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Tokyo: Public Cycling

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This special SPORTIFY CITIES report gives valuable insights into the matured public cycling culture in Tokyo, a top-tier World City. Based on numerical evidence and first-hand observations the report argues that Tokyo’s favourable spatial structure and its traffic calming measures – rather than provision of bicycle lanes and designated bicycle parking areas – have laid the foundation for the city’s omnipresence of this convenient transport utility as well as its notable cyclists’ safety record, challenging the notion that capital-intensive bicycle infrastructure, per se, is critical to establishing a notable public cycling culture.

The frictionless co-existence of cyclists, pedestrians and motorized vehicles in this megacity could provide other large, high-density cities with a refreshing alternative to the top-down bicyclism – an ever-growing and increasingly ideologically driven bicycle city movement aimed at pushing supply of bicycle infrastructure ahead of demand and replacing energy-dependent transportation modes with bicycles. The special report concludes by exploring Tokyo’s prospects of creating a recognisable public cycling city identity.

>> READ Chapter 1:  “Public cycling in the top-tier World City”

>> READ Chapter 2:  “A favourable urban spatial structure”

>> READ Chapter 3:  “Bicycle infrastructure – Tokyo’s unconventional path”

>> READ Chapter 4:  “Public cycling in Tokyo and its soft power effects”


This report was first published in March 2014; updated in July 2016.

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