Attention expat gaijin and Japanophiles

Byron Kidd, an expatriate Australian who works and bikes in the Tokyo area, has asked me to forward this appeal for petition signatures to a wider audience.

Although 16% of Tokyo commuters ride a bike to work, this 16th most populous city on the planet has only nine kilometers of cycle paths. Byron points out that many Tokyo bike commuters ride their bikes on sidewalks already crowded with pedestrian traffic.

The petition will be forwarded to the candidates running for governor of Tokyo. The election takes place February 9, 2014. Even if you cannot vote in the Tokyo elections, petition organizers believe it’s important to let the leaders of a world-class city know that cycling is an important topic.

Japan is preparing for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Tokyo; the previous governor Naoki Inose was forced to resign in December after a financial politics scandal. The cycle petitioners note the international presence with the ’20 games and believe investing now in bike infrastructure and a cycle share program will cast Tokyo in a favorable, forward looking light.

Learn more at Tokyo By Bike.


  1. It’s the most populous in terms of the metro area (which I realize is what most people think of when they think “Tokyo”). Because this is a discussion on the Tokyo governor, however, I limited the population ranking to the boundaries of the 23 wards. In terms of the city limits, Tokyo is roughly number 16 or so (give or take a couple of places, depending on the source of data).

  2. Thanks for promoting our cause.

    We really do need the support of cyclists from around the world as often it is pressure from overseas, and trying to “keep up” with other countries that provides the impetus for change.

    Please do take the time to sign this worthwhile petition. Thank you.

  3. ‘Byron Kidd’ is referring to something called ‘Gai-Atsu’, or ‘Outside-Pressure’. It’s the only thing responsible for progress in Japan, as negative as that sounds. End of feudalism? Admiral Perry’s ‘Black Ships’. The vote for commoners and women (among other basic human rights)? The American ‘Occupation’. Proper reporting on Fukushima? Foreign news leaking into the Japanese blogosphere. Japan signing the international child-custody agreement (we’ll see how that gets enforced…), the same.

    This country would be a lot more charming if it didn’t need to nuclear weapons or a total regime change for each improvement.

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