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Cycling to work banned



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 21st 04, 01:15 PM
James Annan
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Default Cycling to work banned

Well, it hasn't been yet. But it has been threatened. This is at a Govt
funded (quasi-independent, the management structure is somewhat obscure)
scientific research lab in Japan (http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/eng/).
The main goal of the lab is the understanding and prediction of climate
change, and it issues plenty of warm fuzzy statemente about "Protecting
our Mother Earth", but when the bureaucratic chips are down, it seems
that it is more important to issue diktats and invent rules to outlaw
one of the most environmentally-friendly behaviours possible.

The real reason behind this is that my wife and I are recidivist
criminals. Yes, we ride a tandem (we both work at the same lab). It
seems that way back in the mists of time, some careless bureaucrat
drafted a law that was intended to prevent more than one person riding
on a standard bicycle, but which accidentally included tandems in the
prohibition. (Despite the law, carrying a passenger is very common, and
of course no-one enforces such a petty nonsense anyway.) Some
prefectures have actually changed the law to allow tandems, but
unfortunately not the one where we live and work.

Anyway, we rode a tandem before we came to Japan, and continued after
our arrival a few years ago. Some bureaucrat noticed this immediately,
and made disapproving noises, but we ignored him - he refused to give us
an official FRSGC badge for the bike, but we found this apparent
reprimand surprisingly easy to cope with. Three years later, and he (or
perhaps some replacement) is back with a vengeance. He has insisted that
we cannot continue to ride the tandem to work. If we continue, he will
ban all cycling for all members of staff. The justification for this
escalation (and whether is it in principle legally possible) is not
clear, and we haven't told any other cyclists yet. We don't want to stop
riding the tandem, as it is faster, safer and easier than riding single
bikes, and more fun too. People recognise us on our regular route, and
are friendly towards us, plus we've got a good tandem (um...3 tandems)
and no suitable single bikes. Every day we pass the same police boxes,
we have even met some policemen and of course they are not bothered
about us "flouting" such a petty, trivial and obviously accidental law.

In Japan (in a clear contrast with the UK), the commute to work is
partly the responsibility of the employer. For instance, an injury
during the commute counts as a industrial accident, and the employer
must pay for subsequent medical bills and sick pay (the latter which for
non-work-related injury and illness does not appear to be a statutory
requirement, or even part of our generally reasonable working
conditions). It is not clear to me why this responsibility should give
them the right to dictate methods of travel to work, but I have heard of
another company where driving to work was banned, and someone was fired
after having a crash and getting caught.

In the UK, I would happily tell the bureaucrat to **** off, but
unfortunately workers' rights are still a rather foreign concept here
and it is clear that any foreigner who kicks up too much of a fuss gets
sent home in short order (I have already caused more than my share of
trouble, and now is definitely not a good time to start any more).
Bureaucrats aside, I like it here, and am not in a rush to leave. But I
don't take kindly to small-minded petty jobsworths trying to push me
around. Any hints and tips for a sensible strategy will be gratefully
received.

James

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  #2  
Old January 21st 04, 01:28 PM
Colin Blackburn
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Posts: n/a
Default Cycling to work banned

On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 22:15:29 +0900, James Annan
wrote:

Well, it hasn't been yet. But it has been threatened. This is at a Govt
funded (quasi-independent, the management structure is somewhat obscure)
scientific research lab in Japan (http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/eng/).
The main goal of the lab is the understanding and prediction of climate
change, and it issues plenty of warm fuzzy statemente about "Protecting
our Mother Earth", but when the bureaucratic chips are down, it seems
that it is more important to issue diktats and invent rules to outlaw
one of the most environmentally-friendly behaviours possible.

[...]
In the UK, I would happily tell the bureaucrat to **** off, but
unfortunately workers' rights are still a rather foreign concept here
and it is clear that any foreigner who kicks up too much of a fuss gets
sent home in short order (I have already caused more than my share of
trouble, and now is definitely not a good time to start any more).
Bureaucrats aside, I like it here, and am not in a rush to leave. But I
don't take kindly to small-minded petty jobsworths trying to push me
around. Any hints and tips for a sensible strategy will be gratefully
received.


I think the standard answer would end withe the phrase, "...and bury the
body."

What I want to know is how they can possibly consider banning cycling when
they themselves has a research programme aimed at developing a
hydrological cycle.

Colin
--
  #3  
Old January 21st 04, 01:36 PM
Ryan Ginstrom
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Default Cycling to work banned


"James Annan" wrote in message
...
Well, it hasn't been yet. But it has been threatened.


Interesting situation.

If the person has the power to send you packing, and you really want to
stay, then I'd suck it up and pony up for some mama charis.

If he's just all talk, I'd continue to tell him to **** off. But just be
polite about it (I'll talk it over with my wife, I need to consider my
finances, ad infinitum)

--
Regards,
Ryan Ginstrom

  #4  
Old January 21st 04, 01:43 PM
Brett Robson
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Default Cycling to work banned

On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 22:15:29 +0900, James Annan ...


