Vast majority of Japanese riders are scofflaws


How often do you ride a bicycle? graph of japanese opinionAt the start of September MyVoice surveyed their internet monitor pool to find out their bicycle usage habits. 13,091 people successfully complete the private opinion poll; 46% were male, 3% in their teens, 21% in their twenties, 38% in their thirties, 25% in their forties, and 13% aged fifty or older.

It may be interesting to refer to a survey from last year on carrying children on bicycles. Riding is downright dangerous for not just the rider, but pedestrians and cars too, as rules of the road (or pavement) are mostly ignored. The average rider seems to treat ringing the bell or squeeking the brakes as a sign to everyone that says “Get out of the way or I’ll run you over!”

Note that the standard bicycle in Q2 is most often a heavy, single gear machine with front basket and very unsubtle brakes. When I was a kid, the nearest thing was the boring old three-speed Raleigh, which was probably more technically sophisticated than the current Japanese models!

Q1: About how often do you ride a bicycle? (Sample size=13,091)

Almost every day19.7%
A number of times per week14.6%
Once a week10.8%
Once a month7.6%
Have a bicycle but almost never use it22.2%
Don’t have a bicycle25.0%

Q2: What type of bicycle do you mostly ride? (Sample size=bicycle riders)

Standard bicycle75.7%
Compact bicycle8.5%
Mountain bike7.0%
Electrically assisted bicycle3.3%
Road racer0.8%
Other sports bicycle1.9%
No answer0.8%

Q3: What do you usually use your bicycle for? (Sample size=bicycle riders, multiple answer)

Commuting to railway/bus station20.2%
Commuting all the way to work or school19.7%
Leisure trips15.9%
Going to hospital10.3%
Carrying children10.2%
Bicycle touring7.1%
No answer0.3%

Q4: If there is no bicycle lane on your route, where do you ride? (Sample size=bicycle riders, multiple answer)

Pavement (sidewalk)76.9%
Left side of road with no pavement52.6%
Left side of road with pavement39.5%
Right side of road with no pavement11.1%
Right side of road with pavement9.4%
Middle of road with no pavement3.0%
Middle of road with pavement2.4%
No answer0.4%

Note that Japan drives and rides on the left, and I suspect “middle of road” implies mid-lane, rather than tending towards the gutter. Note also since there are a lot of twisty, narrow streets all over Japan, depending on conditions most riding positions may be acceptable.

Q5: Which of the following things have you done? (Sample size=bicycle riders, multiple answer)

Ridden across a pedestrian crossing59.2%
Ridden against the traffic on the right side of the road46.3%
Ridden two or more abreast44.5%
Ridden two up42.8%
Ridden at night with no lights41.8%
Ridden on the pavement (sidewalk)39.5%
Ignored traffic signals36.1%
Not stopped at a STOP sign33.1%
Ridden carrying a large load29.0%
Ridden under the influence of alcohol24.9%
Ridden carrying an umbrella in a busy area18.0%
Used a mobile phone whilst riding15.4%
Done none of the above12.2%
No answer3.3%

Q6: What is your image of bicycles? (Sample size=13,091, multiple answer)

Small turning circle70.5%
Good for health48.8%
Difficult to use when hot or cold, etc27.6%
Respectful of the environment26.1%
In the way9.6%
Good design or colour1.7%
None of the above1.7%
No answer0.9%
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