Aug 9, 2016
Crazy Bike Parking
I often see bikes parked in a way which blocks other bikes from moving. There's a stereotype that Japanese people are all nice, but to me, this seems so selfish and rude. I hate it when I have to move someone's bike so I can unlock mine and move it.
I think there is a culture acceptable of people just moving each others' bikes around. But why park your bike in an annoying or inconvenient place at all? 'Double parking' bicycles so they stick out into the sidewalk or street should be an obvious no, especially for a country as organized as Japan. Sometimes there are parking lines painted on the ground for the angle to park bikes at, and it's completely disregarded. I often see rows of bikes parked right in front of signs that say, "Bicycle Parking Prohibited."
In front of the main station around here, there are older men (maybe volunteers) patrolling the bike parking, some of which is technically not allowed to be there. They like to move the bikes around if they're in a walkway or crammed too close together. Once they moved my bike at least three meters to a new row, and for a few minutes I thought it had been stolen.
I feel like this is a case of a drunken driver or just someone in a really bad mood. Maybe both.
I do really like that riding a bicycle as your primary means of transportation is so common in Japan. There is usually somewhere to park a bike and we don't need to look for something to lock it to because the Dutch style built-in locks are enough most of the time. Even in the more car centered suburbs, a lot of people still use bikes, which means it's a safe way to get around.
Bike parking laws vary in strictness around the country. Obviously it's not so strict here. How's your area?
I like snacks, Engrish, cats, plants eating buildings, riding a bike, photography, painting, onsen, traveling, playing board games with my nerdy Japanese husband, and living in Japan. I blog at https://helloalissa.wordpress.com/
I very much enjoyed reading this. It's so true (and infuriating). I've long come to the conclusion that some people are just completely unaware that they have to consider other people's needs, feeling, and so on. On a slightly different note, when I was an ALT, I used to rent a space for my bike at the station where the school was. I went home for Christmas one year, the rent was still paid, but because my bike didn't move for about 10 days, the local government came, broke the extra bike lock (probably not difficult - I purchased it at a 100 yen store), and impounded the bike at the city office. The vice principal of the school came with me to get it back, for which I had to hand over 1000 yen. They'll to anything for a bit of cash will local governments. It really bothered me! I do love pottering around on my mamachari though.
@SalarymanJim That's so ridiculous about your previous bike! Maybe they expected you to tell them you wouldn't be using it daily for a while, but come on, winter vacation, duh. Around here they put up notices and put tags on bikes, but still give us at least a month to signal that it's not an abandoned bike. So glad you liked this. And it's a good thing there are only few people who are so self centered (or there might be more throwing of bikes to knock down the badly parked ones).
@helloalissa Well, nature sometimes gets involved, too. A good strong gust of wind can get the bikes nicely lined up. Although they'll all be on the ground!!