- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cyclist Killed on Tokyo's "Model Bicycle Intersection"

On the intersection of the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park in central Tokyo is one of the most dangerous intersections for bicycles and pedestrians alike. It is a model of how to build an intersection that is inconvenient, confusing and dangerous.

I have always thought it strange therefore that there are several signs posted right on this intersection that says that this is a "Model Intersection for Bicycles". Whenever cars are involved the meaning of the word "safety" is commonly construed creatively, but this one is a doozy.

The icing on the irony cake was finding a new sign there the other day asking for witnesses to come forward with information about an accident in which a bicycle was hit by a car (hit and run, no less) on March 4 on this very corner. You can just see the "Model Bicycle Intersection" sign in the background of this new sign, still there as if jeering or taunting at the poor person who was hit. When did we allow ourselves to become such a violent, heartless society?

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