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Japan to scrap licenses for electric scooters

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Oh boy, look out now if bicycles were not bad enough what will E scooters do to us on the sidewalks.

They should NOT be allowed on the sidewalks regardless of the speed.

17 ( +32 / -15 )

6kmph is barely above walking speed, and applies to cycles. Yet we all know, and see daily, cycles on footpaths going way faster than that with impunity. These scooters will be no different.

Though I think I may prefer being hit by a scooter than a 500lb power-assist cycle with two kid seats and a load of groceries.

They're both vehicles. Get them off the pedestrian paths.

2 ( +21 / -19 )

They will be allowed on sidewalks. Great. I can see the lawsuits already. And the Police must be angry about this as well. They will be running after these E Scooters around Tokyo which will create the need for them to actually work instead of just standing around in their Kobans glaring at we internationals as we walk by.

-22 ( +7 / -29 )

Electric scooters, which are popular in Europe, have been attracting a growing number of users in Japan. They resemble skateboards equipped with handles and must be ridden with a helmet.

Probably safer than the mama-charis. Though I have started to see some weaving around pedestrians at crosswalks.

What ever happened to the rule of bicycle safety that was drilled that you dismount your wheeled conveyance at a pedestrian crosswalk and walk it though?

You can get your foot run over by some of the bicycle riders going perpendicular through the crosswalk and crossing diagonally at high speed across your path as crowds of pedestrians are going through.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

also be allowed to run on sidewalks so long as they keep the speed at up to 6 kph.

So just where is it safe to walk?

5 ( +16 / -11 )

So just where is it safe to walk?

On the sidewalk. Same as with bikes, the onus will be on the rider to not hit pedestrians, and the fault will be on the riders if they do. Same as with bikes.

-12 ( +9 / -21 )

Let see, SO he is behind this law change??

1- Scooters makers. China

2- Scooters parts suppliers.

2- Scooters dealers and importers.

3- Scooters retailers.

4- Scooters maintenance and repair shops.

and most of all

5- Lawmakers who stand to gain$$$ or have already been paid to make this change.

Who is against it??

Concerned citizens, parents of children walking to schools, school teachers, police officers, public safety agencies, and every one else who knows what it feels like to HIT by a 6km + moving bicycle or scooter.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

the onus will be on the rider to not hit pedestrians

Well I don't know where you live, but in Tokyo it seems the onus is on the pedestrian to move out of the way. The only safe and relaxing place I can find to walk is on trails or grass where bikes don't traverse.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Well I don't know where you live, but in Tokyo it seems the onus is on the pedestrian to move out of the way.

If a rider hits you on their bike on the sidewalk in Japan, they are at full liability. Right of way always goes to the pedestrians in Japan. Some people may ride like assholes, but they'd better hope they don't hit someone.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

How can you judge if someone is truly observing the 6 kph speed limit?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Great more fools that don't know the traffic regulations operating moving vehicles.

This is a step backwards.

Instead of this we need proper licencing and training including bicycles.

This way we avoid the situations like I had 2 years ago when some old lady careening down a hill on her bicycle slammed into me as I crossed the road within a pedestrian crossing.

She yelled at me to look where I was going and took off, leaving me on the ground with a broken arm and unable to work for weeks.

The article doesn't mention if a license plate, liability insurance, etc.. will be required but if not then you had better get ready for a lot of trouble.

In my hometown these scooters are a major problem with people leaving them where they please, cars being damaged as they zigzag between cars, pedestrians being hit, etc.. to the point that the rental companies licenses were pulled until a better solution to the problem can be found.

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

judging by the above comments, the average age is about 60.

come on, have some fun. i see this as common sense reaction to e-scooters. they definitely should not have been classified as motorcycles, and they definitely did not belong on roads.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Keep in mind that these scooters can reach speeds of 20km/h. The delivery robots have a max speed of 6km/h.

I'm looking forward to the Unagi finally reaching these shores - https://unagiscooters.com/

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

judging by the above comments, the average age is about 60.

Ha ha!

I'm only 7 years off 60 but love my eScooter. Much better than a twist & thrash petrol moped belching out exhaust fumes.

Already ride mine around in Japan but will be happy to be finally buzzing around the city legally.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Idiots on e-scooters being at fault is straight forward

But driverless buses in accidents - who to blame? A remote operator, or …?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Insane that they were classified as motorbikes but heavy e-assist bicycles are not.

Now a little sanity returns.

