"National bicycle policy needed" (Japan Times 26th Feb. 2012)

Research Cooperative
04/03/12 12:14:05PM
@chief-admin

Under this headline, a very well-written editorial was published in The Japan Times, a major English-language daily newspaper in Japan.

The editorial begins by reporting that Shizuoka Prefecture has revised traffic rules and opened new one-way bicycle lanes in Shizuoka City. It then points out that Japan is the third largest cycling nation in the world, after China and the Netherlands, but lacks a coherent central-government plan to make bicycle riding a greater part of the transportation network.

The author notes that creating effective "bicycle infrastructure is more a matter of thoughtful design than of costly construction". Other key points made are that: "Bicycles are the most sustainable and efficient form of urban transportation. With the right planning, they smoothly interface with the rest of the transportation network."

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My dream is to see cities making the infrastructure for bicycles a priority in urban transport planning.

In densly populated cities, space currently used for parking cars on private and public land could be opened up (or returned to their previous use) for food gardens and orchards.

Community car parking facilities could be linked to nearby residential areas by bicycle lanes, and car ownership should be shared more, so that more people can enjoy occasional use of cars at less cost to themselves and to the environment.

I hope that discussions in this newly formed group can introduce some of the research that has been carried out on: car sharing systems, bicycle engineering, small-car design, electric vehicles, bus transport systems, railways and train design, energy efficiency at the system level, network integration, urban planning and public policy development, modern uses of horse-drawn transport, and so on.