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Electric bikes gaining in popularity in Japan amid graying population


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Going the wrong way down one-way streets, not giving way, sudden direction changes, use of cell phones and umbrellas etc etc

All of these problems contribute to injury and death yet the the J-cops do.....nothing...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Going the wrong way down one-way streets,

If a street is marked with 自転車を除く a bicycle may ride the wrong direction down a oneway street. The sign will be a round do not enter sign with a white sign below it that says this. This Kanji means 'except bicycles'.

Scroll half way down to see the sign: http://positivo-espresso.blogspot.com/p/tokyo-road-signs-rules.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My concern is with the speed these frail riders are able to ride with no helmet. Even Mamacharis with babies in them, just cruising down the road at a shocking speed. I ride a sports bicycle, with a helmet, and am shocked when I look over and there's a grandma nose to nose with me, yet with no protection for the noggin. I think the engine on the bike was originally intended to assist on hills, which some parts of Toko have an abundance of. I don't think the intention was to allow them to travel at such speeds on the flats.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Great machines, which should not be blamed for the way some people use them. As with cars going through red lights after they've changed, some of this is due to very lax policing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Great, that’s all the elderly here need. More machines they can’t control to injure other people

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Too expensive even at a second hand store, yes definitely over-priced. Walking is still free.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Great that some Mom's can take the kiddos to school but I have to agree these bikes do come with its own danger if one is not properly versed in handling it. I'm lucky walking is still free, in my time it was a walk down to Miller's pond, just past the old hackamore tree, do a roundabout about shy quarter mile, take a left at Wishing Lake, mosey on down Chestnut Drive, take a left at the old SapnSuds, play kick-the-can down Lesters alley, jump across the ol wooden fence at Ronalds junkyard, skip on over across the dirt drive onward to Grassy Hill, and skaddle down to Moose Lane, take a right on Bastion Canyon, pick up the pace until RoundRock just pass Mr. Needles ol Chevy Impala and burn it for about .25 a mile to Baptist church and do a quick meet n greet with Ms Kelly, she was quite pretty you see and then do pit stop at Bud's Breakfast To Go where Genie gave us hot biscuits to go, and finally the playground heaven at the schoolyard. Now that is what I cannot get if driving an electric bike or any bike to school.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Biggest worry is definitely speeding and not being able to adequately safely brake in time.

Tokyo police have acknowledged this as a real problem as deaths have occurred.

I witnessed such a near miss last week when an elderly rider went halfway across a busy street from a narrow side street, before he came to a stop - in front of a hard braking car. Luckily the traffic was moving slowly due to it being so busy.

The old guy just stared at the driver few a few minutes before proceding to the DIY across the road. I also was going there and after parking I saw the guys bike - not in the bike park, but just plonked close to the entrance, making a nuisance.

Seniority entitlement on electric bikes - could be a disaster in the making.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"minutes" = moments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But of course. Japan's road safety is so bad.

Look at all those people riding over the pavement; cars not stopping at red lights; Jiji-sans thinking they're Ayrton Senna, and much more.

However, the truth is that most of the "critics" come from countries with a far worse record:

Road Accidents/Mortality Rate:

Japan - 4.7%


Death Rate:

USA: 10.91%

Russia: 18.75%

China: 19.6%

South Korea: 11.71%

Canada: 5.8%

France: 5.18%

Belgium: 6.48%

New Zealand: 5.9%

Brazil: 22.58%

Thailand: 35.66%

At the bottom:

UK: 2.77%

Sweden: 2.7%


But then again, watch out for all those speeding Japanese grannies!!!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"As of the end of November 2019, 54 people had been killed that year nationwide in accidents while riding electric bikes, rising from 28 such deaths in 2009, according to the National Police Agency."

The rate would be more helpful here in addition to the raw numbers. If usership increases, so will deaths naturally. The rate is key.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Going the wrong way down one-way streets, not giving way, sudden direction changes, use of cell phones and umbrellas etc etc

All of these problems contribute to injury and death yet the the J-cops do.....nothing...

