samskivert: Zoom zip!

16 January 2004

I’m not sure how things are elsewhere in Asia, but in Japan, people ride their bikes on the sidewalks at very high speeds. Not a day passes when I don’t have a near-fatal collision with a speeding bicyclist on my way to class. The sidewalks are crowded with people, mind you. I have a hard enough time not bumping into other pedestrians without the zooming chariots of death screaming by periodically. It doesn’t help that my natural inclination is to veer the wrong way in a pinch. That’s brought me centimeters from disaster on more than one occasion.

There also seems to be no problem with doing it in the darkness of night. Fortunately, most people have the sense to turn on a headlight of some sort as they come barreling down upon you in excess of 15 miles an hour.

In Rome, I recall a certain sense of “unease” when riding in cars with Romans as they would casually slip through centimeter clearance having spaces without slowing from highway speeds, but as a pedestrian I never felt the sort of terror that I feel on a regular basis strolling down the sidewalks of Japan.

©1999–2015 Michael Bayne