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Thread: Street manners

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Red face Street manners

    I have just been watching a TV programme on NHK2 called 車社会日米比較 (Car society : Japan-US comparison). A Western (presumably American) presentator made a long monologue in Japanese explaining basically that Japanese had bad driving manners. He mentioned that :
    - When the traffic light turn amber (yellow), American try to stop, while Japanese almost always accelerate.
    - In the US (and Europe), pedestrians have priority over cars anywhere (not just on pedestrian crossings), and car drivers usually respect that, while in Japan they care very little and almost crush you. If someone tries to cross the street in a place where there are no pedestrian crossing, for example, Japanese won't stop to let pedestrian pass.
    - Japanese bikers (bicycle or motorbikes ?) tend to drive dangerously and not care about pedestrians.

    I will also add that bicycle lanes are almost unheard of outside pedestrian crossings (except for a few hundreds meters on Showa-dori in Tokyo), and this time pedestrians have very bad manners. Everyday, I am confonted to pedestrians who monopolize the bicycle lanes on pedestrian crossings, even when there is space enough on the pedestrian zone. I try to always cross on the bikes' lane, and the Japanese facing me wouldn't budge a cm to let me through. I almost have to stop and wait they go around me, or go on the cars' lane. Yesterday, as it was raining and I was riding my bike with an umbrella, the people facing me could see I had difficult steering with one hand, but didn't free the bike's lane even as I fixed them in the eyes meaning "but what are you doing on the bike's lane, and why won't you let me through !".

    So, yes, irresponsibilities (see also Cycling in Tokyo and bad manners when it comes to stranger in the street seem the norm in Japan. It seems an obvious enough difference with Western countries to let a foreigner lecture the Japanese on the subject on NHK. Funny in country so praised for its well-behaved and ultra-polite people. Maybe that is there way of letting the pressure down.

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  2. #2
    Decommissioned ex-admin thomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Yesterday, as it was raining and I was riding my bike with an umbrella, the people facing me could see I had difficult steering with one hand, but didn't free the bike's lane even as I fixed them in the eyes meaning "but what are you doing on the bike's lane, and why won't you let me through !"
    Uh oh, biking with umbrella...? Please see the article I have just posted to the thread you linked...

    Cyclists who are found talking on their cell phones or riding while holding an umbrella may receive a maximum prison sentence of three months or be fined up to 50,000 yen.

  3. #3
    Jinushi
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    Oh my goodness! How much is 50,000 yen in American dollars? It sounds like a lot.

    That is weird that they are not very polite to bicyclists, especially when you consider how many people ride bicycles in Japan.

  4. #4
    Ever have tastie wheats? Nezumi's Avatar
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    $453.61 america money

  5. #5
    Jinushi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi
    $453.61 america money
    Thanks, Nezumi!!

  6. #6
    Ever have tastie wheats? Nezumi's Avatar
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    Word. My homie G.

  7. #7
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satori
    That is weird that they are not very polite to bicyclists, especially when you consider how many people ride bicycles in Japan.
    It's not very polite by bicyclists to ride with an umbrella in one hand. Gosh, pedestrians with an umbrella are already a pain in the ***, but cyclists?!
    I ride regularly myself, but I never needed an umbrella while riding. All you need is appropriate clothing (or patience, if it rains too heavily).

    The fine is ridiculously high, though. Here in Germany you would have a policeman come to you & ask you to put your hands on the handle bar, only if he has a very bad mood you might get fined. But comparatively moderate, 10 to 20 €, I think (though for what I know umbrella is allowed here, anyway, but cell phone is theoretically forbidden).

  8. #8
    The Funky Homosapien. King of Tokyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi
    Word. My homie G.
    Hahaha.. That was so lame it was funny.

    And.. Er.. Japanese people.. Umm.. Don't.. Be.. Rude.. And.. All.. That..

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  9. #9
    Decommissioned ex-admin thomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    It's not very polite by bicyclists to ride with an umbrella in one hand. Gosh, pedestrians with an umbrella are already a pain in the ***, but cyclists?!
    What do you think about cyclists using their cell phones? Quite common here too.

    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    I ride regularly myself, but I never needed an umbrella while riding. All you need is appropriate clothing (or patience, if it rains too heavily).
    It is simply dangerous, hence the law. However, according to my observations Japanese have a cat-like antipathy as far as rain is concerned (that involves cyclists as well as pedestrians, lolol), an antipathy that's stronger than any legal stipulation.

    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    The fine is ridiculously high, though. Here in Germany you would have a policeman come to you & ask you to put your hands on the handle bar, only if he has a very bad mood you might get fined.
    I agree, the fines are too high. That's why the regulation does not seem to be enforced. Sadly.

