According to the Cycle Kyoto website:
Accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians have skyrocketed in the last 10 years in Japan. In 2009, there were 2,934 such accidents. That is 3.7 times the number recorded a decade earlier.
|Why can't we all just get along?|
It looks like Japan and the U.S. have more in common than I thought. I'm not sure if the cyclist/pedestrian accidents have gone up that much in the United States, but I do know that (I'm going out on a limb here) the majority of both cyclists & pedestrians that I see are extremely careless.
The cyclists always seem to be in a race. It's not about getting from here to there, relaxing, enjoying nature, or even functional commuting. It's, "How fast can I go on these wheels?" I have to admit, I'm totally puzzled by this attitude and amazed at how prevalent it is.
As for pedestrians, it's a different problem. Mind you, I notice this not only on trails & sidewalks, but also in stores, in schools, etc. The pedestrians are either a.) oblivious or b.) entitled. The carelessness sometimes amazes me & always angers me.
It gets worse when the pedestrians are in groups. It doesn't matter how few or how many there are, they have to take up the entire trail, aisle, or sidewalk. Then, if you politely ask to go by (not only if you're a bicyclist, but even if you're a walker or jogger) they give you a dirty look and very slowly & grudgingly move.
I know I'm not perfect, but I can honestly say that when I'm walking or riding my bike, just like when I'm driving my car, I'm constantly aware of what's going on around me, in front and in back. If someone is approaching, I make sure I move over to let them go by. When I'm with someone else, I request that they do the same.
Now, having reported all this negative stuff, I'm glad to report some positive news. Most of the behaviors I've chronicled in this post seem to occur on sidewalks, roads (bike/pedestrian lanes), indoors (such as in malls/stores), and on local trail. I have not noticed these problems on long distance trails such as rail-trails. It seems like people are more relaxed, courteous, and considerate on those trails.
Now, after the good and the bad, it sounds like this bicyle and pedestrian carelessness is a major problem in at least the United States and Japan. How about in the rest of the world? I'd like to hear the experiences and opinions of other readers. Am I overreacting or is there a lack of common sense and common courtesy when it comes to bicyclists and pedestrians? And what about the issue of the long-distance trails? Have any of you noticed that those seem to be much more civil? I look forward to any comments.