November 19, 2010

Bicycle Registration Checks on the Rise?

Is there a crackdown on bicycle registration checks going on in Tokyo at the moment?  On my morning commute through Setagaya-ku yesterday I noticed the police carrying out registration checks in three different locations and this morning two more.

Bicycle Registration Sticker
I've been cycling in and around Tokyo since 1996.  I commute to work almost every day. I cycle almost every weekend. I ride the family Mamachari to the supermarket in the evenings, ferry my daughters around by bicycle on the weekends.  Despite the number of hours I spend on a bicycle each week I have not once been stopped for a registration check.  I frequently ride 4 different bicycles and I must be on a different one each time I pass a policeman and I'm still never questioned.

I have read so many complaints from overseas residents of Japan that the police use bicycle registration checks as an excuse to pull over foreigners to check their alien registration cards and visa details.  I must not fit their target profile as I've never been stopped for a registration check nor hassled by the police at Narita.  The only time I've really been spoken to by the police in relation to my cycling habits is during the road safety campaigns the hold a few times each year at which time the come down hard on everyone for a few days they go back into hibernation.  Oh, and when I've broken some usually unenforced cycling law.

Have you ever been stopped for a bicycle registration check and do you think there was a deeper motive in getting you pulled over? 

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