危ない自転車 運転マナー欠如が事故を招く

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 24, 2012)
Rising tide of bicycle accidents calls for education, enforcement
危ない自転車 運転マナー欠如が事故を招く(10月23日付・読売社説)

Bicycling through gaps between pedestrians at high speed. Furiously ringing a bell at people walking ahead. Such dangerous and reckless behavior by bicyclists continues without end.

Urgent measures must be taken to make bicycle riders obey traffic rules.

There were about 140,000 accidents involving bicycles last year, accounting for 20 percent of all road traffic accidents and reflecting a recent uptrend in the percentage of such accidents.

Accidents include those between bicycles and automobiles, bicycles and pedestrians and bicycles and bicycles. Showing a remarkable increase are accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians. Last year saw 2,800 such accidents, a 50 percent rise over the past decade.

According to the National Police Agency, accidents in which bicycle riders are at fault have been significant. Behind such accidents are reckless cycling on walkways, ignoring traffic signals, drunk riding, riding with a passenger and bicycling while talking on a mobile phone.


Pedestrian-first rules vital

Lack of riding manners, it can be said, cause accidents.

Bicycles are vehicles that are easily available. But they are classified as light vehicles by law and riders are obliged to observe the Road Traffic Law. The law makes it mandatory for bicycles to run on the road. But as an exception, bicycles are permitted to use sidewalks when riding on roads is deemed dangerous, as in the case of thoroughfares.

Speeding on sidewalks is prohibited. Pedestrian-first rules must be thoroughly driven home.

Police launched a crackdown on dangerous bicycle riding in October last year. Almost a full year has passed since then but the number of accidents has not shown the hoped-for decline.

As for traffic violations by bicycle riders, there is no system in place to impose fines on violators, as there is for violations by drivers of automobiles. Even if violators are caught, punishment is no more than a caution in almost all cases. For this reason, simply strengthening enforcement would not deter dangerous riding.


Seminars eyed for violators

The NPA established an expert panel earlier this month to begin studying a system that would make it mandatory for violators to attend safety seminars.

The proposed seminars would teach that bicycles are vehicles that may pose threats to pedestrians. The seminars would introduce cases in which people died after being hit by bicycles and the riders ended up paying damages. If the seminars serve as an opportunity to learn the danger of bicycle riding, they will contribute to enhancing riders' awareness of safety.

A system has been introduced in Mitaka and Musashino, both in Tokyo, to give preference in the allocation of rights to bicycle parking spots to those who voluntarily take part in safety seminars. The response to these offers exceeded the capacity of the seminars. The number of bicycle accidents has reportedly dropped by 30 percent in the two cities since the system was introduced.

With the Mitaka and Musashino cases as a reference point, we suggest that police and local governments cooperate in studying measures to prevent dangerous riding.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 23, 2012)
(2012年10月23日01時21分  読売新聞)

0 件のコメント: