Police recommend safety training for reckless cyclists
A panel of experts appointed by the National Police Agency in October to come up with measures to reduce the number of violations has recommended that it be mandatory for cyclists who break the rules to attend classes on safe bike riding and cycling etiquette.
According to a nationwide survey by the National Police Agency, 3,956 violations by cyclists were logged in 2011.
About 32.2% of the violations involved riders with brakeless “piste bikes,” also known as “fixed brake bikes” or “fixies” on public roads. In Japan, the law requires that bicycles have both front and rear brakes. Failure to install both before riding on a public road is punishable by a fine of up to 50,000 yen.
Fixies entered the public consciousness in Japan when comedian Mitsunori Fukuda, 36, a member of the comedy team Tutorial, received a ticket for riding a piste bike without brakes last year.
About 28.1% of the violations involved running red lights and 12.6% were riders ignoring barriers at railroad crossings. Police say indictments were filed in only 17 cases, TBS reported.
According to the NPA, the 144,018 bicycle accidents in 2011 constituted about 20% of the total number of traffic accidents. Most involved injuries, and over half were caused by traffic violations, such as failing to look both ways before crossing an intersection.
According to the data, there were 633 fatal bicycle accidents last year, with most occurring in Saitama, Tokyo, Aichi and Osaka prefectures.
The panel recommended that riders who break traffic laws and cause accidents be made to attend classes on safety, Jiji Press reported. It also said that elderly people should be encouraged to attend bicycle safety classes.