doing, the amount of times i've been "clipped" by someone on a bike texting on their phone is beyond a joke - and it's never their fault...

Yes, unlike all those people walking around paying attention, right? You can't just blame the bikers for this. Any idea how many pedestrians do the same thing? Again, why not numbers for them? How about just some basic common sense and safety measures? Is that really so difficult? It seems so here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

lol i wouldnt be suprised if they started making you pay for insurance on the bycicles next

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Like Cletus says, there's been talk about introducing the in Australia. Be because, shock and horror, the cyclists here are just as bad if not worse as in Japan.

As for the road bike whiners, you could attach a number plate to the frame edge on where the wind resistance will be almost none. As though you guys ride as fast as you think you do anyway...

From a road bike rider who knows it's the "engine", not the bike.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

ReformedBasher

Like Cletus says, there's been talk about introducing the in Australia. Be because, shock and horror, the cyclists here are just as bad if not worse as in Japan.

And the worst ones in Australia are the ones who think they are Lance Armstrong in their ugly little lycra suits racing down the roads blocking traffic and thinking they own the roads.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

wackness, I don't know if you're serious, but they aren't really looking for your bike. They just look up the registration mark on the bicycle they found or questioned someone on the streets for. They have it in the system so it's fairly easy to find the owner.

My stolen bike was found 2 years later on the other side of Tokyo. By then the bike the store gave me (since I had insurance) was pretty battered up, so I exchanged it for the found one. It was like brand new!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Cletus

Actually I used to wear lycra :-)

But I would ride for hours every day. And in the country (at least, as much as possible).

But I know the type you mean. Some of them have really bad attitudes on shared paths too. When they whizz past old people and kids, I get really annoyed.

Genuine sports cyclists should be nowhere near heavy traffic or pedestrians (unless it can't be helped). It might be a pain, but train somewhere sensible. And always respect others. They have as much right to the roads as you do. On footpaths/sidewalks, slow down and always give way to pedestrians. Simple and stress free.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

racing down the roads blocking traffic and thinking they own the roads.

Right, because cars own the roads, right? Which is the problem people have who bike. pedestrians own the sidewalks, cars own the roads, where are the bikers supposed to go??

And I try my hardest to stay on back roads away from traffic but in this country? Next to impossible. Perhaps if they gave bikers some place to train?? Or say, bike paths?? Thing is, I doubt even the bike paths would work - how many people would park in them??

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tmarie

"racing down the roads blocking traffic and thinking they own the roads." Right, because cars own the roads, right? Which is the problem people have who bike. pedestrians own the sidewalks, cars own the roads, where are the bikers supposed to go??

Tmarie, l am referring to a problem in my country where of a weekend you get packs of wannabe bike riders who ride along in a pack racing on city streets and country roads with no thoughts for other road users. They ride up to 4 abreast or in a big pack sometimes even spilling into opposing lanes. This is what l was referring to not you everyday bike rider who uses their bike to get from point a to point b.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

But you raise a point, where are those packs supposed to go? Those folks that ride like that are idiots, I am not going to excuse that but even if they biked in single file, I think people would be ticked off that they are even on the road. I bike alone here and I have lost count of how many drivers have tried to force me off the road. Me, alone, on the white line or to the left of it. No one wants to share the road nor the sidewalk but where are bikers supposed to go? With all this "eco" push, you'd think countries, and particularly Japan with the number of people on bikes, would come up with some bike lines. I live in the "car" city in Japan and there are ZERO bike lands. Wide streets that could easily be changed to allow for a bike lane but nope, nothing.

And you might dislike the dumb bikers but I promise you, I dislike them more because I get tarred and feathered because of them! Booooo!

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tmarie

And you might dislike the dumb bikers but I promise you, I dislike them more because I get tarred and feathered because of them! Booooo!

While we have a difference of opinion on this l can completely see where you are coming from with this point. Its the same old story a minority group give everyone a bad name.

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A study group formed by the Tokyo metropolitan government to come up with measures to lower the number of accidents involving cyclists, as well as improve cycling etiquette, is recommending that bicycles have number plates.

I agree with those who say that all this is just a money-making scheme! If they were really concerned about safety, instead of random bike checking, they need to pull over riders without helmets - both kids and adults. If they see bikes on the wrong side of the road, then ticket them. People on bikes here seems to think they can ride wherever they want to. All it takes is for the police to enforce safety and proper riding to lower the number of accidents involving cyclists. And by enforcing it, it will also improve cycling etiquette.

I mean, seriously, how is having a number plate going to lower accidents? It's still a bicycle! It will only make it easier for cops to find stolen bikes but that's about it. Nothing else.

Overall, I think it's just a money-making scheme for the cops. If they would do their damn job and enforce rules and regulations, this many accidents will not occur.

