Today’s Nikkei Online reports, „overall road accident deaths [in Japan] for 2008 dropped 10.3 percent from the previous year to 5,155, falling for the eighth year in a row.“
„The number of pedestrian victims went down by 222 to 1,721 and driver or passenger victims by 303 to 1,710. Traffic deaths involving motorcycles came to 990 and those involving bicycles 717, the survey said.“
I was suspicious that the article did not say whether cyclist or motorcycle fatalities were going up our down. The NTA website had a link to a spreadsheet with the raw numbers (through end of November 2008), and I was relieved to see that, through that date at least, the bicycle fatality number was down 5% from 2007, and it looks like 2 out of 3 cyclist fatalities were over 65 years old. So the odds are not too bad, at least for the next 18 years or so.