Police in Japan Give Cyclists Free Raincoats

Byron Kidd
Japan's rainy season is here, it started raining last Thursday literally has not stopped as I write this on Sunday.

 Naturally in a country that relies upon the bicycle for transport as strongly as Japan a little rain, not even a solid month of tropical rainstorms, is going to stop people from cycling. You can't just hang up your bike till the rainy season ends when the bicycle is your primary means of transport.

This means that people cycling while holding umbrellas are out in force, on the streets, on the pavement, battling the rain, and wind. This disturbs the local constabulary as on the books cycling while holding an umbrella (and technically cycling one handed) is against the law.

But people must cycle, and people will cycle through the rainy season regardless of what the law says, and as the Japanese police would face publish backlash if they started enforcing cycling laws they've not enforced for decades they've had to come up with an alternative plan of action.

On June 5 a group of volunteers gathered at Saitama's JR Musashi Urawa station handing out free raincoats, and bicycle safety pamphlets to all cyclists they noticed cycling with umbrellas.

While I personally think there is nothing wrong with a responsible adult cycling while holding an umbrella, I have to tip my hat to the Saitama Prefectural Police Department for coming up with a campaign that doesn't punish cyclists, but presents them with a valid alternative, offering them an opportunity to change their behaviour.

Not often I say this about the Japanese police force, but well done!

While on the topic of umbrellas, if you do insist on cycling while holding an umbrella, especially at night, you may want to try the illuminated Bright Light umbrella which has two krypton lamps inside that light the area beneath the umbrella. With six designs available its a steal at ¥4090 for adults and ¥3070 in children's sizes.

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  1. As another cyclist in Japan, this is amazing. Too bad the weather's taken a turn for the worse, hoped to go for a ride this weekend.

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