|A common Japanese bicycle|
Even with the amzing public transport they have, bicycles are still a common choice for transportation. You can see many different people using bikes, from business men wearing suits, mothers balancing their children and carrying groceries, school children, grandparents,etc . Everyone can been see around Japan riding their bikes. It's not a law in Japan to wear a bike helmet!
With so many bicycles, there are of course some problems with bicycle parking. Many people ride their bicycle to the train station and leave it parked at the station as they ride a train to work. As you may imagine, there are many, many bicycles parked at every station!
|Outside a train station|
|where is my bike??|
Eco Cycle Parking
To deal with the problem of bicycle parking, the Japanese have created the Eco Cycle parking system. It is a system of underground bicycle parking which reduces the space needed for bicycle parking. The Eco Cycle can store up to 144 bicycles underground - retrieval and storage in seconds. The longest it takes is 10 seconds
|underground bicycle parking|
|These 'Gates' is where bicycles are parked and retrieved|
|At each gate there is a simple card reader. You have to take out a monthly contract to use these ones but there are some around Tokyo where anybody can park their bicycle.|
|The young lady swipes her card and a few seconds later the doors open. She docks the front wheel of her bicycle|
|and it gets pulled in to the dock. Doors close swiftly after.|
|This is what the bicycle park looks like underground.|
|The Eco Cycle caters for bicycles which are less than 1,950mm in length and less than 1,250mm in height. |
It costs 2,600 yen for a monthly ticket to use the park. Students pay 1,300 yen.