September 16, 2012

Cycle in Tokyo, get doored in new and unusual ways

Tokyo's Minato-ku have installed a new style of bicycle lane which puts cyclists between the sidewalk and parked cars.

The boffins down in traffic planning believe that parked vehicles will effectively shield cyclists from traffic. Which may be true, but what will shield cyclists from getting doored from passengers exiting the parked cars?

When exiting a vehicle from the drivers side of the car most of us are conditioned to check behind us for incoming traffic, including bicycles.  But conditioned as we are, when we exit the car from the passenger side rarely do we check behind us as we've been flinging passenger doors open without checking since the invention of the motor vehicle. Passengers are just not trained to check for incoming traffic.

How long before we see a dooring in this bicycle lane and how many doorings do you think we'll see each year?

Aside from the creative dooring possibilities, the gaps between car parking spaces also cause me some concern.  Are cyclists going to have to contend with pedestrians darting out from between cars, across the bicycle lane to the sidewalk?  That's going to be a lot of fun for all. I'd love to sit on an overpass and film the exciting events that are bound to take place on this bicycle lane the boffins down in traffic planning are so proud of.

Come on Japan. The research into bicycle lanes has already been done. Its not about rocket science, its about commitment to do it right and I don't see that commitment in Japan yet.

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