Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bicycle Transportation in Tokyo

Bicycles in Tokyo come in all shapes and sizes. You have your carbon fiber road bikes, track bikes, your rusted out old clunkers and the newer (some older) power assist bikes. The power assist were more prolific than I have seen anywhere and could be an Asian phenomenon considering the number of scooters that are used in these countries for basic transportation. The one pictured at right is a power assist bike that has what appears to be a refrigerator on the bike rack for deliveries of all sorts of food or whatever needs to be kept cold. It could just be a convenient box they had that would latch.
Overall, I was impressed with how many of these makeshift cargo bikes I saw and what was peculiar was how the racks don't seem any more stout than ours in the U.S.

I have much hope for cycling when I see women feeling comfortable on their bikes. The next population that is good to see are gentlemen in suits looking dapper doing business on a bike. This particular fellow doesn't look like a spring chicken, yet he's getting what he needs done and looking pretty good while doing it.
The riding on the sidewalk was a bit unnerving to me, but my fellow pedestrians didn't seem to care and I didn't see any conflicts just walking around the City.
Delineation of different modes happened some places, but it wasn't consistent. I am still worried about how motorists deal with cyclists at intersections.
The examples of these two pictures show a nice delineation on the bottom example and no such marking on the second. I'd be curious what their crash rates are compared to European practice. There is definitely a good amount of use in some of the older parts of town and a wide variety of facilities that are provided.
This location near the Imperial Palace was well delinated, but not heavily used. It may be a current best practice (it looks fairly new), but on my next trip it would be great to get together with the technical folks that are studying these facilities to learn more about the experience.
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