October 12, 2013

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

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.

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