Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yet another Japanese Child killed on the road

11-year-old dies after being hit by dump truck; driver arrested

Japan, at about 50%, has an abnormally high rate of pedestrian and cyclist deaths as a percentage of all fatalities involving motor vehicles - and too large of a percentage of this number are children.

According to the World Health Organization there are about 6500 road fatalities every year in Japan.

For a country with an aging population and falling birthrate you would think everything would be done to preserve and protect life - especially the lives of it`s young people.  

This Japan Times article from a couple year`s back explains the situation well.
If the government`s excuse for not building safer streets is that it's too expensive or that it would inconvenience drivers, then what they are essentially saying is that they do not value life.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tokyo Police ask Cyclists to Exercise Caution

Article from Japan Today here - Tokyo Police ask Cyclists to Exercise Caution

My thoughts on this.

There is a certain percentage of people who will always be selfish idiots whether they are walking, on a bike, or in a car. We can say the number is the same, although I think one could make the case that there is a greater number of selfish idiot car users in the city because only a selfish idiot could not see how unnecessary, polluting, space-wasting, and potentially dangerous it is towards others - or they do and just don`t care. The bicycle user might go through a light because he is an idiot, or maybe because no traffic is coming and he would like to get away from the auto traffic that might kill him. He is no (serious) danger to anyone but himself and his actions are governed but his much greater vulnerability and desire to stay alive. A bicycle is a bicycle - it is not a car nor pedestrian. The authorities try to make cyclists fit into one or the other category but the fact is that cyclists need dedicated protected bicycling space.

Having said that, and getting to the point of posting the article - by using resources and valuable time to give these "warnings" to people on bikes (these are people just randomly stopped here, not people seen breaking a law) -  I believe this is intended to harass, - and to discourage bicycle use.

What they should be doing is saying, "Thank you very much for unselfishly choosing to use your bicycle today despite the dangerous conditions brought about by a lack of adequate infrastructure and any interest in creating safer streets by going after drivers who break traffic rules. Please be careful."

And here is why I care so much about this and why I feel these efforts are so misplaced. These are from the past few months - just Japan and not a complete list. Hundreds of years of life taken away. Motor vehicles are the only common factor in all of these deaths. Not one death caused by a bicycle. This goes on year after year and will continue if we continue to design cities for motor vehicles over places for people.

6-year-old boy playing tag with friends hit and killed by car in Tokyo Link

8-year-old girl killed by truck while crossing street with mother, sister Link
Two pedestrians Killed as Minivan hits Car Link

4-year-old boy dies after being hit by car Link

Student dies after she is hit by car being chased by police Link  

3-year-old boy killed by car in Chiba parking garage Link

Man killed in hit-and-run in Aichi Link

6-year-old boy hit and killed by car while playing on skateboard Link

Visually-impaired woman in coma, guide dog killed after being hit by car Link

17-year-old girl killed after car crashes into wall in Ibaraki Link

Car slams into 7-Eleven store, killing employee Link

83-year-old woman driver dies after hitting 3 pedestrians Link

3-year-old girl hit and killed by car in Osaka Link  

Man held over hit-and-run deaths of 3 women in Otaru Link

7 year-old boy hit and killed by truck Link 

Car crash claims 3 lives including cyclist Link 

13-year-old on bike dies after being hit by truck driven by 83-year-old man Link

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Yokohama Haunted Halloween night ride

Join us if you dare!  The free Haunted Yokohama Halloween night ride event will be Saturday October 25 - 7PM. 

We`ll decorate the bikes a bit with some lighted jack o`lanterns which I`ll have available for everyone.  Some kind of costume would be cool but optional. 

We`ll pass through some spooky Yokohama locations - sites of some dark and creepy (true) tales from the city`s history.
All are welcome - let`s meet up at 7PM at Yokohama Station NorthEast Exit A.
The ride will be slow and easy and last about 2 hours or so.  We will, of course, end the night with a refreshment or two at one of Yokohama`s finer drinking establishments, so bring a bit of spending ¥ if you`d like to join us for that.

Please let me know if you plan on coming and/or need a bike - hope to see you there!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cars are Dumb - and Deadly.

Ugh.  Again and again and again.

Just this week in Japan -

If anything else in the world was the direct cause of so much death, destruction and horror we would surely do something about it, right? So, why don`t we?

It`s much too easy, wherever we are, to find recent tragic stories just like this one. We know that tomorrow there will be more. How can this be acceptable?

Could it be that automobile culture has shaped the world we live in to the point where it has become impossible for people to imagine any other way of living?

We seem to be as cluelessly satisfied as the goldfish in a fishbowl that can`t possibly imagine the existance of any better way of life - like streams and rivers and lakes.