And I'm always amazed that you can ride a 50cc scooter with out a license - passing a paper test and perhaps a "guidance" demonstration is enough.

And riders often travel at 50kmh on these little 2 stroke burners.

Maybe the House of Representatives could find a way to address this (heh, heh) but wouldn't want to alienate millions of voters.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

NOT on sidewalks PLEASE!

1 ( +7 / -6 )

It does not take a fortune teller to know what is going to happen in crowded Japan when these scooters proliferate...

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I hope once people start getting injured by the fools on these things they decide to sue the government for lax regulations and not doing it's job.

Oddly enough in Shinjuku just last week I saw one of these rental scooters zigzagging through traffic then lose control hit the car infront of me. The rider just jumped back on the things and took off in the opposite direction, leaving a nice dent in the car he hit.

My drive recorder got it all except the license plate number.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

And I'm always amazed that you can ride a 50cc scooter with out a license - passing a paper test and perhaps a "guidance" demonstration is enough.

I am not sure where you get your information but to ride a 50cc bike you need one of two things.

You need a valid car or motorcycle driver's licence or you need a 50cc scooter driver's licence.

Meaning they have been informed and learned the rules of the road and can get traffic violation including losing their driver's license.

Not that only 50cc automatic transmission, if the bike is 50cc with manual transmission then a motorcycle license is required.

These scooters are going to now break the the traffic laws and like a bicycle there will be little the police can do, if the rider has no license they how do you issue a ticket and how do you enforce any restrictions.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I read this article and was about to buy one on the internet, I really need one. Until I read...

Regulations pertaining to electric scooters will take effect within two years

Japan at its finest

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Is that really such a good idea?

I mean many of the ones now who are riding on regular scooters and (I assume) are licensed are quite dangerous.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

This is great. Enabling people to use other means of transportation that is more eco-friendly should be encouraged. Sure, we are all concerned about those who ignore safety. And they should be fined and punished. But don't let the few bad apples ruin what is overall a good thing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@maxjapank I agree with you completely about how they can be a good thing, but I disagree with the "few bad apples" thing. I would estimate that 5% of cyclists in my areas follow the rules. Pretty much every cyclist seen is breaking some law, either too fast, wrong way, using phone, holding umbrella etc etc. It's not "a few bad apples", it's almost everyone.

I don't see that being any different with unlicensed electric scooters on the sidewalk. How could it be? Break a "law" and still be allowed to continue to ride.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Mat I agree with you completely about how they can be a good thing, but I disagree with the "few bad apples" thing. I would estimate that 5% of cyclists in my areas follow the rules. Pretty much every cyclist seen is breaking some law, either too fast, wrong way, using phone, holding umbrella etc etc. It's not "a few bad apples", it's almost everyone.

I don't see that being any different with unlicensed electric scooters on the sidewalk. How could it be? Break a "law" and still be allowed to continue to ride.

I do share your concern. I guess it partly depends on where you live as to how many follow the rules. I cycle nearly everyday. I wear a helmet. Travel on the correct side of the rode. And I am very careful about pedestrians. Most of the cyclists I see are also very courteous.

Much time is spent in junior high and high schools enforcing the rules when commuting to school. Unfortunately, we still have kids who do not. But it just means that adequate punishments should be put in place and more media attention should be given to help relay the message of safety. Even confiscating the bicycle or scooter would quickly crack down on rule breakers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The most important part of the new law is, "electric scooters with a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour". I have a Panasonic ebike, which is already OK to ride on the sidewalk and street, and which probably can go 15 kph. This new law will permit ebikes and escooters that can go a little faster IN THE STREET. On the sidewalks, regular bicycles, old ebikes, faster ebikes, and escooters are still limited to 6 kph (about walking speed). I will buy one of these faster ebikes/escooters, as it will make riding on the street safer (better able to keep up with traffic on small streets).

As some have already mentioned, even regular bicycles can go faster than 20 kph and they are already OK under the current law. A strong bike rider can go 35 kph on a regular bike, but it is the rider who must control his speed on the sidewalk, to about walking speed. I would also suggest that helmets be required on these faster ebikes/escooters, as rider injuries will increase with more speed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

judging by the above comments, the average age is about 60.

This is the demographic. So at this age, an environmental safe method to post a letter, buy some milk or sweets, or visit friends, without a walking stick or taxi...is FREEDOM.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You need a valid car or motorcycle driver's licence or you need a 50cc scooter driver's licence.

