4.How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents
  Based on the characteristics of bicycle accidents reported so far, safety points for avoiding bicycle accidents are summarized below. Readers are recommended to practice the safety points in order to acquire safe bicycling skill. It is also hoped that homes and schools will make good use of the safety points in providing necessary education on bicycling rules and manners.
(1) Fundamental Concepts
  * The running rules for bicycles are basically the same as those for automobiles, with a minimum number of exceptions.
  * Bicyclists must observe the traffic rules:
      1.Memorize and understand the traffic signals.
      2.Pay special attention to stop signs, stop requirement (stop at hazardous areas even without a stop sign), lefthand transit, and          making a turn (need to make a hand signal).
      3.Be sure to proceed inside special bicycle crossing sections wherever they are provided at or near an intersection.
(2) Advice to Bicyclists
  * Spot oncoming vehicles as early as possible.
      1.Always keep to the left.----Staying on the right delays the detection of the oncoming vehicle. (See Figure 19.)
      2.Make good use of the roadside mirrors on curves.
  * Let the oncomer spot you as early as possible.
      1.A good view of the oncomer does not guarantee the oncomer's good view of you.
      2.Observe the lefthand transit rule.----It is more difficult for the oncomer to find a bicyclist on the right. (See Figure 19.)
      3.Wear brighter-color clothes, hopefully attaching reflective stripes.
      4.Turn on the bicycle lights at dawn, dust and night.
      5.Do not cross the street if you have to weave through vehicles at stop or moving.
      6.When it becomes necessary to temporarily exit from the sidewalk into a roadway area, first be sure to stop or slow down to          check approaching vehicles.
  * Concentrate when riding a bicycle.
      1.Do not rush to buy time.----Take your time especially in the morning hours.
      2.Refrain from gang-bicycling.----Group chatting limits concentration and can even lead to a dangerous hasty crossing by slower          members.
      3.Exercise attention even on a familiar routine road.
  * Other Advice
      1.Stop whenever there is a risk of impeding a pedestrian's passage.----Sidewalks are for pedestrians.
      2.Watch out for automobiles even if you are on a sidewalk.----Especially when you have to stay on a righthand sidewalk, be          careful of automobile trying to make a left turn from your right
      3.Do not overtake a slowing automobile.---There is a reason when an automobile must slow down..

Fig.19 Delayed Spotting of oncoming Vehicles by Bicyclists in Righthand Transit

  (3) Key Points in Bicyclist Education
      1.Teach bicycle operation techniques (riding posture, descending procedure, braking method, etc.).
      2.Issue bicycle rider's permits to heighten safety consciousness. (Ex. A bicyclist's license scheme is in force by the Arakawa          Ward of Tokyo.)
      3.Think of yourself from others' perspectives.
         -Bicyclists as seen by pedestrians-
         -Bicyclists as seen by drivers-
         Different perspectives will stimulate the bicyclists' safety consciousness.

Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA)