This may be a case of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ but what the hell. These things happen as we grow up I guess. I spent most of the first 23 years of my life cycling to and from school and work and often riding fairly recklessly annoying pedestrians on the pavements but now the boot appears to be on the other foot.
Tokyo has more people in less space than London but a big difference is that the Japanese ride predominantly on the paths. That is not such a problem but what really gets on my nerves is that some of them just seem to think they rule and can just mow everyone down who gets in their way or ring their bells which I consider so rude. Whether or not pedestrians have the rights of the paths and the cyclists are doing anything wrong is something I’m not too sure about to be honest.
Whereas UK law, for example, may stipulate that both hands must be on the handlebars at all times the same can definitely not be said in Japan’s capital. In fact it seems that to see such a thing here is unlikely as the Japanese are more often than not chattering away or even writing e-mails on the ubiquitous mobile phones. Smoking or holding an umbrella are two other popular activities done while trying to dodge in and out of the pedestrians and it’s far from common to see someone doing a combination of two or even three of the aforementioned acts!
Add on top of this, the fact that lights are not used so often and that there is a tendency to ride (in a wobbly fashion which is almost crying out for them to be hit by something or someone) on the wrong side of the road pressed up against the curb.
Of course I understand that bicycles need to be used more in order to protect the environment and one immediate benefit of these crappy bicycles with the baskets on the front is that they often provide a useful bin for many people due to a huge lack of public bins.