Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cycling Japanese Style

My Brother has just returned from Japan where I asked him to photograph some of the Japanese cycling culture . Japan has a good cycling culture and some good cycling infrastructure.  He discribes it as thus:

It all looks very idealistic on the surface but it is a bit of a mixed bag.  There is a lot of general cycling but there are no helmet laws – it was great to ride casually without a helmet.  I did see some serious cyclists who road on the road and had helmets
 Elsewhere cyclists share with pedestrians on a narrow path with a barrier to the road.  The difference to Australia is that most people ride slowly and wear work clothes and it is not a race.  In suburban streets the speed limit is 40km on main streets and 30km on small streets therefore the streets are shared.

Osaka and around the 1960 expo site – the image looks great for cyclists but this section is only 15km long.
Osaka by Suita station – bikes are not allowed on trains and during the week you can’t park them anywhere you need to use the parking stations which vary in price and can be $5 a day or more
Outside a shopping centre in Osaka, in Yamada it is free is the first 2 hours then a lock goes across the wheels and you have to pay to unlock.  Note that no one steals bikes in Japan so you can leave them unlocked.
Himeji, I like this picture because the bike riders outnumber the pedestrians – the covered structure on the right hand side is an underground bike parking station.

 The last picture looks like a reverse as the pedestrians should be lined up against the zebra crossing and the
 bicyclists on th cycle lane.

In Canberra this seems to be a constant feature on traffic talk back on the local radio that at a zebra crossing the cyclist has to dismount and walk the bike across . The AFP and the RTA would argue that it is dangerous  for bicyclists to ride across a pedestrian crossing as car drivers wouldn't be able to react in time to stop and give way.The only danger is to pedestrians so the answer is to separate them so the cyclist doesn't have to dismount.


As would many of Mark Wagenbuur's video's would show. We do have some shared paths right of ways but we could certainly learn from Japan and the Netherlands on this issue.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Second class citizens.

One of my many 'bug bears' about how cyclists and pedestrians are treated in Canberra is works on replacing & relaying footpaths and cyclepaths. If a road was being relayed/resurfaced adequate signage and detour information would a minimum requirement. Some time ago on a major shared path that I featured here, during the construction of a driveway and replacement of part of the path. Pedestrians ,cyclists and the disabled were forced onto a small part of the road with vehicles speeds at 70km/h , and nothing but some small witches hats as a barrier for a bi-directional path. When I complained about the situation and suggested using at least one full lane of the dual carriageway  for pedestrians and cyclists, it was 'Oh that will slow up traffic and we can't have that'.

Just take a look at this pathetic solution here.

No solution but to use the 60 km/h road with not warning signs or detour signs.

.........and the solution used in the Netherlands.

Both are suburban streets ,but in the Netherlands ,part of the road is used for the cyclists and pedestrians to pass safely.
One would argue here, that because there are more cyclists in the Netherlands then using this type of solution is needed, but its all about respect. If you treat pedestrians and cyclists as second class citizens like here in Australia then why would people want to walk or cycle.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Brisbane cycles on

We know that Brisbane and Queensland have been doing it tough lately. That may be an understatement! So I pulled a couple of photo's out among the many of media shots showing the city from the bike perspective.
Bikes parked along the river just before the peak

Brisbane CBD
Interestingly the Dutch  has offered technical expertise to Australia to help out in the devastating Queensland floods with Brisbane flooding problems since the dutch know what they are talking about, but the Prime Minister Julia Gillard has turned it down. Yet another bit of Dutch know how, we are not considering.