January 12, 2013

Tokyo Plans to Ban the Sale of Brakeless Bicycles

Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on Friday (January 11, 2013) their intention to ban the sale of fixed gear track bicycles, or Piste bikes,  for us on public roads.

Police indicate they'll be able to enjoy longer
tea breaks if they're not forced onto the streets
to implement already existing cycling laws.
According to reports it will submit an ordinance to implement the ban to the metropolitan assembly in February with the intention of putting it into force before summer 2013.  Under the ban bicycle stores would be banned from selling brakeless track bicycle to customers in the knowledge that they will be used on public roads.

Riding a brakeless bicycle on public roads is already illegal in Tokyo but there is currently no regulation on the sale of such bicycles.

In 2012 misguided proposals with the aim of improving bicycle safety including a proposal for mandatory number plates for bicycles, flourished across the nation but as yet few have been implemented therefore I remain sceptical about this ban.  Assuming it did however, questions remain about how the ban will be enforced as brakeless track bicycles are still required for , well, track racing.  Will stores require a government permit to sell brakeless track bicycles, or will they rely on the customer to swear on a stack of bibles at the time of purchase that they will nor cycle on the road?

Once again we see expensive, difficult to implement and enforce proposals aimed at improving cycling safety when all Tokyo really needs is for the police to get out there and routinely enforce the current cycling laws, which they currently neglect.


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