That scooters license is a paper test license (easy) as I said. It may or may not include a lecture or practice seminar.

The holder of such does not have to attend driving school and pass a rigorous practical driving test.

So while the rider does hold a license of sorts, it is quite meaningless in comparison to other driving licenses.

And of course a car license will enable someone to ride a 50cc scooter without any training at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So, every cop "on the beat" will have a radar gun as personal equipment?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

nakanoguy01Today 08:28 am JST

judging by the above comments, the average age is about 60.

> come on, have some fun. i see this as common sense reaction to e-scooters. they definitely should not have been classified as motorcycles, and they definitely did not belong on roads

I agree about the motorcyles classification part but disagree on the part about roads. Anything that can go above walking speed belongs on the road. People ride their bicycles with reckless abandon, even when rounding corners, and that is enough of a hazard on the sidewalk, what with smartphone zombies and people wearing headphones and generally not paying attention. We don't need to add to that. I never rode any of my bicycles or my electric scooter on the sidewalk unless absolutely necessary. Scooters belong on the street.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is great news! E- Scooters are a lot of fun!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Any mororized vehicle should come under the same legislation as a car. They must not ride on the footpath, they must obey stop signs and red lights and obey drink driving laws. I can just gangs of drunks rolling out of an izakaya at 3am and all swerving their way home on an electric scooter.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Other countries are tightening up regulations for these death traps.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

browny1Today  12:05 pm JST

But at least they get something.

Bicycle and now these things will get nothing.

Will these things still need a license plate, registration, and most of all liability insurance?

Read

AntiquesavingToday  08:11 am JST

Despite the people here that down vote getting hit by some clueless person that then just takes off leaving me with a broken arm unable to work isn't funny.

I due hope all those that down voted one day have the same and perhaps then they will realise the seriousness.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just can't get used to cyclists creeping up on me, seems every time I turn my head, there's a cyclist overtaking me on that side. Weird

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

This is great. Enabling people to use other means of transportation that is more eco-friendly should be encouraged. 

This is the biggest fallacy continuously repeated!

What Eco friendly? It needs electricity, it needs rare earth metals batteries, all not Eco friendly.

These are not devices older people needing help to get around will be using.

It will be young lazy People using them instead of a non electric, scooter or bicycle to get exercise and actually be Eco friendly

How did my generation ever get by without e-scooters and e-bikes, why aren't we all dead?

I used a bicycle to go everywhere outside of winter time ( Canada not easy using a bicycle in the snow) my friends and I used bicycles to ride from Montreal to New York city, Toronto, all around Montreal no e-anything!

You want to claim something is eco friendly then give a clear reason it is needed and justify the need for the non eco friendly batteries and electricity.

No e-scooter fits this category, an ebike to help people less physically able yes a kick scooter. No

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Maybe it is something I missed but I don't recall having any gasoline powered kick-scooters as a young man and I don't remember my now adult children or nieces and nephews having any either.

Nor did anyone have a gasoline powered bicycle, those were called mopeds and were 50cc required a certificate to ride or a driver's license.

Now people are so lazy they need powered bicycles and scooters, and to make them feel good about using resources they shouldn't be, we call them eco friendly.

What a joke.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There will probably be a new generation of obese people as a result of these vehicles.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

zichiToday  05:22 pm JST

The French and Italians had bicycles with little gas engines on the front. There have been many types of bicycles with small gas engines. I remember riding around Paris on them when I was an art student. They were called Solex.

As expected from you!

They are velocipede and just like the 50cc required a license to drive and a licence plate.

They have also been not longer sold for decades because they were extremely unsafe.

Goodness you do like to nitpick!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

All these e-scooters and e-bikes should be banned, period.

They are a danger to all pedestrians, especially children who often make sudden movements on pavements, and to the elderlies too who are unable to get out of their way quick enough.

They have caused so many deaths worldwide and seriously injured tens of thousands, they are causing totally avoidable misery.

What's wrong with just walking, or go jogging if you want to go a bit quicker; take the bus or train, and above all else, just Think about the safety of others.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This is the last thing we need here. It's bad enough with the idiots on bikes.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Love it or hate it one fact remains… these e scooters will always be safer than those wild mamachari bikes! Those bikes are a menace with the high speed cycling done by some idiots who don’t care about the safety of the pedestrians and even their own kids who are hanging on for dear life in the front and back! In cities like Tokyo the bicycle problem will never be solved due to lack of space while the introduction of e scooters is a wait and see scenario!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Regulations pertaining to electric scooters will take effect within two years, while those related to automated driving will be carried out within a year.

