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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kyoto Karasuma Bicycle Lane

Karasuma Bike Lane京都烏丸自転車専用レーン

And yet another bike lane has sprouted up in Kyoto this spring. Unlike the "line lanes" in central Kyoto - meaningless, dangerous, narrow "lanes" painted on the edges of the either side of the street (see below left) - the lane on Karasuma is an actual lane with symbols and a comfortable width.

It is a replica of the "bike lane" that passes in front of the police headquarters.

That is, it is not technically separated from traffic but rather a lane that has been painted onto both sides of the street.

It ends/starts at Marutamachi, but we are not sure how far it goes south of that and there is little information online (in Japanese; there is none in English).

Though perhaps a step in the right direction, we wonder:

Bike Lane Kyotohow will drivers react to this?
how will cyclists behave in the lane?
how much did the paint job cost?
why isn't the lane completely fenced off from vehicular traffic?


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1 comment:

Alan Preston said...

Having removed the right to park ( and losing the revenue from parking ) shows the Kyoto Shiyakusho's commitment to encouraging and providing for cyclists - to give them the ability to comply with obsolete laws that compel them to ride on the roads.
By not physically segregating the lanes they are showing their reluctance to restrict the rights of the drivers of car(bon burner)s
who will inevitably cut into this lane.
Here in New Zealand painted-on bicycle lanes are just door-traps as they are usually situated alongside parked cars. The hit (and near miss)rate is very high. Personally I WILL NOT use them and made the decision, after nearly losing my life, to take the risk off being fined $250 for riding on the 'footpaths' (sidewalks) as I always did in Kyoto.
I'd rather ride a bicycle in Kyoto - with no facilities specifically dedicated to cyclists and no punitive enforcement of the laws, than to be compelled to use our cycle lanes here.
The result is that in Kyoto you have a slow-cycling culture that everyone can participate in , whereas here we have a fast cycling culture that is only open to the 'confident/competent/athletic/assertive. i.e. less than 2% of trips are performed by bicycle.