The Japanese have a strong communal culture, generally speaking. But when it comes to bikes in cities, there’s a self-fulfilling cycle of tolerance that occurs: as more people ride bikes, more people become sensitive to the needs of bike riders. So it’s not uncommon to find bikes left unlocked on the streets in Tokyo. And whereas riding on the sidewalk is seen as taboo in Western cities, Baur points out that it’s a regular habit in the city.
I recently spoke to a 75 year old colleague who’d just returned from a holiday in Japan where he went cycling. He said that, even while cycling on the road, never once did he feel threatened by cars.
This is one of the fascinating things about Japanese culture that’s hard to export. And since human nature is hard to change unfortunately that means having to pay for segregated cycling paths.
Maybe one day Singapore will get there.