Osaka seen

by chuwa on May 13, 2010

After reading the article “Bicycles on pavements: Does it work in Japan?” by Paul Barter, I have always wanting to find out how can bicycle and pedestrian share the foot path peacefully in Japan? So during the last trip to Osaka, I took my folding bike and experience first hand to cycle on the pavement there, amongst the cyclists and pedestrians.

Lots of cyclist, old and young cycling on the pavement and peacefully mix with pedestrians in Osaka, Japan

Lots of cyclist, old and young cycling on the pavement and peacefully mix with pedestrians in Osaka, Japan

An old lady, Oba-san looking at me while prepare to ride her bike on the pavement in Osaka, Japan

An old lady, Oba-san looking at me while prepare to ride her bike on the pavement in Osaka, Japan

At first sight the mix of cyclists and pedestrians is like asking for trouble. There are so many cyclists riding on the pavement it appears that it is very dangerous for the pedestrian, especially children and elderly who are more vulnerable. However when I was walking there, I didn’t sense any threat from the cyclists at all. they just ride very carefully not to hurt other people walking. The cyclists slow down when they approach pedestrian from behind, never demanding, just follow slowly if the space is not wide enough for them to overtake. They always overtake safely. A few times cyclists almost hit me from behind when I was taking picture and wondering on the pavement, probably moving in a less expected manner and didn’t notice there is cyclists behind (they never use their bell). The cyclist always manage to stop before they hit me, and never fail to offer their apology even though I was the one “asking for trouble” by not walking in a predictable way. When I was on my bike, I try to follow what the other cyclist do- approach the pedestrian slowly and carefully, anticipating any unpredictable movement and overtake only when there is enough space and safe to do so (never ring my bell!). It is actually very pleasant to ride on the pavement – it is smooth, and have many zero-kerb height portions that cyclists can easily move in or out of the pavement and onto the road.

Group of youth cycling across the pedestrian crossing  in Osaka, Japan

Group of youth cycling across the pedestrian crossing in Osaka, Japan

The bicycle sign on the crossing clearly indicate this is a share crossing for cyclist and pedestrians. Notice there is no kerb to hop when moving from road to pavement. Osaka, Japan

The bicycle sign on the crossing clearly indicate this is a share crossing for cyclist and pedestrians. Notice there is no kerb to hop when moving from road to pavement. Osaka, Japan

A sign on the cycling segment of a foot path- to remind cyclist of the pedestrian.  Notice there is no kerb to hop when moving from road to pavement. Osaka, Japan

A sign on the cycling segment of a foot path- to remind cyclist of the pedestrian. Notice there is no kerb to hop when moving from road to pavement. Osaka, Japan

Two elderly riding bicycle in the morning.  Osaka, Japan

Two elderly riding bicycle in the morning. Osaka, Japan

Apart from pavement and cycling paths, cyclists are seen almost everywhere, including area would be considered “restricted” in Singapore. All perfect examples that my folding bike was suitable for riding on the streets of Osaka, portable enough to transport on flights to Cozumel and sturdy enough to hold up to the daily grind. For example in front of the Kyobashi train station, it is a very busy place in the morning. Lots of people rushing to work.

A smart lady riding towards the Kyobashi train-station in Osaka, Japan

A smart lady riding towards the Kyobashi train-station in Osaka, Japan

Another old lady riding in the Kyobashi train-station area in Osaka, Japan

Another old lady riding in the Kyobashi train-station area in Osaka, Japan

Young lady riding in the Kyobashi train-station area in Osaka, Japan

Young lady riding in the Kyobashi train-station area in Osaka, Japan

Another young lady riding in the Kyobashi train-station area in Osaka, Japan. She seems happy in the morning.

Another young lady riding in the Kyobashi train-station area in Osaka, Japan. She seems happy in the morning.

Listening to music, singing along the way, looks like she is really enjoying the ride. Osaka, Japan.

Listening to music, singing along the way, looks like she is really enjoying the ride. Osaka, Japan.

Another

Another lady riding to her music, singing along the way. Osaka, Japan

Young

Young mothers bring their children on bicycle. Osaka, Japan

Young

Young mothers bring their children on bicycle. Osaka, Japan

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