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News Tokyo cracking down on electric scooters


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Tokyo police will begin issuing traffic tickets possibly later this month to electric scooter users for minor offences such as ignoring traffic lights and riding on sidewalks to prevent an increase in accidents. Since summer, cases of unlicensed drivers colliding with cars or injuring pedestrians on pavements have been surging.

Although an avid cyclist, I wish the police would crack down equally hard on people riding bikes. Unfortunately, cyclists are among the most undisciplined and careless in Japan's traffic.

Classified in the same category as motorcycles under Japan's road traffic law, electric scooter users need a license. So far, police have only taken action on more serious offenses such as riding without a license, riding under the influence of alcohol or causing injury. Users who are issued several traffic tickets can be fined or have their licenses suspended. Between January and November this year, there were 16 accidents in Tokyo involving electric scooters that resulted in injuries. In addition there were 44 accidents that caused property damage in the capital. Popular in Europe and with an increasing number of users in Japan, electric scooters resemble skateboards equipped with handles. Users are required to wear a helmet, attach license plates and mirrors, and take out motor vehicle liability insurance. Tokyo police have created a database of electric scooters so that investigators can quickly identify models at the scene of a traffic violation, according to the sources.

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