Transportation / Mobility

April 17, 2008


98 Model Districts Designated to Establish Bicycle Lane Network

Keywords: Government Transportation / Mobility 

Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and Tourism (MLIT)and the National Police Agency (NPA) announced on January 17, 2008, that they have designated 98 model districts across the nation to serve as reference models for the development of a bicycle-friendly environment. In the model districts, bicycle lanes or cycle tracks are to be separated from carriageways and sidewalks. MLIT and the NPA will intensively support the implementation of strategic plans to create such lanes within about two years.

In the Kameido district of Tokyo's Koto Ward, 1.2 kilometers of cycle tracks will be constructed along National Route 14, which runs near JR's Kameido station. The carriageway was modified from four-lane one to three-lane, and using fences, a two-meter-wide cycle tracks has been set up at both sides of carriageway which can provide space and safety for pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles.

Bicycles should travel on carriageways in principle, but they often travel on sidewalks for safety reasons in Japan. Among the 79,000 kilometers of road space for cycling, only three percent has been divided into cycle tracks. Most wide sidewalks are shared by pedestrians and bicycles. Thus, the number of accidents involving them on sidewalks has increased 4.8-fold in the last 10 years.

A bicycle is an environmentally friendly means of transport and is considered to be an effective measure against global warming. In Japan, Nagoya city has one of the most advanced bicycle lane networks, but the length of the network routes is only a tenth of that in Paris. As a next step, MLIT and the NPA plan to establish bicycle lane networks at the municipal level, aiming to make Japanese cities more bicycle-friendly, as seen in European or American cities.

Posted: 2008/04/17 11:26:14 AM