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Accidents between working cyclists, pedestrians up in Japan as virus spurs food deliveries

An Uber Eats delivery worker is seen riding a bike in Osaka's Chuo Ward on May 24, 2020. (Mainichi/Rei Kubo)

TOKYO -- The number of accidents between pedestrians and people carrying out delivery and other work on bicycles in Japan rose to 156 in 2020, up 62.5% from the 96 cases recorded the previous year.

    Increased demand for food deliveries amid the coronavirus pandemic is believed to have played a part in the surge.

    From January through March 2020, the numbers of such accidents fell compared to the corresponding months in 2019, but from April, when a state of emergency was issued, there were more accidents each month than during the previous year. April saw 14 such accidents -- nine more than in the previous year -- while there were 20 such accidents in May -- an increase of 12 from the same month the previous year.

    Altogether, the number of accidents involving cyclists on the job, including those besides accidents with pedestrians, reached 1,281 -- up 45 (3.6%) from a year earlier. In 64.2% of these accidents, the cyclists were the ones committing a violation, while six people died -- three fewer than during the previous year.

    The National Police Agency, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and others asked industry groups last October to disseminate traffic rules to workers who ride bikes and alert them to prevent accidents while delivering food and drinks. Police departments around the country are also holding practical traffic workshops for those in such lines of work.

    (Japanese original by Noritake Machida, City News Department)

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