    My solution: I only ride on streets. Car traffic is so much safer.

  10. #10
    Hentai Koutaishi Lina Inverse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    It's not very polite by bicyclists to ride with an umbrella in one hand. Gosh, pedestrians with an umbrella are already a pain in the ***, but cyclists?!
    I ride regularly myself, but I never needed an umbrella while riding. All you need is appropriate clothing (or patience, if it rains too heavily).

    The fine is ridiculously high, though. Here in Germany you would have a policeman come to you & ask you to put your hands on the handle bar, only if he has a very bad mood you might get fined. But comparatively moderate, 10 to 20 €, I think (though for what I know umbrella is allowed here, anyway, but cell phone is theoretically forbidden).
    Not only theoretically... you need a hands-off speaking device for your cell phone so you have your hands free, otherwise there is a high fine - around 100€-200€, I think.
    Same goes for an umbrella or anything else that would occupy your hands - you must have your hands free, otherwise there's a high fine. The law about this is relatively new, from April of this year.

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    All you need is appropriate clothing (or patience, if it rains too heavily).
    When going to work in suits there is no appropriate clothing. Btw, I find that pedestrians with umbrellas are more annoying that cyclists with umbrella, because they care much less, chat together without looking at whom they direct their umbrella, and usually do not try to avoid hitting people, while cyclists like me swerve their umbrella from left to right on purpose to slalom between the slow pedestrian crowd.

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    What do you think about cyclists using their cell phones? Quite common here too.
    I find it easier to talk on a mobile phone while riding (slowly, advancing only with my feet as if I was walking) than with an umbrella, because 1) it is much smaller and one can easily grip back on the handle anytime, 2) there is no external contrain like th rain, 3) visibility is better than with an umbrella and there is no risk hitting a passerby with the phone. Some people can talk and still concentrate on where they are going, others need to stop. That also depends who is on the phone. I only talk to my wife on the phone while riding, and never at full speed. But many Japanese just don't look where they are going, even going slowly, and zigzag dangerously while doing so.

  12. #12
    Jinushi
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    Here in the States, too many people have abused cell phones, so now it's against the law to use a cell phone while driving unless it is set on "hands free." No problem for my car phone, but people who have portable cell phones have to buy some type of vehicle hookup device in order to use it as a "hands free" phone. I believe the fine is pretty hefty too, although I'm not certain what the amount is. However, I have no idea if it's against the law to use a cell phone while riding a bicycle. I'm not sure I have ever heard of any bicycle violations like that. Maybe I should research the issue and see what I turn up--at least for here in California.

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    to get hands free all you need is the little microphone/headphone thing... it's like 10 bucks.. ofcourse then you wanna put your phone in your pocket, cuz having a string between you and wherever you put your phone (like in a little phone-holder in the middle of the dashboard) could easily get annoying..
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  14. #14
    Jinushi
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    I didn't see anything with respect to bicycles and cellular phone usage. I know it's a fairly new restriction for cars. And I didn't see anything at all about umbrellas!

    California Codes:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

    Sorry, my direct links wouldn't work, but here are the code sections:

    CALIFORNIA CODES
    VEHICLE CODE
    SECTION 21200-21212

    CALIFORNIA CODES
    STREETS AND HIGHWAYS CODE
    SECTION 890-894.2



  15. #15
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    What do you think about cyclists using their cell phones? Quite common here too.
    Actually, it all depends. When there is no traffic and no pedestrians around, do what you want (at least I do). But when there is traffic or people around, I think, it's simply irresponsible not to have both hands at the handle bar (although, when you wear glasses when it rains, the situation might be just as dangerous even with both hands holding it). Cell phones may be easier to handle, but it still distracts you.

    I agree, the fines are too high. That's why the regulation does not seem to be enforced. Sadly.
    Typical politician thought. "If we make the fines high enough, people will be so afraid that they automatically stick to the rules." Does not really work this way.

    My solution: I only ride on streets. Car traffic is so much safer.
    I most often ride on the streets as well. Simply because you can drive faster there. Car drivers usually pay much more attention than pedestrians.


    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    When going to work in suits there is no appropriate clothing. Btw, I find that pedestrians with umbrellas are more annoying that cyclists with umbrella, because they care much less, chat together without looking at whom they direct their umbrella, and usually do not try to avoid hitting people, while cyclists like me swerve their umbrella from left to right on purpose to slalom between the slow pedestrian crowd.
    Actually, there are special anoraks for cyclists, some poncho-like thingies, very thin & light, can be carried in a trousers' pocket. Much better than an umbrella, although it might look ridiculous.
    When you are slow enough, it might not be too dangerous, but I would still avoid to use an umbrella.

