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Tokyo police urge go-kart tour companies to improve safety measures

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They need flags on them like dune buggies so you can the flipping things.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Flags plus a Japanese drivers licence.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Flags plus a Japanese drivers licence.

Not if they have an International one.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Yikes! Doesn't sound too safe and a disaster waiting to happen.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Their business success has largely been down to some fairly unusual loopholes in Japanese road safety regulations, so it's only fitting that those same regulations may now put them out of business. 'Live by the sword..', and so on.

I assumed that few if any accidents were happening but 12 since March sounds like enough to get the regulators interested. They have become victims of their own success.

plus a Japanese drivers licence.

I took the full Japanese licence here in Japan through a driving school and there was no go-kart riding component, so restricting it to only Japanese licences probably wouldn't be justified. But perhaps go-karts could require a license of their own outside of the normal car licensing system? For example, I have a Japanese boat license and a motorcycle license but I'm not allowed to ride a jetski (because that requires a different license).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"... go-karts for public roads...are designated as mopeds. "

Um, right.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This Go carts was supposed to come to Yokosuka base on memorial day and they cancelled the whole thing and gave refunds back, we were wondering why and this came up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You don't need a license at all. It states in the article, they are classed as a scooter and you only need a permit and to be over 16 years old. The permits would be given by the company if the driver does not have a license, Japanese, international or home country.

Im just glad I live far enough away from these menaces to have never had to cross paths with them.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Don't need any new regs or measures, just invent a Go-Kart Safety Character. 100 bucks says they will.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The other day in Shinsaibashi Osaka I thought there was a group of Bosozokus up ahead because of the flashing lights. Was quite pleased to see Mario and Luigi go by waving instead. As long as they avoid peak times and use lights like this at night they should be ok.

The actual racers, red light ignoring, crazy truckers, smartphone zombies, biker gangs, and drunk drivers are the real menace

2 ( +5 / -3 )

As much as I would love to try this myself and in fact saw some people doing this in Tokyo, they should have licences of some sort and also have a lane designated just for them or similar vehicles. And as someone else said, tall flags.

Simply put, a go kart is a very low riding vehicle. Your butt is virtually only inches off the ground and there is generally no over head/ceiling... So as tall as you are seated on the ground, is basically all the other drivers get to glimpse of you. Also depending on the kart, it might be pretty quiet, with limited power, for the better or for the worse in an emergency. And because you are so low, it would hardly take any effort for a car run over the kart and it's driver.

Plus if foreigners are used to driving on the opposite side of the road, it just makes things that much more dangerous. Expect many more accidents, but hopefully no fatalities, to continue if nothing else is done.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

These go carts are scary when you are driving around them. Very nice to look at them as a pedestrian, but when you are driving behind or near them, and you see how bad most of them are driving, you want to change lane and stay far from these.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

the ones that they rent out on Okinawa/Mihama area do have 5 ft long flags in the rear. They also do not go by MariCart anymore, they are now AkihaCar or something similar.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

According to the company's site, they require that you have a valid Japanese driver's license, or an International Driving Permit and Passport, or an SOFA License, or a driver's license and official Japanese translation of it if from Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco and passport.

I was thinking when I saw these on TV they had tall poles with little flags at the top but I can't see those in this photo.

As for me, license and flag or not, I wouldn't want to be in or around one of these on public roads.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One death will shut this down. Not that I hope this happens.

They need these to make them basically safe to drive: helmets, seat belts, flags and roll bars.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Number plates on the rear?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You don't need a license at all. It states in the article, they are classed as a scooter and you only need a permit and to be over 16 years old. The permits would be given by the company if the driver does not have a license, Japanese, international or home country.

You dont need an automobile license, just a scooter or motorcycle license. But it's still a license here.

It's the same as people who have a regular automobile drivers license also having the gensuki (50CC) license as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This seems like a bad idea no matter who it is.....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This seems like a bad idea no matter who it is.....

I respectfully disagree. Having tried it I can assure you it's a lot of fun, and if done properly should not be a problem. You do feel quite exposed when a truck is roaring past, but less so than on a scooter. We can't ban everything in the world that poses a risk can we?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Friend of mine used to race Cart and he agrees not just on seatbelt but also on Helmet and neck protectors.

They have 4 wheels so no helmet needed, ditto for Trikes and Sidecars here.

Not sure if a scooter licence(various cc) will be enough. 2 vs more wheels but guess no-one truly checks or cares.

Plus, it is a folliow the leader(like ducks) kind of tour. Boring, IMHO, you can rent race-carts at various tracks in Saitama and Chiba.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just another case of how J-gov't pampers to business than the populace.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Twelve accidents since the end of March? Two a week? Given the low numbers renting the carts, that sounds pretty high to me. The % must be way higher than a simple car or moped journey in Tokyo.

The carts are cool, but I wouldn't want to drive alongside them. They are much lower than anything else on the road.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

They should be doing this on their own private circuit, not on public roads where they are putting themselves and other motorists at risk. Taxpayer funded roads exist to safely and efficiently transport people and goods, not to subsidise go-kart joyriding companies who are too cheap to invest in their own premises.

This company could offer a much better experience for everyone if they bought some land and designed a Mario themed circuit somewhere (assuming they don't get the pants sued off them). It could be safer and much more interesting.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

They should be doing this on their own private circuit, not on public roads where they are putting themselves and other motorists at risk. Taxpayer funded roads exist to safely and efficiently transport people and goods, not to subsidise go-kart joyriding companies who are too cheap to invest in their own premises.

