bikelanes,

Experiment moves Tokyo's cyclists from the sidewalk to the road

10/12/2013 Byron Kidd 6 Comments

In early 2013 Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) collaborated with the Metropolitan Police Department and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to initiate an experiment at two traffic intersections in Tokyo. The intersections involved were painted with arrows in blue to indicate to cyclists where to ride and cross. Not surprisingly results have shown that more bicycle riders follow the guide arrows rather than taking the sidewalks.

woman bicycle lane tokyo Japan
From February through July, between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM, the Sengoku Icchome intersection in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward had an increase of cyclists taking the left side of the inbound car lane of Hakusan Dori Avenue. The increase was from 51% to 81%. As for those who use the sidewalks, the decrease was from 39% to 16%. In Minato Ward’s Fudanotsuji intersection, cyclists taking the lane for bicycles have increased from 26% to 53%, while those who keep using the sidewalks have gone from 33% to 19%.

With the improvement resulting from the use of guidance lines, Professor Tetsuo Yai, the project’s chairman from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, said, “Road usage increased at Sengoku thanks to the bicycle lane and other measures. We should spread this success to other areas.” There are also other lanes set for bicycles besides those at the intersections at Bunkyo and Minato wards.

6 comments:

  1. is there a bike lane leading into & out of the intersection, or are we sharing the road with cars?

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    1. Blue painted lanes were leading into and out of the intersection, but rather than simply stopping at the intersection they turned into a chain of arrows guiding the cyclist to the lane on the other side of the intersection.

      Unfortunately none of the articles I've read indicate if the blue bicycle lanes existed prior to the arrows being painted on the road which is a rather large omission as it completely changes how you look at the results of the experiment.

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  2. I use the Futanotsuji crossing almost every day and have to say that the arrows are an improvement. However, the cycle lanes - if there are any - leading up to to it are very short and usually blocked by taxis or lorries, especially in the morning/evening rush hours. Most people seem to simply jump back on to the footpath a little bit further down from the crossing.

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    1. Cyclists switching from sidewalk to road and back again are a danger to themselves and everyone around them. Every morning on my ride to work, without fail, someone will jump from the sidewalk to the road in front of me without checking if the way is clear. Cyclists forget the high possibility they will collide with another cyclists when they switch to the road without warning.

      I've also witnessed the reverse where a cyclist has jumped onto the sidewalk without looking behind them, he avoided colliding with people coming in his direction but was cleaned up from behind by another cyclist.

      We need education as much as infrastructure.

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  3. bike lane my ass !! the crazy bikers in Tokyo don't give a shit about direction; speed or; danger bcoz they are protected by the stupid minister of transportation as a local have told me.

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  4. this cycling culture on the pedestrian sidewalks in tokyo is the worst in the world even comparing to china... somebody should replace that BAKA transportation minister !!

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