In terms of public transportation, what you have access to is dependent on where you live. Naturally, some folks prefer to take matters into their own hands, or out of necessity, to purchase and travel by car, motorbike, and/or breakfast bus. And with the advent of new transportation technology, such as electric bicycles, electric scooters, and Segways, Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) has decided to move forward in rewriting the rules for smaller electric vehicles, while also unbanning the Segway from public roads.
Previously, the rules which applied to your electric non-automobile vehicle depended on what kind you had. For example, Segways were only permitted in designated areas, typically a park, and one had to have a driver’s license to operate one, whereas electric scooters could not be ridden if they exceeded a speed of 15 kilometers per hour.
However, with new considerations underway, the NPA is currently determining what regulations stay and which ones get revised. So far, the NPA has chosen to sort smaller electric vehicles into three categories, each with their own specific guidelines. The categories are vehicles which travel at least or below 6 kilometers per hour, vehicles which travel at least or below 15 kilometers per hour, and vehicles which travel over 15 kilometers per hour.
For the first category, vehicles which travel at least or below 6 kilometers per hour, these are allowed on sidewalks and don’t require a driver’s license. Curiously enough, they also include self-moving vehicles such as mobility support and automatic delivery robots.
For the second category, vehicles which travel at least or below 15 km/hr, including Segways and electric scooters, are now operable without a driver’s license. Furthermore, folks can choose to either ride them in designated bike lanes or even car lanes. However, once your electric, two-wheeled vehicle hits past that 15-kilometers-per-hour range, then you need a license, plus you can only drive in car lanes.
The NPA also aims to include language in the new rules to encourage people to wear helmets while on the go.
While these new considerations are only from the NPA’s interim report, a report with the finalized regulations should be available by March 2022.
Sources: Asahi Shimbun via Yahoo! News Japan, NHK News Web
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