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Accident Prevention Case Studies
These Kinds of Accidents Happen

Bicycles Must Travel on the Roadway


Bicycle Accidents on the Increase

As in other countries, it has been commonplace for bicycles to travel on the roadway. But, it was during the mid-1960’s to mid-1970’s that there was a sudden proliferation of accidents involving bicycles and cars, and bicycles were permitted to travel on sideways. Under ordinary circumstances, this would have been just a temporary measure, but it became commonplace for bicycles to travel on sidewalks. As a result, there was an increase in the number of accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians. Deaths occurred, as well as accidents resulting in serious disabilities, and more than a few incidents of high damage compensation being paid.

自転車と歩行者の事故/スマキタ 自転車事故の起こりやすい状況を知っておこう!/スマートサイクル北九州

There are Instances When Bicycles Travelling on Sidewalks Can Be Dangerous!

You might assume that it is more dangerous for bicycles to travel on the roadway than on sidewalks, but in actuality, bicycles are involved in more accidents because of riding on the sidewalk than on the roadway, making sidewalk riding more dangerous. This is because it is more difficult for cars to be aware of bicycles when they are travelling on sidewalks. There are actually many reports of collisions between cars and bicycles at intersections when a bicycle that had been travelling on the sideway suddenly appears in an intersection and the car failed to notice it. Cyclist may feel they are safer on the sidewalk, but we highly encourage them to travel on the roadway where it is easier for cars to notice them.


Many Accidents Occur at Intersections!

Until now, it had been commonly accepted in Japan that bicycles should travel on sidewalks. But with the booming popularity of bicycles, increasing awareness of safety, and especially with the creation and improvement of bike lanes, there is a growing consciousness toward bicycles travelling on the roadway. Even with this, there is a large number of bicycle accidents occurring at intersections. You should be aware of where and the reasons why accidents occur and keep safe riding foremost in your mind.

What Kind of Accidents is Waiting to Happen?
Imagine yourself on a bicycle crossing at an intersection with a traffic light. The car in front of you is attempting to turn right, while the one behind you is trying to turn left, and there is a pedestrian crossing the intersection.

The car coming toward you suddenly turns right,

The car coming toward you suddenly turns right, and you collide with it as you move into the intersection.


A large vehicle ahead of you turns left and you get caught up in the turn!

You become involved in the accident because the large vehicle cannot see you in its mirrors; in other words, you are in its “blind spot.” When the vehicle turns, its rear wheels travel more into the inner part of the intersection than its front wheels.


You try to avoid a car turning left, but instead collide with the car coming from behind you.

The car in front turns left, but notices a pedestrian in the crosswalk and suddenly stops. When you try to go around the car, you collide with the car behind you which has suddenly changed lanes to the middle of the roadway.

You let down your guard just because the traffic light is green! Cross through the intersection only after scanning left and right to ensure it is safe to do so.
● When pedestrians are in close proximity, leave sufficient space between you and them and slow down so that you can stop suddenly if necessary.
● When an oncoming vehicle approaches you attempting to turn right, it is important to make it aware of your presence by making eye contact, raising your hand, or by other means.
● To avoid becoming caught up in a vehicle turning left ahead of you, always leave a sufficient amount of safety distance.

What danger lies in front of you?
As you ride your bicycle on the roadway, there is a truck parked right in front of you, and a car parked in the roadway on the opposite side.

You collide head on into the oncoming car!

You collide with the car coming toward you which is attempting to avoid the car parked on its side of the road.


The door of the vehicle you are trying to pass suddenly opens!

You collide into the door of the parked truck when it suddenly opens.


You collide into the car coming from behind!

Both of you try to go around a large vehicle, but you collide into the car coming from behind which is attempting to go around the same truck also.

When a car is stopped on the roadway up ahead of you, you should stop temporarily and do a safety check left and right and front and rear.
● First, stop and check in right and left and front and rear.
● When it is difficult for you to pass a large truck on the right side, move onto the sidewalk. (Watch out for pedestrians.)
● Be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the car so that if a door suddenly opens, it won’t hit you.
● If there is a vehicle behind you, wait until it passes.