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"...and to eventually introduce more dedicated cycling lanes on busy streets." We need them now! I ride on the sidewalk because the road isn't safe. I've never collided with a pedestrian (although once a Japanese cyclist collided with me in a shopping street.) And don't forget that cars are dirty, expensive, planet polluting inventions, while bicycles are not.

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So they'll make a huge database of bike plates tied to owners now? Who's gonna maintain it and keep everything up to date and available to police officers?

What stops people from changing plates? Are they gonna tie the plates to the description of the bike? What if bikers want to heavily modify their bikes thereby drastically changing its appearance? Are they gonna tie the plates to the VIN of the bikes? Where are they gonna put the VIN? What if bikers want to eventually replace all the parts with all-new custom parts from time to time?

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1 ( +1 / -0 )

So what the hell did I pay 500 yen for when I bought my bike and they asked for all that info and stuck a yellow sticker to the bike frame? Sounds like another Japanese "make work" programme. Waste of time and money because the dolts (keystones) should already be doing their job and aren't.

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BIkes do not belong on sidewalks. Period. Its not sideride, its sidewalk. If you timid riders cannot handle riding on the streets, walk on the sidewalk. Take a cab. No excuses.

Licensing bikes in this country is a good idea. It would create a more responsible biking community. BIkes are a major form of transportation here and it needs to be regulated, just like cars or trains or motorcycles.

And yes, people are killed by bike riders. Happens all too often. People do need to be protected from bikers and bikers need to protected from their own stupidity and selfishness. Doubt that? Look to a smoker and then stifle yourself. Of course there are those that smoke while riding, pure idiots.

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Calls made for bicycles to have number plates

The National Police Agency is planning to toughen rules for sidewalk cyclists in order to cut back on the number of accidents involving bicycles colliding with pedestrians.

And I'm sure that's the biggest problem today, people getting run-over and killed by bicycles, never mind the drunk driver's, or the Yakuza shaking down down businesses for money, let's concentrate on the low-hanging fruit.

And you're going to shut down all of your reactors...?

Ok, we'll let's just go ahead and make it illegal for people to use solar panels, wind-turbines or any other devises that generate electricity and don't require fossil fuels... Let's make it harder for people to do the right thing, health and environmental - wise.

With this kind of thinking, I really have to wonder, not only, what planet are they from, but are they really members of the human species..? These people are out of their minds...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Probably a better idea would be to have "Bicycling Schools", just like we have "Driving Schools". These would have driving instructors going around in cars, maybe some pedestrians walking along narrow pavements, sets of traffic lights, "Stop signs" and pedestrian crossings, while other instructors teach cyclists the "rules of the road".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Again, just a ridiculous idea written with greed on the mind.

Forcing bikes on the road is fine if you have bike paths. Where bike paths are not present they have the right to mount the sidewalk especially if posted.

Lets do some math. All estimated of course.

Cost of plates - 5000yen Bike Tax - 20,000yen per year Registration Fee - 3000yen Insurance - 16,000yen per year (Full Coverage) Safety Gear - 15,000 *Required by law Station Garage - 4000 Monthly - This number increased because now the bikes have plates and are more susceptible to ticketing.

Okay lets add these initial figures up = 59,000 YEN That's more than the cost of the bike.

Now a good bike....durable...let's say a Giant will hold up quite well for 10 years or more with proper care. But for now lets say 10 years...NOT including maintenance. 510,000yen over 10 years.

In all your hatred of bikers do you realize what you are about to sacrifice? A working class father wants to give his son a bike for his 7th birthday. They look at the costs and say "Honey, don't think we can afford to keep 2 or 3 bikes". Furthermore the mother is nervous cause some bureaucrat has forced bikes on the street. Mom doesn't want her son riding his bike in the street knowing how people drive in this country.

It's a mental image you are about to sacrifice over greed and bureaucracy. It's an image of a father running alongside his son with his left hand behind the seat of the bike encouraging his pedal faster and look forward. The father removes his hand as he sees his child gain balance............beautiful image of life right? Oops....I forgot the backdrop......They're on a residential street cause bikes aren't allowed in the park and out of no where comes a Takkyu-bin truck on a tight schedule. The kid is just getting up speed and he's smiling cause he's accomplishing something and his father is proud and......boom Bureaucracy, topped by poor infrastructure and city design lead to the death of kid cause bureaucracy was more concerned about making money than expanding sidewalks to include bike paths.

NO PEOPLE. If this ridiculous idea passes bike sales are going down. Your trains and buses that are already overcrowded plus the air that is already smoggy...everything is about to get worse.

I feel sorry for your nation. Money and bureaucracy will take away every single thing that is meaningful in life.

Only the rich will be able to enjoy such things. Living near the beach, they can ride their bikes on the beach bike paths.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Teach the morons in cars what the traffic light changing to red means. Teach them what the thick white line and sign saying "とまれ" means. Get the cops to actually do something about people who ignore those rules. Then talk to me about getting license plates on bicycles (I still won't agree, but we're talking priorities here!)

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