- CNTV English - CCTV News

More cycle to work following earthquake

03-01-2012 10:58 BJT

Watch Video

Play Video

In Japan, more and more people are choosing to cycle to work following the massive earthquake last march - which disrupted the country's public transportation infrastructure. Jeremy Spiro-Winn has the story.

Stations were shut, and passengers stranded -- this was the situation in Tokyo after the massive earthquake that struck the country's northeastern coast on March 11, 2011. Thousands were unable to get home, staying overnight in offices after engineers closed most of the city's subways and commuter lines. But cyclists like Masaaki Hayashi faced no such problem. After the quake rattled the capital's transport infrastructure, Hayashi weaved his bike through bumper-to-bumper traffic on a 20-kilometer ride home into Tokyo's suburbs.

Masaaki Hayashi, bicycle commuter, said, "On March 11 I was working at the office when the big earthquake hit and the building began to shake really hard. On the television, I heard that the transportation system had ground to a halt. There were some people at the office who stayed there overnight, others who walked home. But because I was commuting into work by bike, I was able to cycle all the way home. You remember the streets -- so if there's an earthquake and the transport system is down, you can get home. It's a good way to prepare."

Bicycle groups said numbers of cycle commuters have spiked since the earthquake. The Japan Bicycle Promotion Institute said in the six months from March to August last year, domestic shipments of new bicycles boomed more than 15 percent compared to the same period in 2010.

Hiroshi Uehara, manager of Nicole Eurocycle, said, "Well you never know when the next disaster will hit, so we're seeing a big increase in customers just wanting bikes that can get them into work on their own steam -- you know, looking for bikes that you don't have to be an athlete to ride as there are some people still afraid of the high-end ones. There's also been an increase in customers who already have bikes looking to get them repaired."

With many commuters dusting off old bikes rather than buying new ones, The Japan Cycling Association (JCA) said the real increase in cyclists on the streets could be as high as five times the level before March. But the worry for the JCA now is ensuring the safety of Tokyo's new cycle aficionados. Government statistics in 2010, showed that cyclists made up 16 percent of road fatalities in Japan, compared to 3.7 percent in France, or 5.8 in the UK.

Keiichi Nagasawa, managing director of Japan Cycling Assoc., said, "Parents tell children they should cycle on the pavement -- and because of that bad habit, accidents are increasing on the sidewalks. It also leads to a tendency for people to ignore the rules when they're actually on the road, like running red lights or not cycling on the left. That's why accidents are increasing."

New police guidelines issued in October, in response to the surge in bicycles on the streets, recommend most cyclists use the road - with sidewalks limited to elderly or younger riders.


Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program