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American cyclist dies in expressway accident in Yokohama

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The accident took place at around 3:15 a.m. near a junction on the Metropolitan Expressway, according to the police

At dawn, that poor car driver just won't expect there will be any bicycle inside expressway. From other news that happpened inside JCT Kinko that near to Yokohama Station.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/shutoken-news/20230925/1000097532.html

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

When in Japan, do as the Japanese: Don’t cycle on expressways at 3:15 a.m.

19 ( +28 / -9 )

These bike are racing bikes. Design to race on closed roads. Key word closed. They are built for aerodynamics placing the rider in a position making visibility of traffic around the rider difficult and slower to respond. Couple this with skinny tires meant for racing super lightweight frame Which flex under sudden load ( like emergency braking ). Just too many variables and accidents will occur. Only commuter bikes should allow. Like you are allow drive a passenger car on the public road but not your race car. The same should bike for bikes.

5 ( +17 / -12 )

The same should apply to bikes

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Asiaman7Today  07:14 am JST

When in Japan, do as the Japanese: Don’t cycle on expressways at 3:15 a.m.

And also ride the wrong way down the road, using only one hand to steer, while talking on your cellphone with no helmet or lights, if you really want to fit in with the locals.

-3 ( +25 / -28 )

An avoidable accident, bicycles are not for busy highways..

5 ( +8 / -3 )

 "The bicycle appeared, and I couldn't stop in time."

This happens to me almost every time I drive my car in Japan.

The only difference is that I have managed to stop in time.

Once the police told me that I was 50% responsible for a cyclist colliding with me, in a one way street.

The cyclist was going down the street against traffic.

I have sympathy for the driver here

8 ( +17 / -9 )

He entered the expressway by mistake?!! Would you not know when you go through the ticket booth somethings not right?

24 ( +27 / -3 )

John san...

These bike are racing bikes. Design to race on closed roads. Key word closed. They are built for aerodynamics placing the rider in a position making visibility of traffic around the rider difficult and slower to respond. Couple this with skinny tires meant for racing super lightweight frame Which flex under sudden load ( like emergency braking ). Just too many variables and accidents will occur. Only commuter bikes should allow. Like you are allow drive a passenger car on the public road but not your race car. The same should bike for bikes.

Sorry, but you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Race bikes frames flexing? LOL

The guy rode out onto the expressway at night, and got hit by a car at expressway speed.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Tragic

Yes police has to say the cyclist entered by mistake. Most entrances to Express ways are clearly and Boldly Marked in Japanese and English language( although the English is limited) Most Highways you have to take a winding road first till you reach the Gate( not all) Some you have to go up a ramp to get to the gate. Definitely you would have to realize am about to take a Expressway putting everything into consideration. It is really an unfortunate and fatal mistake. Could be absence of so much traffic at 3am in the morning could have tempted the cyclist or the mistake as the police indicated.

RIP

11 ( +11 / -0 )

John-SanToday  07:15 am JST

These bike are racing bikes. Design to race on closed roads. Key word closed. They are built for aerodynamics placing the rider in a position making visibility of traffic around the rider difficult and slower to respond. Couple this with skinny tires meant for racing super lightweight frame Which flex under sudden load ( like emergency braking ). Just too many variables and accidents will occur. Only commuter bikes should allow. Like you are allow drive a passenger car on the public road but not your race car. The same should bike for bikes.

> 4( +6 / -2 )

I get your point here, road bikes aren't the best at maneuvering in dicey situations. That is where mountain bikes shine in my opinion. I've cycled in Japan during my stay there and have even ridden my bike during winter. My experience is this, always assume you're invisible to vehicles. Always have your lights on when visibility is poor, have reflectors and always double take when changing lanes and making turns. That guy's demise is unavoidable and does happen. My take is to always ride defensively. Self-entitlement won't protect you from two tons of metal.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

If it was a road racer probably no lights.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The vehicle involved appears to be a white BMW equipped with an aftermarket wheelset. This might suggest the driver was operating his vehicle at high speed which did not allow for evasive action...

https://news.tv-asahi.co.jp/news_society/articles/000317228.html

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Very sad. I thought the driver is routinely arrested in case of a fatal accident. An alert driver cannot just say it was 3 am and I didn’t expect a bicycle on the highway. We have cases of cars breaking down, elderly with dementia walking on expressways and driving the wrong way and so on.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

He probably followed Google Maps without turning off routes with tolls first, unfortunate.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The vehicle involved appears to be a white BMW

Well there is a clue as to why the driver was not immediately arrested.

