Fukuoka bans bike-riding on shopping street

Kyodo

A crowded section of a popular Fukuoka shopping street is off-limits to bike riders during peak hours, with riders being asked to walk their bikes through the area.

The municipal government designated the section Monday as the first no-rider zone in the country. The city has seen more than 3,000 bicycle-related accidents a year since 1998, accounting for roughly 25 percent of all traffic accidents.

Reckless riding is generally considered the cause of the relatively high accident rate.

The street is in the crowded Tenjin district, where the ban covers a stretch about 400 meters long. No one is allowed to ride there between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

The city based the rule on an ordinance covering bicycle safety that took effect Monday. There is no penalty for violations.

“There are so many bicycles here and I have been almost hit by them,” said Sanae Kunisaki, 70, who often walks to a nearby swimming pool. Noriko Yoshida, 68, who works part time and commutes by bicycle, said “I may have to change my commute route because pushing my bicycle takes time.”

  • Tao Zhang

    very good

  • bimmerman

    You should ride in the street as stated in the law. Sidewalks are for pedestrians.

    • http://www.facebook.com/benfrenchman Ben Frenchman

      It’s not illegal to ride on the sidewalks in Japan. And thank god. I don’t trust Japanese drivers enough to share a road with them. Drivers here are terrible.

  • http://twitter.com/tokyobybike Byron Kidd

    If common sense prevailed people would be able to correctly judge for themselves when to ride, and when to get off and walk, these bans should not be necessary. But alas, common sense does not prevail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mustapha.mokrane Mustapha Mokrane

    This is the number one annoyance on side-walks in Japanese cities! Bans will not solve the issue and certainly not increase increase security. Local governments have to make proper cycling lanes if they want the bikes out of the pedestrians way.

    • Masa Chekov

      Unfortunately in most cities and towns the roads are barely wide enough for two cars, let alone two cars + bikes.

  • John Dyson

    Hmm, i thought this was already a bicycle-free zone, Shintencho. It is already off-limits to vehicular traffic during the shopping hours. The streets east and west can handle the bicycles, and it doesn’t take long to get off your bike and walk it through the shotengai from one side to the other. 400 meters is the long way, try about 80 meters walking for the cross-way (two blocks).