Feeling a little flat while riding your bike in Japan? Stop by the cop shop!
This recent video of some skillful biking based on an anime character’s special cycling technique has already been retweeted over 61,000 times.
This summer brought stricter bicycle laws to Japan which were aimed at keeping cyclists, pedestrians, and really all people safer, with one of the broadest rules simply stating to “not ride unsafely“. While there are plenty of unsafe riding habits, including listening to music, holding an umbrella or using your cell phone at the same time as you’re biking, one of the most unsafe practices is letting a friend ride on the back of your bike as you pedal. It may look stable and easy to pull off in an anime, but it is really quite dangerous and police have been trying to stop it for years.
Sometimes though, you and your friend need to get somewhere quickly and wheels are faster than feet, so you have to come up with some new ideas about how to share the bike. Luckily, a pair of high school students have come up with a solution and submitted their thesis for “peer review” via a six-second Vine.
When I was a kid, I loved it when my parents would take me to a McDonald’s drive-through because back then I found it incredibly fascinating and fun that you could order food from inside a car by talking to a box, and then drive around the corner and receive your food from a person in a small window. I even asked my mum if I would be able to order at a drive-through stand on my tricycle, or on foot. Obviously, the answer I got was no.
How times have changed! Now cyclists can pedal into a McDonald’s drive-through stand, and the best part is, their food comes in a neat packaging designed specially for transportation on bicycles!
Despite being a relatively low-crime country on the whole, theft of bicycles and umbrellas is a prevalent issue in Japan. These thefts are usually born out of need and selfishness rather than for monetary gain. Forgot your umbrella and stuck in a downpour? Then you’ve got three choices: get wet, buy an umbrella from the convenience store or indulge in some petty theft. Need to get home and missed the last train? Suck it up and get walking or, if you’re someone who doesn’t lie awake at night worrying about their karma, you COULD just “borrow” one of the identical, unlocked bikes gathering cobwebs outside the station. Yes, it’s wrong, but it still happens pretty often.
Now, however, there’s an anti-theft device more powerful than any bike lock! Behold the anti-theft bird poop sticker!
Illegally parking bicycles is a persistent problem in Japan, and one creative train station has come up with a new strategy to stop people from leaving bikes where they shouldn’t – by putting cute illustrations done by children on the ground!
In some countries where bicycles are a major means of transportation, such as in China, cyclists enjoy the privilege of having their own lane on the road separate from cars and buses for better road safety. Understandably, cars are not supposed to be driven on these bicycle-only lanes, but there are always a couple of rebels who like to think that rules exist to be broken instead of abided by.
Well, bad luck for this rule-breaking driver spotted driving on a bicycle lane in Beijing, because he got stuck in a face-off with a gutsy foreigner who simply refused to let him have his way!
What would you think if you came across this guy on your way to class in the morning? Perhaps if you were in Japan you’d barely bat an eyelid, but this real-life Pokemon was spotted on the campus of a Chinese university!
There are many things to love about the kimono, the elegant traditional robe that just screams “Japan”. But beautiful and steeped in tradition as it is, the kimono is not without its accompanying inconveniences: its long skirt, which stays pencil-straight right down to the floor, provides almost no wiggle-room and prevents the wearer from running…or even walking particularly fast, unless in comically short strides. Riding a bicycle, too, has long been out of the question – until now.
While bikes are an easy, economical and environmentally friendly way to get from A to B, a 19-year-old Chinese man recently learned that there’s no such thing as a safe way to get around town.
Click below to read the story of how this unfortunate young man, after losing control of his bike and smashing into a tree, spent seven hours with his testicles separated from his body. You might want to cross your legs for this one, guys.
Cycling in the city can be a genuinely unpleasant experience at times. As well as having to breathe in exhaust fumes for the duration of your journey, our car-centric cities often leave scant room to dedicated bike lanes, meaning cyclists have to share the road with vehicles big and small, often resulting in accidents and near misses.
Thankfully, Samsung thinks it may have a solution to city cyclists’ woes: its new Smart Bike, which incorporates a bevy of technological wizardry and is being built in conjunction with one of the best bicycle designers in the world.
While looks may not kill, a woman in Dalian City, China found out last month that some guy’s ugly mug can scare you enough to make you to lose your balance and break four teeth. Although the beauty-deficient man said he was merely asking directions, the woman was apparently so frightened by his visage that after falling off her bike and hurting herself, she rushed to the police where she pressed charges.
On 29 September, the Third Maebashi Mt. Akagi Hill Climb was held in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture. It’s a grueling 20.8km (12.9mi) bicycle course climbing Mt. Akagi for a vertical difference of 1.3km (0.8mi) from start to finish.
This year 2,811 people participated and the fastest time was set by Kenichi Miyamoto, completing the course in an impressive 56 minutes and 23 seconds. However, the attention of many locals was grabbed by a rider bearing an uncanny resemblance to the virtual songstress Hatsune Miku. So just who was this turquoise-locked ita-bike rider?
It’s been nearly three days since we last reported on the arrest of a sexual deviant inventing a new way to get himself arrested by throwing pee at young women. So we’re clearly long overdue for another guy pushing the envelope of creepy crime.
On 24 August, Kanagawa Prefectural Police picked up Joji Kondo for stealing three seats from women’s electric bicycles in a housing complex at around 4:00 in the morning. After searching Kondo’s home they uncovered a further 200 seats.
Bicycle theft is no laughing matter, especially in Japan where bikes are widely relied upon for daily transportation. Luckily, a cheap and effective means of protecting your ride has surfaced on the internet, and it’s sure to send any would-be thieves packing.
On 4 July, Kobe District Court ruled against the 40-year-old single mother of a 15-year-old boy after his bike struck an elderly woman while he was riding too fast down a hill.
Judge Tomoko Tanaka ordered that the mother pay a total of 95 million yen (US$950,000) because she “provided insufficient guidance to the child that may have prevented this accident.”
Westerners who come to Japan may be taken aback by the sheer numbers of bicycles in use in cities. Equally impressive is the degree to which people load their bicycles with shopping bags, children, boyfriends, and/or garbage bags full of aluminum cans for recycling. And yet, with all this, it’s a rare sight to see anyone besides tiny kids wearing a helmet.
Ehime Prefecture, known for its scenic bike paths and wide use of bicycles for commuting, is hoping to change that by enacting a law instructing cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet, or else.
Since the early days of the Internet, online shopping has been fraught with deceit. And, despite the hard work of many companies, there’s still a lot of trepidation when bidding in Internet auctions. Inevitably, anyone is bound to wonder: “Will they really send the goods?” “Are the pictures accurate?” “Are these beautiful bicycles actually soon-to-be stolen items?”
That’s right, we said “soon-to-be-stolen,” not “stolen!”
Some of you may remember our report on Shigenobu Matsuzawa’s visit to Gunma Cycle Sports Center a few months back. It’s the amusement park where everything has pedals including the roller coaster. While Shigenobu ultimately gave the place four out of five stars in his reviews, the photos he took looked kind of depressing. However, now a video released on YouTube seems to have captured a totally new angle of Gunma Cycle Sports Center which gives it a much needed image boost.
Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office officially announced that it intends to prosecute cyclists who repeatedly violate road traffic laws in Japan. Ignoring a red light or not stopping when necessary may also become subject to penalty, with a three-month jail sentence or a fine of up to 50,000 yen. In addition, riding parallel with other cyclists or failure to make use of one’s light under conditions of poor visibility could carry fines of up to 20,000 yen and 50,000 yen, respectively.