23 August 2010

Red ticket

"In the case of running a red light, for example, car drivers can be fined up to 9,000 yen, but cyclists face a fine of up to 50,000 yen, and there is a possibility that they will automatically get a criminal record.

In April 2006, the NPA set up a program to promote road safety measures, and told prefectural police divisions to crack down on cyclists who violated regulations. In March 2007, while the Diet deliberated on a revision to the Road Traffic Law that would tighten enforcement of the regulation that in principle cyclists should not travel on sidewalks, police began to crack down on cyclists riding on sidewalks. After the revised law came into effect in July, the NPA told police to issue traffic tickets to cyclists for blatant or dangerous violations.

In 2006, a total of 268 cyclists were issued red traffic tickets, but this figure jumped to 598 in 2007, 903 in 2008 and 1,326 in 2009. The most common offence in 2009, committed by 436 people, was passing through closed railway crossings. Next was ignoring traffic lights, for which 358 cyclists were ticketed. Another 67 received tickets for riding at night without lights and 50 were handed red tickets for riding under the influence of alcohol."

Over 1,300 cyclists ticketed for serious offences in 2009 amid police crackdown


David L. said...

Well, the linked article says 2,165,759 warnings were issued, and 1,326 red cards (I mean red tickets), so one out of 1600+ contacts. I think the old rules still apply -- don't run lights at major intersections, but don't sweat them if they are at an [empty] cross-walk, and don't embarrass the police officer by running a light directly in front of him/her, especially while a colleague is watching.

A little riding around Portland was a nice contrast to Tokyo. There the cyclists seem to obey the rules, stay in the bike lanes, wait for the lights, etc., and the roads make ample accommodation for the cyclists. It works because the roads are wide enough, and density low enough, so they could retrofit many with bike lanes. And for many years they had a local planning process that gave cycling-friendliness a high priority.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Good point David about the contrast to Portland or other countries. It feels strange to obey the rules too closely as a cyclist in Japan when cars and motorbikes constantly violate whatever there is to violate in their treatment of cyclists. In Germany, almost no car will take my right of way, nobody will come close to me from behind, nobody will pass with just a few centimetres between bike and car and instead take the whole lane. This doesn't mean I feel more comfortable cycling on roads in Germany - the speed there is much faster, which is scary even when most cars pay a lot of respect to cyclist. But you are always afraid of this one idiot, one day...