I can't give you any advice but only the observation that you won't get a reason
for this decision. The first "reason" is this is the policy. If you press the
point you might get "the decision was made after due consideration etc", then
possibly "we are concerned about your safety". You are very unlikely to be told
it is because of insurance etc...




..

----

someone who wants junk mail


  #5  
Old January 21st 04, 01:52 PM
Dick Muhfukkin Bagswing
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Default Cycling to work banned


Sorry but I have no hints or tips. Only this observation.

Of all the retarded things I have heard and/or faced since I have been in
this wonderful(I really think so,too)country....this is without a doubt
Number One on the Corky chart.........with a bullet!


Brian


  #6  
Old January 21st 04, 01:57 PM
Thomas
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Default Cycling to work banned

snippety snip

Any hints and tips for a sensible strategy will be gratefully
received.


Hmm, difficult one. Personally, I'd comply when commuting to work - no use
bringing your employer and colleagues into the slinging match.

Then start getting arsey: have people take photos and videos of the pair of
you on the tandem; write Haiku poetry dedicated to your love of cycling
during the beautiful seasons, what with the falling leaves 'n' all; hell,
get dedications of tandem cycling love from the natives. Do all this, bundle
up a big package and send it to the beaurocrat on a weekly basis.

Then, once the guy's sufficiently vitriolic, sneak on him to his boss.

Either way, should be fun.

Tom.


  #7  
Old January 21st 04, 02:09 PM
Stephen \(aka steford\)
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Posts: n/a
Default Cycling to work banned

James Annan wrote:
Well, it hasn't been yet. But it has been threatened. This is at a
Govt funded (quasi-independent, the management structure is somewhat
obscure) scientific research lab in Japan
(http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/eng/). The main goal of the lab is
the understanding and prediction of climate change, and it issues
plenty of warm fuzzy statemente about "Protecting our Mother Earth",
but when the bureaucratic chips are down, it seems that it is more
important to issue diktats and invent rules to outlaw one of the most
environmentally-friendly behaviours possible.

The real reason behind this is that my wife and I are recidivist
criminals. Yes, we ride a tandem (we both work at the same lab). It
seems that way back in the mists of time, some careless bureaucrat
drafted a law that was intended to prevent more than one person riding
on a standard bicycle, but which accidentally included tandems in the
prohibition. (Despite the law, carrying a passenger is very common,
and of course no-one enforces such a petty nonsense anyway.) Some
prefectures have actually changed the law to allow tandems, but
unfortunately not the one where we live and work.

--snip

In the UK, I would happily tell the bureaucrat to **** off, but
unfortunately workers' rights are still a rather foreign concept here
and it is clear that any foreigner who kicks up too much of a fuss
gets sent home in short order (I have already caused more than my
share of trouble, and now is definitely not a good time to start any
more). Bureaucrats aside, I like it here, and am not in a rush to
leave. But I don't take kindly to small-minded petty jobsworths
trying to push me around. Any hints and tips for a sensible strategy
will be gratefully received.

As much as I love Japan the odd bit off petty bureacracy can put you off an
entire nation. My friend once got told to cycle on the pavement not on the
road which was fun and a pal of mine practicing keepie-ups in the middle of
an empty public football pitch got told to clear off by a guy in a uniform
and hat deployed specifically for such incidents it seems.
I'd just keep riding the thing. Have a talk with your local labour office
who were very supportive when I worked in Fukuoka. If it's more then a work
issue then I have no idea what you can do other than keep riding until
forced off the bike by the self defence force.


  #8  
Old January 21st 04, 02:09 PM
Bill Robertson
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Cycling to work banned

James Annan wrote:
[...]
Any hints and tips for a sensible strategy will be gratefully
received.


Not sure about sensible, but you've got 3 tandems: how about riding one
each for a while to make the point?

- Bill -

  #9  
Old January 21st 04, 02:11 PM
Richard Bates
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Posts: n/a
Default Cycling to work banned

On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 13:57:31 -0000, in
, "Thomas" tom [at]
greysheep [dot] co [dot] uk wrote:

snippety snip

Any hints and tips for a sensible strategy will be gratefully
received.


Hmm, difficult one. Personally, I'd comply when commuting to work - no use
bringing your employer and colleagues into the slinging match.


I have no idea of Japanese law. Where does your commute start from?
Does it start from the address held by your employer, or can your
commute start from a point 25m away from the factory gates?

Can you ride your tandem from home to that 25m point?
--
I remember when the internet was only in black & white.
It only had a few pages but at least they all worked.
Email: Put only the word "richard" before the @ sign.
  #10  
Old January 21st 04, 02:28 PM
Clive George
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Posts: n/a
Default Cycling to work banned

"James Annan" wrote in message
...

a sorry tale

Boo, hiss, bunch of ******s, etc. Erm, sorry, can't come up with any helpful
suggestions.

(how about riding the s+s one and taking it apart?)

cheers,
clive


 




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