Seems like a way too long timeline! Two years to implement a law is even longer than the timeline for Japan’s PM in power as of late!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They need to scrap that two-step right turn rule for 50cc actual scooters. (I hate that those little skateboard with handles are also called scooters.)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If a rider hits you on their bike on the sidewalk in Japan, they are at full liability.

I don't want a broken arm or any other injury from a speeding bicycle most likely hitting me from behind, liability or no liability. I feel bad for the elderly who can barely walk in the first place with mothers on bicycle tanks speeding by on sidewalks. If an elderly is hit it may mean a broken hip and the end of the ability to walk.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

zichiToday  06:50 pm JST

They are velocipede and just like the 50cc required a license to drive and a licence plate.

No not the French ones. I didn't have a license and rode one for a year. They are called Solex. Velocipede is something else. VéloSoleX is a moped or motorized bicycle, usually just referred to as 'Solex'.

I have lived in France 40 year ago, I am a native French speaker.

Now get out your Google translate and read.

https://cafesolex.com/blog/solex-et-permis-de-conduire-ce-quil-faut-savoir/#:~:text=Le%20permis%20AM%20pour%20conduire%20un%20Solex&text=Vous%20devez%20donc%20poss%C3%A9der%20le,pouvoir%20circuler%20librement%20en%20solex.

Le permis AM pour conduire un Solex

Le Solex entre dans la catégorie des cyclomoteurs légers puisqu’il s’agit d’un deux-roues à moteur de moins de 50cm3. De ce fait, il est soumis aux mêmes règles de conduite que les mobylettes, scooteurs et motos 50. Vous devez donc posséder le brevet de sécurité routière (BSR) qui correspond au permis AM pour pouvoir circuler librement en solex. Cela s’applique quelque soit le type de vélomoteur qu’il s’agisse d’un solex à moteur comme le solex 2200 ou d’un solex électrique.

La formation au permis AM peut être suivie dès 14 ans et est dispensée par des établissements agrées. Il est nécessaire de disposer de l’ASSR 1 ou de l’ASSR 2 pour pouvoir s’y inscrire.

In short it says you need a driver's permit, it is classified in the same category as a 50cc moped.

It also requires registration, insurance, etc...

Next you will tell me I can't read French!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't want a broken arm or any other injury from a speeding bicycle most likely hitting me from behind, liability or no liability. I feel bad for the elderly who can barely walk in the first place with mothers on bicycle tanks speeding by on sidewalks. If an elderly is hit it may mean a broken hip and the end of the ability to walk.

I agree, and so does Japanese law. This is why the riders are liable if they hit a pedestrian.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"If a rider hits you on their bike on the sidewalk in Japan, they are at full liability."

That is the law on paper. The laws of nature/physics would come in play when a large object moving at speed hits a human body. What good is the paper law to a human that is killed or severely injured by one of the e-scooters on a sidewalk. Think about the children as well. Loss of control and speeding are very real scenarios that most likely will happen. Sidewalks were designed for pedestrians and should be exclusively reserved for pedestrians (with the exception of small children riding their bicycles on the sidewalks).

Just my thoughts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That is the law on paper.

And in practice as well, as it's been upheld multiple times.

The laws of nature/physics would come in play when a large object moving at speed hits a human body. What good is the paper law to a human that is killed or severely injured by one of the e-scooters on a sidewalk. Think about the children as well. Loss of control and speeding are very real scenarios that most likely will happen.

Yes but if we are going to ban anything where something could happen, we'd have to get rid of cars, as there are literally accidents where people die every single day of every single year.

Sidewalks were designed for pedestrians and should be exclusively reserved for pedestrians (with the exception of small children riding their bicycles on the sidewalks).

The law doesn't agree with you, and has given bicycles and now scooters permission to ride on the sidewalks, with the caveat that if they hurt someone, it's all their fault. Seems like a healthy way to run society.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"Yes but if we are going to ban anything where something could happen, we'd have to get rid of cars, as there are literally accidents where people die every single day of every single year."

Cars are banned from sidewalks.

"The law doesn't agree with you, and has given bicycles and now scooters permission to ride on the sidewalks, with the caveat that if they hurt someone, it's all their fault. Seems like a healthy way to run society."

There is the law, there are also common sense and morality (principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior). Those three often diverge and people often use the law to trump the other two.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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