Yes, it's a nightmare out there. The cops do sfa, in fact riding on the pavement themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Peeping Tom - yes those stats paint one picture but as many on here have posted seemingly 100s of times, how many deaths occur per km travelled? That's a revealing statistic.

And once again how many elderly deaths per km travelled vs other age groups?

And the generally slower driving speeds here, surely impacts the fatality rate.

For example if comparing, take Australia:

the yearly average kms covered is double+ that of Japan's average.

most fatalities in Australia occur in regional / remote areas where higher speeds, poorer road conditions and greater distances to travel exist. In Japan most fatalities occur in urban, sub-urban, semi-urban or semi-rural zones.

Australia's fatalities per 1 billion kms travelled is around 0.4.

Japan's fatalities per 1 billion kms travelled is around 0.6

So while Japan does have an increasingly lower fatality rate year by year (good), for the amount of road use the rate is still higher than quite a few other countries and is currently ranking around 15th - 18th against other developed countries.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Agree, not entirely.

Australia is a whole continent, roads are wider, much smaller population than Japan,

Despite all that the mortality rate in Australia is higher, at 5.2%,.

Meaning that Australia's much smaller population, having an entire Continent to drive still manage more deaths on the road than puny Japan, which has much larger population.

Germany with a smaller population kills more than the Japanese oyajis do.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Peeping Tom - thanks for your reply.

Yes - the total mortality rate is slightly higher in Aust - due to the reasons I posted.

Once again :

Average kms travelled per year in Aust at more than double Japan (more time driving, more time for accidents). Longer distances in Aust. from A to B requires more time and greater driver fatigue ( a real problem). Dangerous road conditions - esp gravel shoulders - in rural areas which are travelled at average speeds of 100 - 110 km/hr. A greater alcohol / substance abuse esp of the younger demographic resulting in road fatalities particularly in rural zones. The facts you mentioned about Japan's narrower roads and higher population also add to this because they make for a much slower general traffic flow - as I stated.

And once more - with all of the above, the Biggie is, Aust still has less fatalities per 1 billion kms than Japan.

Which simply means more people die on the roads in Japan than Aust for every km travelled.

This is a real fact to digest. No way of cutting it.

I'm not trying to suggest any one country is better than the other, just pointing out that your initial post re total fatalities is just one statistic and not necessarily the most relevant when analyzing all factors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Would e great to also see some legislation on how many people can be on a single bike because I've seen already a mom with a kid on the back seat, one on the front and one strapped to her front. Such an equipage weighs at least 100 kilos and shouldn't be allowed. Especially when most can't even be bothered to use their bell to signal themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Keep thinking of buying one but still too expensive.

Too expensive even at a second hand store, yes definitely over-priced

I'm surprised they're still so expensive, with the cheapest ones still over 80,000 yen. A replacement battery is over 30,000 yen. Have to say though once you ride one, you never want to ride a non-electric bike again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I assume from the name bike that it has only 2 wheels? Be kind of hard to dismount with 2 kids in tow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Continued...(moderator: relevance related to prior comment. Cannot add due to no edit button existing)...

Unicycle = 1 wheel

Bicycle/bike = 2 wheels

Tricycle/trike = 3 wheels

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These Bikes are pretty good - I've used them for many years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Conversely, if Japan was Australia's size they're mortality would double?

No need to take into consideration Japan#s 126.8 Million vis Australia's 26 Million inhabitants?

And what about South Korea with a fatality of 11.71%?

Much less population, less land to drive, yet a much higher mortality rate?

Therefore, Japanese grannies cannot be that bad, as many here on JT would want us to believe, can they?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )


Their mortality (not as posted)

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

First, they must ensure these e-bikes have a proximity sensor where it applies brakes when it's near anything.

Yes because slamming on the brakes unexpectedly throwing the rider over the bars is going to make things safer right?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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