By the book? Not so much
I have recently purchased an electrical bicycle for an easy commute with my toddler and it made me see yet again that for a country that loves rules so much, some of them are being ignored on a constant basis. When it gets to safety on the road, not many are willing to sacrifice their comfort. Taxis in Japan is a unique phenomenon on their own but taxi drivers are not the most radical offenders on the road, mothers are. Japanese moms on bikes simply don’t care. They never stop at STOP signs, they never slow down. I am now one of them and it made me notice even more just how many rules they break. Some don’t even look to the sides when they cross the street.
Last year, the ministry of land, transport, infrastructure and tourism has tighten the bolts for the bicycle drivers putting in place a penalty system similar to what they use for car drivers. Yet, the rules are being broken anyway. Why is it that being somewhere on time is more important than getting there in one piece? Some of the kids sitting in the back or front don’t even use helmets and some mothers ride bicycle while being pregnant or with their little babies strapped to their chest, their little heads bobbing around!! If they are so liberal with the safety rules why is it that they can’t go left or right when it gets to something significantly less important? Why do they abide notoriously ridiculous rules like dressing your freezing child into nothing but a school uniform (shorts!!!) in winter? Why? Because the school has a dress code? Because everyone else do it? If you are so by the book and in sync with the system, why don’t you follow the safety rules as well? Why do you put your child and yourself and other pedestrians in danger? On several occasions my son was almost run over and always by a mom on an electrical bike. It’s such a mystery to me.
Discipline is great but so is a little insubordination. My rule of thumb – use good judgment and ignoring the safety rules just because the accidents are rare is the sign of a poor judgment to me. Maybe accidents are indeed rare but the nuisance to other people – well it happens every single day. I’d choose to ignore dress code rules over safety rules any day.