I committed a faux pas in Tokyo last week. I was at a conference of the International Sociological Association, listening to a presentation by John Mock, an anthropologist at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. Professor Mock was explaining his findings from a study that showed how little provision there was for cyclists on the streets of Tokyo.
Cycle lanes are either absent altogether or inadequate. Some dead-end into barriers. As a result, pedestrians tend to ignore the cycling lanes, and cyclists ignore the rules, endangering pedestrians by riding on sidewalks, or riding on the wrong side of streets. I was amused by Professor Mock’s presentation, and, from time to time, I laughed, a bit obtrusively, I’m afraid.