Liability Issues with Bicycle Accidents

Head on collision with a pedestrian talking a walk. The pedestrian falls down unconscious.
A bicycle is riding downhill at night with its light on and hits a pedestrian taking a walk head on. The pedestrian falls down hitting their head, and still has not regained consciousness even after over five years.
(Decision by Kobe District Court, July 2013)
Cyclist attempts to pass along the inner side of a bus and the curb.Collides into passenger getting out of the bus.
A cyclist riding their bike on a strip on the side of the roadway attempts to pass between a stopped bus and the bus stop and runs over the foot of a passenger getting out of the bus. Falling out of the bus, the passenger sustains injuries to the head.
(Decision by Kyoto District Court, 1989)
A cyclist causes a head-on collision with a pedestrian who entered the roadway to attempt to avoid a telephone pole. The pedestrian falls down and suffers physical disabilities.
At night, a cyclist travels on the left edge of the road with the bike light off and crashes head on into a pedestrian who entered the roadway in order to avoid hitting a telephone pole. The pedestrian was knocked down, sustained head injuries, and was left with physical disabilities.
(Decision by Nagoya District Court, September 2002)
While riding on a sidewalk, a cyclist hits a pedestrian who was talking on a cell phone.
The cyclist was traveling on the sidewalk at a high speed and hits the pedestrian who had stopped and was standing in the middle of the sidewalk talking on a cell phone. The wheel of the bike hits the pedestrian’s foot, causing an injury.

(Decision by Chiba District Court, September 2003)

What if you caused an accident?


If the other person is injured, call an ambulance by dialing 119 immediately.

To avoid creating a second victim, move your bike to a safe place, such as into the sidewalk or another location.

Check the scene of the accident and report to the police the number of people injured, the circumstances, and other details.

Exchange names, addresses and contact information with the other people involved.


Is bicycle insurance necessary?

When you cause a bicycle accident resulting in injury to another person and possibly breaking or damaging their personal possessions, the victim may demand a high amount of damage compensation. Given incidents in the past of accidents causing injury and damage, it is very important that you take out insurance to be prepared in case you cause a bicycle accident.

自転車事故と保険 加害者となり責任を問われる場合/スマキタ

To ensure that financial compensation can be made in the event of a bicycle accident, there is a form of insurance called “Private Liability Insurance” which pays out when other people suffer injuries and/or their possessions are broken.


There is another form of insurance called “Accident Insurance” which is for when you yourself are involved in an accident and fall down or are subjected to other situations which cause injury to yourself. You can purchase the insurance at a “Bicycle Safety Maintenance Store” and your bicycle will be inspected and necessary maintenance work will be conducted. If your bicycle meets the basic standards, you will be given the “TS Mark Insurance” sticker which you affix to your bicycle. Should you be injured in an accident and if you cause injury to someone else, in both cases there would be a payout, as long as you are qualified to have the “TS Mark Insurance” sticker.


Private Liability Insurance Contract and Bicycle Insurance Coverage


 ※ It is also possible to take out Private Liability Insurance containing
 injury insurance, fire insurance, and car insurance.

第一種TSマーク 第二種TSマーク/スマキタ

What is TS Mark Insurance?

Bicycles that have been inspected and serviced by a bicycle safety mechanic and have been declared safe, may display the TS Mark. In doing so, the owner of the bicycle may take out insurance known as TS Mark Insurance. Coverage includes a maximum liability payment of ¥50 million, and provides compensation for injuries requiring hospitalization of 15 days or longer.

傷害保険 賠償責任保険/スマートサイクル北九州

The validity period for TS Mark Insurance is one year after the inspection and servicing work was completed. Don’t forget to renew!

The TS Mark Insurance only remains valid for a period of one year after the day the inspection and required servicing was completed. You must take care to maintain your bike regularly and make sure its insurance never lapses.