Just this week I saw a group of Caucasian cyclists in my area riding high end bikes on a long wide country road used as a bypass by the locals. Whenever I see people like this I wonder when one of them is going to end up smashed. I guess I got my answer.

A big question is how he even got on the expressway in the first place. Did he climb over a railing to get in there? And how many 80kmh signs did he see on the way?

Lots of comments I would like to make but I suspect I would get punished for them. He was American and not Russian so I have to treat this fool with some respect when he goes boom.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

MrKip: I replaced that with yield on sudden force. It rare to find a top quality racing bike not made from carbon which have a high fail rate for sudden impact of force

Toshi: I have ridden all my life. at the moment I have three. A Pump track bike. Enduro MTB And an Hard tail MTB E-Bike. I do more click on my bikes than my car. I ride on the dirt apron, bikes lanes or push when ever negotiating the black top. I never road raced. But competed DH. I know the limit visibility when riding a race bike on open roads. They are unsafe to all road users.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I did the same in Switzerland. Didn't even realise it was the expressway until someone stopped and told me.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Very tragic accident, but there is no point pointing the finger of blame at the cyclist or driver. Yes, it was avoidable but nearly all road users make mistakes and are usually more fortunate. I myself made one about 2 months ago whilst driving in the UK by turning and joining a dual carriage way the wrong way. In the UK drivers keep to the left whilst in my country they keep to the right. I joined a dual carriageway from a single roadway and at the junction just turned right.....into oncoming vehicles. Luckily for me there were none and I was able to perform a turn around and go the the right way.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Very tragic accident, but there is no point pointing the finger of blame at the cyclist or driver. 

For the purposes of preventing a reoccurrence there would be a point.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

There was no mistake, he went up to a raised platform expressway…I’m a 50+ year cyclist and was hit myself once while riding Tokyo: Game Over.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As an avid cyclist, I can tell you that it can be easy to enter an expressway in many places in this area of Japan. It almost happened to me as I was coming off taking a break at the Oiso fishing port in lower Kanagawa Prefecture. The roads leading out of the port all looked pretty much the same at the time (around 2002). I was about to head up a road thinking it would take me up to Route 1, the main road. There are three ways to go out and I had chosen the one absolutely wrong way. Luckily, my intuition kicked in and something didn't seem right so I went back down and had a look around and realized I was about to get on the Seisho Bypass. Right before you get to the port you are on Route 134, which is OK to cycle on, but if you continue going straight, the same thing happens and you'll end up on the Bypass. There are lots of signs now but there weren't any back then as far as I can remember. There are several other spots like that along that route. It's easy to comment and blame the guy, but, signs, or the lack thereof, can cause lots of trouble, and even more so if one isn't familiar with the language, terrain, etc. I've been hit more than once in my 3 decades of cycling but luckily I mostly only had cuts and bruises. RIP.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

3 o'clock in the morning on a weekday. He had just left the party...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

To correct one thing I wrote: I do remember seeing the sign (after the almost-intrusion) in Oiso but it was partially obstructed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For starters, RIP.

Some posters seem unaware, but the city expressways do not have toll gates at the exits. For cars, you pay once and its a fixed fee wherever you get off, meaning the exits are ramps with no gates and where you do not stop. It is likely this gentleman rode up a gateless exit and then proceeded the wrong way down the expressway into fast oncoming traffic. Maybe not a factor, but city expressways also tend to have exits on the right, not the left. This means the fast lane can be the opposite to a regular road or rural expressway. If going the wrong way, they strike me as even more dangerous than a regular expressway.

