Though bike riders get credit for not polluting the environment, they don’t get a lot of respect. The law says you should ride in the road, but drivers and even local police often force cyclists up on the sidewalks where they invariably terrorize pedestrians. Even worse, when you get to your destination you may end up spending as much time as a motorist finding a legal place to park your vehicle.

According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, 869,000 illegally parked or abandoned bicycles were “removed” in 2007. Of these about 510,000 were eventually reclaimed by owners with the rest being “processed,” which we assume means they were either destroyed or shipped off to North Korea, where, according to certain right-wing conspiracy theorists, they enjoy a second life as weapons parts.

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