Bicycle Parking – making the streets safe for more cycling


Everyone, like even your mum rides a bicycle in Japan.  As transport options go they are cheap, easy to maintain and easy to park.  The last one is a bit too easy sometimes.

Railway stations often have large parking areas for bicycles, sometimes outhouses with multiple levels of racks.  Take  a walk around a Japanese city or outside a department store and the sheer number of bicycles and mini motorbikes is astonishing.  So too are the signs imploring the always polite and law-abiding not to park bikes there.  Recently the problem of bikes parked and abandoned must have reached a crisis point and the friendly reminders needed some reinforcement.

In Sannomiya, several de facto parking areas have been converted for paid, secure bicycle parking.  Garden boxes have been removed to install racks with integrated locks and a pay system.

Bicycle and motorbike parking warden issuing warnings (orange notices).  Bicycle parking area behind
Bicycle and motorbike parking warden issuing warnings (orange notices). Bicycle parking area behind

All bicycles are registered, so issuing an infringement notice is relatively easy.  I’m not sure if owners are being fined or merely cautioned with orange bits of paper; I haven’t seen any bicycles impounded though that option exists.

Bicycle Parking -Sannomiya Kobe.  Suddenly there's a footpath to walk down!
Bicycle Parking -Sannomiya Kobe. Suddenly there’s a footpath to walk down!  And yes, that red bike does say “Ferrari”.

Motorcycles are also catered for, though with cables instead of racks.

Parking area for 50-150cc motorbikes - Sannomiya Kobe
Parking area for 50-150cc motorbikes – Sannomiya Kobe
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