Expressways sometimes run above or parallel to regular roads that cyclists can use and will be told to use by a map application. There is a regular road right beside the eastward expressway past Disneyland out to Chiba, for example. This creates potential for a map application to tell a cyclist to head off in the same direction as an expressway. If the cyclist (or driver) misses a no entry sign and chooses the exit road which is open with no barrier, they will end up on the expressway going the wrong way.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

kohakuebisu & Mocheake In this Case this is the Shuto Ko. Have you guys used this Express way before?(Notoriously One of the narrowest Expressways in Japan and all Elevated. Takes real effort for a cyclist to be on this high way) I have driven on it many times.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Very sad.

I know a lot of the messengers involved in the event who would like to add their condolences to any family or friends after this unfortunate accident.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kohakuebisu Today | 01:32 pm JST

Excellent and informative posting! Thank you for that information.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This English-language NHK report contains additional information. It suggests that previous accidents involving cyclists on expressways have been caused when the cyclist mistakenly entered an expressway when following directions on their cellphone. "Police believe he entered the main lane by riding between posts of the merging lane":

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230925_28/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I believe bicycles, along with 50cc and under motorbikes, are prohibited on expressways. For obvious reasons.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

John-San...

MrKip: I replaced that with yield on sudden force. It rare to find a top quality racing bike not made from carbon which have a high fail rate for sudden impact of force

Cycle messenger racing is a cycling sub culture. They almost exclusively ride converted track bikes with steel frames. The frame material would have no relevance to this accident if it was steel, carbon or cream cheese. Traditionally these bike were "fixed" wheel and had no brakes but recently at least one brake has become the norm. 3 am, who knows if he had lights, possibly alcohol impaired and may well have been going the wrong way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

John-SanToday  07:15 am JST

These bike are racing bikes. Design to race on closed roads. Key word closed. They are built for aerodynamics placing the rider in a position making visibility of traffic around the rider difficult and slower to respond. Couple this with skinny tires meant for racing super lightweight frame Which flex under sudden load ( like emergency braking ). Just too many variables and accidents will occur. Only commuter bikes should allow. 

You do not have any knowledge about road cycling. Your comment speaks by itself

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What's a bicycle doing on an expressway anyway? I'm assuming Japan also forbids them from going on motorways?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

He entered the expressway by mistake?!! Would you not know when you go through the ticket booth somethings not right?

Not if you are an American accustomed to cars driving on the right. I have made similar mistakes riding motorcycles in places like Australia and UK. The freeway on and off ramps in the US are opposite those in Japan. He probably thought he was entering the freeway in the direction of travel but in fact headed up the off ramp where there would not be a toll booth.

My first day of liberty in Cork Ireland I went to cross a busy street. I looked to my left before stepping off the curb, no traffic, good to go. Right? Well, luckily for me a more observant shipmate grabbed my collar and yanked me back on the curb before a bus could grease me. It was really close too. And then there was the day I did exactly the same dumb thing in central London, entering a street on the wrong side because there was no traffic. It was up the street behind a red light. I had to jump the curb to avoid a head on collision.

I kind of lucky to be alive O_O

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What's a bicycle doing on an expressway anyway?

In many parts of the US it is legal for bicycles to use the shoulder of a freeway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The American thought it would be faster to take the expressway rather than regular streets which would entail waiting at stoplights when there is no traffic. If he had ignored the traffic lights he might have been stopped by the police, even if there was no traffic. Japanese pedestrians will routinely wait for the light to change in the same situation.

At 3:15 the expressway is mostly deserted so he probably thought it wouldn't be dangerous, except that he might have been stopped by the police if a motorist alerted them that there was a cyclist on the expressway.

