Japan has been selected as the third best country for cycling in the world.
Uber cycling blog Copenhagize writes that Japan ranks after Denmark and Holland as the best place to cycle in the world.
Germans, and others, would probably beg to differ. However, the blog has the basic facts right:
Japanese cities have wonderful bicycle parking infrastructure (though little in the way of dedicated lanes); cycling is a part of the Japanese DNA; everyone cycles; bicycles are not toys but practical tools, and have been for decades; and, in spite of the chaos on the streets and sidewalks, there is little conflict.
Here is a longer quote:
It is quite amazing to me how many aren't aware that Japan is the third great cycling nation after DK and NL. Even urban mobility colleagues often say, "really?" when I highlight this fact.
This film is a long series of clips that show what kind of bicycle nation Japan is. It's all there. Sorry. Yet another country (and it's an automobile powerhouse, a rich country, a country with cities that have narrow streets, etc etc) to either make other cities feel hopelessly insecure or... further empowered to catch up.
Be sure to click over to the Vimeo page to read the text from the guy who made it. He's had enough of sub-cultural bicycle niches. He wants Bicycle Society.
Here's an excerpt:
"According to my crude interpretation/analogy a society that cycles is more equal to the one that doesn’t.
Here in Japan grannies do it, kids do it, salary men do it, so do Yankees, the yakuza, teachers, nurses, office ladies, students, fashionistas, moms carrying an entire family, farmers, delivery men, chefs, the police, old men do it slowly with their knees sticking out, fixies, hipsters, local councilors, udon deliverers, students and anime characters do it too.
And they do it on the footpath and without fancy lyrca, fancy bikes and helmets too. They just do it. People cycle because it makes sense.
And it’s not that they don’t like their cars in Japan. It’s just that cycling makes sense."
The wonderful blog TokyobyBike adds a bit of meat to the article.