Japan to relax rules on electric kick scooters from July

26 Jun 2023 06:17pm
Image for illustrative purposes only – FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only – FILE PIX

TOKYO, Japan - Japan will ease regulations on electric kick scooters in July by allowing rides without a driver's licence, which has raised safety concerns among the public, reported Xinhua.

Starting from July 1, electric kick scooters that meet certain requirements will be subject to eased regulations on a par with bicycles, as a driver's licence will no longer be needed for a passenger aged 16 and above, according to local authorities.

Electric kick scooters, mounted with motors and capable of moving forward without the need to push against the ground continuously, started to gain popularity in Japan in 2021, mainly among people in their 20s and 30s.

As many people use them for commuting, the scooters must be ridden on roadways in principle, but users can also ride them on sidewalks where bicycles are allowed if they travel no faster than 6 kph and display a flashing green light.

The relaxed rules are welcomed by electric-scooter-sharing businesses amid hopes that more people will use such vehicles, while government authorities also expect the spread to meet more needs such as rental to tourists.

However, there are also growing concerns that there will be an increase in accidents and traffic violations if some riders hit the road without even learning traffic rules at driving schools, local media reported.

According to the National Police Agency, the number of accidents resulting in personal injury or death involving electric kick scooters increased from four in 2020 to 41 in 2022.

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Since September 2021, there have been more than 2,000 cases of people riding the scooters under the influence of alcohol and travelling on sidewalks. - BERNAMA-XINHUA

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