BTW bike messengers and food delivery bikes routinely ignore traffic signals, even in Japan, and especially in the US for reasons already stated above.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

after a party that ran until 3 AM and then home on the freeway. no matter what country you’re from there’s no way that this guy wouldn’t have known that it wasn’t legal to ride a bicycle there.

3 AM after a party… I wonder if there were other forces at work here… alcoholic forces

1 ( +1 / -0 )

after a party that ran until 3 AM and then home on the freeway. no matter what country you’re from there’s no way that this guy wouldn’t have known that it wasn’t legal to ride a bicycle there.

Maybe in Japan that is true but there are bicycle friendly places in the US where bicycles can use the shoulder of an Interstate highway.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Maybe in Japan that is true but there are bicycle friendly places in the US where bicycles can use the shoulder of an Interstate highway.

highly unlikely a supposed professional cyclist would not have had that info provided to him is some way.

I reckon alcohol and subsequent bad judgment was the leading cause of death

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Desert Tortoise

In many parts of the US it is legal for bicycles to use the shoulder of a freeway.

This is Japan, not US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In many parts of the US it is legal for bicycles to use the shoulder of a freeway.

This is Japan, not US.

The original comment expressed the idea that it was crazy for someone to think they could ride a bicycle on an expressway, as if it is just not done, and that may be the case in Japan. However this dispatch riding competitor was from the US where in some places riding a bicycle on a freeway is perfectly legal.

In Europe it is illegal everywhere to make a right turn on a red light. But in the US it is legal in most states to do so, so not knowing any better I made right turns on red lights until a German told me that it isn't allowed there. Ooops.

I suspect this American got his on and off ramps confused because Japan drives on the left and in the US we drive on the right and tried to enter an expressway on the off ramp.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These bike are racing bikes. Design to race on closed roads. Key word closed. They are built for aerodynamics placing the rider in a position making visibility of traffic around the rider difficult and slower to respond. Couple this with skinny tires meant for racing super lightweight frame Which flex under sudden load ( like emergency braking ). Just too many variables and accidents will occur. Only commuter bikes should allow. 

this cyclist was here taking part in the Cycle Messenger World Championship.... these are people who ride in cities, not in race situations....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is impossible to say with the limited information provided in this story. As a cyclist, it is a sad story. To be clear, I am not asserting any opinion about that the victim in this accident.My guess, whether intentional or not, probably thought it would be safe to ride on the highway at that particular time.

What should be brought to attention is the ambiguity of the cycling laws in Japan. Most people do not know, unless otherwise marked, it is illegal to ride on sidewalks. And in fact, unless posted to the contrary, legal to ride on the road.

Bottom line, you have to be proactive in protecting yourself. Lights, both back and front of the bike. I use my front light in blinking mode during the day, and steady at night. I use the rear blinking light anytime I ride my bike. Visibility is key. (for the "fixies" fixed gear folks, yeah, you need brakes, don't be stupid)

As a suggestion, you can buy high grade reflective tape. 3 meters worth will set you back, 2500 yen. It comes in white, red, and silver. I am not talking about the thick stickers that most bike shops sell. You can find this in auto parts, and DIY type stores. You can customize the shapes, length and size to fit any nook and cranny of your bike that you see fit. It is durable, it will last the life of your bike, and you can cut pieces to fit on the your backpack. I added it to the plastic clasps, and some other areas. It will not fall off when washed. Almost invisible in the day time, but extremely visible at night when lights come in contact with the tape making it easy for vehicles to see you at great distances.

Lastly, don't be an idiot/foolish. As this accident clearly points out, you can die. It is not a game. Self entitlement is useless if you are an invalid, comatose or dead.

Cycling is a great thing and I am happy that I am passionate and able to enjoy the freedom and pleasure it brings me. Most encounters between cyclists, pedestestrians, and automobiles are brief. So, people, be smart, be courteous, these encounter are brief and most uneventful leaving us all to continue our day uninterrupted doing whatever it is we do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

why was he riding his bike on the expressway?? how did he get on.....don't u need to pass through a toll booth?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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