Absolutely right.

It's only a matter of time before a truck drives over one of these karts and then, as someone has already pointed out, they will be banned.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They should be doing this on their own private circuit

I think you're missing the point somewhat! The thrill is being on public roads, being stared at, waving to people, being the man. Let's not go banning this before a compromise presents itself. Like putting on a kimono in Kyoto, this is a unique Japanese holiday experience for many people

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I saw them in Ueno last week... no helmets, no other safety measures either, just a pole with LED lights on. I can see a nasty accident with these.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In accordance with the road trucking vehicle law, go-karts for public roads -- around 2-meters long and 1-meter wide -- are designated as mopeds. They are equipped with indicators and headlights but the use of seat belts is not compulsory.

This is wrong, they are mini cars and some of those delivery three wheel bikes are also registered under the same plate. I would rather see helmets (which are also not required) on the drivers rather than seat belts.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think you're missing the point somewhat! The thrill is being on public roads, being stared at, waving to people, being the man. Let's not go banning this before a compromise presents itself. Like putting on a kimono in Kyoto, this is a unique Japanese holiday experience for many people

All in all, I'd rather don the kimono.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seen them knocking about Roppongi once or twice. Personally I wouldn't take the risk on the public road. You're sitting lower than a push bike and lights and a flag won't make you any more visible to a truck or bus driver.

Anyone driving those things on the road is a potential organ diner.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My problem is the fact that when someone zigs under a truck by mistake the truck driver will go to jail because "if he had not been there it wouldn't have happened". If they want to risk their lives I don't care, but it'd not just their lives at risk.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Just a matter of time. This is a bad idea.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I agree that putting them on a circuit somewhere isn't the answer. The "fun" of it is touring Tokyo while wearing those (silly to me) costumes. I can't imagine paying money to do this but apparently it's attractive to enough folks to make a business of it. I'd prefer to see them off the roads though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I really can't figure out why these are allowed on Tokyo's streets.

Considering Tokyo is a city with audible warnings on how to use an escalator, an elevator etc, how do these get a free pass from the safety viewpoint?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"We can't ban everything in the world that poses a risk can we?"

When it poses a serious threat to the public at large, yes we can and should.

If you wanted to drive this on a desserted mountain side with no one else there, then that would be your own undoing.

I mean I can see where there is a joy from doing this, the thrill of dressing up as one of your favorite characters and racing (driving) and "living in the moment", but not such a joy after you stop living or more to the point, cause someone else to stop living.

The side walks I was on (I can not even tell you where in Tokyo) was big enough for the go karts themselves, with plenty of room to walk and or ride a bicycle. They could probably put a lane or two for that direct purpose. I doubt the same thrill would be had on a regular course, but it would be safer then on the side of the street.

But for now this should just be completely banned on the streets until better measures or work arounds can be in place. There is no "Reset Button" in real life...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"if he had not been there it wouldn't have happened".

This is urban legend, nothing more, nothing less. There are 100% "at fault" accidents here in Japan, contrary to people who believe the quote above.

Japanese police will call an accident an accident, no assessment of points or anything else either, if they find it to be an accident, and if some idiot go-kart decides to drive under a truck and kill themselves the cops will probably find the idiot guilty of professional negligence even if it's after the person is dead.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Im curious of all you people on here making such negitive comments about these go-cart companies, have any of you actually taken a tour with them? I have taken the tour a few times and let me tell you they take saftey very seriously. They have guides that lead these tour groups around and they are always making sure that everyone is driving safely and close behind them. The data we have been giving by the media seems to be that there were 12 accidents since March. I think these companies have well over 500 to 1000 customers a month. So you all do the numbers. I would say with that many customers and only 12 minor accidents, you are all wrong to say its unsafe. Instead of making your comments about how dangerous it is or unsafe it is why dont you go and take a tour to see for yourselves.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just regarding the issue of street legality, nine times out of ten these go karts will be driven by a noob with a licence for a much larger vehicle (a car) with different sightlines and handling. Mopeds, other three-wheelers like the pizza ones, and other unusual vehicles will be driven by the same person who will be used to driving it. These go karts themselves might be safe in themselves, but not when driven by the worst of the noobs who pay to have a go on them.

If self-driving cars had the same accident rate as these go karts, even for "minor"? accidents, I'm sure they wouldn't be allowed in central Tokyo. The same accident rate would be a PR disaster.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

. So you all do the numbers. I would say with that many customers and only 12 minor accidents, you are all wrong to say its unsafe. Instead of making your comments about how dangerous it is or unsafe it is why dont you go and take a tour to see for yourselves.

Numbers dont matter, as a "veteran" driver of over 30 years of driving here in Japan these go-karts are a menace.

They are difficult to see on the road, and the drivers are inexperienced in driving in Japan.

Put them on a closed circuit, get them off the roads......

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

'"Numbers dont matter???

Wow what world do you live in? As a 25 year veteran safety inspector I would say your completely off the mark. Numbers do matter!! Especially when it comes to safety. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not safe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow what world do you live in? As a 25 year veteran safety inspector I would say your completely off the mark. Numbers do matter!! Especially when it comes to safety. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not safe.

Wow, are you a safety inspector here in Japan?

Either way, what you are suggesting is that 12 accidents is acceptable, I guess you might say too that even someone dying is an acceptable number as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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