    I definitely agree on pedestrians with umbrellas. That's a reason why I try to avoid to go to the city centre when it rains.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lina Inverse
    Not only theoretically... you need a hands-off speaking device for your cell phone so you have your hands free, otherwise there is a high fine - around 100€-200€, I think.
    Same goes for an umbrella or anything else that would occupy your hands - you must have your hands free, otherwise there's a high fine. The law about this is relatively new, from April of this year.
    Theoretically, as in "I never heard of a cyclist being fined for using a cell-phone." Umbrellas are allowed AFAIK, else it wouldn't make much sense for the ADFC (German cyclist organisation) to include in their tips that you shouldn't use one. Then they would have written that it's not allowed. Are you sure the law applies for bicyclists?

  16. #16
    Jinushi
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    Well, here in California, the law basically refers to riding while under the influence, bicycle safety features, such as brakes, reflector lights, etc. I didn't see anything about umbrellas or cell phones. Section 21205 of the Vehicle Code did specify the following with respect to how many hands have to be on the handlebars:

    21205. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
    So what is the difference with a cell phone, as long as you keep one hand on the handlebars?

  17. #17
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Maciamo,
    Have you seen anybody on a bike ringing a little bell to warn pedestrians?

    You should get one of those bells and try to get your way, I know how those slow-walking-Japanese people can be very annoying, although you might get a dirty look from them.

  18. #18
    Regular Member mizer's Avatar
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    I'm interested that in the first post, you imply that in Europe, as well as the US, car drivers are more considerate to pedestrians. I'm not saying it isn't true, but in England I don't really see it much. In fact, drivers are mostly quite inconsiderate... they don't always indicate to turn a corner, so pedestrian has to guess if they are going to turn or not, and you certainly have priority *only* on the proper crossings! Of course, you can cross if it's not busy, but cars won't slow down for you then. Also, there are many people - probably most - who go through the traffic light on amber, that's normal! (And red, too!)

    In England the cyclists get the worst deal. Cars think they shouldn't be allowed on the road, and pedestrians think they shouldn't be allowed on the pavement. Aw! There are a few exceptions, but mostly, cycle lanes are worse than useless - they get squished between chicanes, last for about 10 meters and end without warning. I don't know the rules about umbrella, though - I never saw anyone do this :-D I wouldn't like to try it myself, lol.

  19. #19
    Go to shopping PopCulturePooka's Avatar
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    One thing that annoyed the living hell out of me in Japan was that even at pedestrian crossings, pedestrians had no chance half the time.

    See in Australia, at a zebra crossing that didn't have lights, a driver MUST stop if there are people waiting to cross. No buts. You see someone waiting you stop.

    In Japan that wasn't the case. You see someone waiting? Drive faster it seems. I was actually 10 minute late for a meeting at the station near my house once becuase I waited well over 5 or 6 minutes at a crossing waiting for SOMEONE to stop and let me cross. Ridiculous.

    Even at signalled crossings over in japan it seems drivers care little for pedestrians. Green man? You're driving? Just drive super slow through the intersection and force the pedestrians to wlak faster or run.

  20. #20
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    Maciamo,
    Have you seen anybody on a bike ringing a little bell to warn pedestrians?

    You should get one of those bells and try to get your way, I know how those slow-walking-Japanese people can be very annoying, although you might get a dirty look from them.
    Bikes usually have bells, but many people don't hear it, especially if it's a busy street, they are talking or drunk (or both), or old people too. Bells tend not to work in the rain (or right after when still wet). I also don't find it very polite to be ringing one's bell all the time. Now I just ride on the road with the cars. Anyway, the law in Japan says that bicycles should ride on the road rather than the pavement, but 99% of the people either don't know or don't care.

  21. #21
    Regular Member MeAndroo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Bikes usually have bells, but many people don't hear it, especially if it's a busy street, they are talking or drunk (or both), or old people too. I also don't find it very polite to be ringing one's bell all the time.
    I found bicycle bells to work surprisingly well, even with people on cell phones, at least where people COULD move. There are always instances in the heart of a city where you simply cannot move to one side or another as you walk. But there were cases where my friends and I would be walking and a crowd would be blocking the entire sidewalk. Our only course of action was to ring the bell of a parked bike, and it worked to perfection. I kept saying I was going to buy a bell just for the sake of moving people when I walk.
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    Egg TamagoKun's Avatar
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    Here in my city up in Canada you're required to stop at a marked crossing if there are people waiting to cross. Fine is something like $450 if i remember correctly if you don't stop. As far as stopping for people trying to cross at unmarked parts of the road, we are taught not to since that's considered jaywalking on their part.

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