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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fines for Tokyo Cyclists


Oh dear, the police are at it again.

With all the problems in the universe, the cops are picking on cyclists again.

Yes, yes, yes, we know that in Japan cycling on the sidewalks is de rigueur, that cluelessness is the norm, that safety for cyclists and pedestrians needs to be improved.

However, to repeat for the umpteenth time, if there were a decent infrastructure - bike lanes, separated paths on wide city sidewalks - the cyclist "problem" would mostly disappear.

According to reports in the Japanese media, repeat offenders - i.e., cyclists that run lights more than once - could be fined and indicted by prosecutors.

The Metropolitan Police Department has been issuing fines and for the worst offenders sent papers to prosecutors. However, the prosecutors have ignored those.

From now on, the prosecutors are going to follow through.

"Malicious cyclists" face fines of up to 50,000 yen (USD $565) and the offense will go on a criminal record.

Fair enough. Cyclists can be dangerous.

However, in more cycling friendly countries, governments encourage cycling, provide the infrastructure and incentives.

In Japan, with its car industry and at times punitive culture, the opposite is true.


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