E-Scooter Traffic Violations Increased 400 Percent In Japan In Last Six Months

E-Scooter Traffic Violations Increased 400 Percent In Japan In Last Six Months

Japan’s National Police claim the country is seeing a surge in traffic violations from riders of e-scooters. These outlaws on two small wheels are responsible for an increase in violations of 400 per cent in the last six months, according to the Japan Times, which means e-scooter offences are off the charts relative to the same period from the year before.

The increase in these traffic violations could be due to lax rules that came into effect in July 2023, which allowed anyone over the age of 16 to legally use e-scooters despite not having a driver’s license. It was around this time that scooter offenses shot upward with some riders ignoring traffic lights, while others ride in the wrong lane. Per the Japan Times:

In the six months since Japan eased regulations on electric scooters last July, traffic violations involving such vehicles increased fourfold, according to the National Police Agency.

Reports of traffic violations by e-scooter riders totaled 1,879 in the month of December, a significant increase from the 405 cases reported in July of last year.

The eased e-scooter regulations made it possible for people over the age of 16 to ride the vehicles without a driver’s license.

The total number of reported violations during the six months from July to December was 7,130. Almost half of the violations were in relation to riders driving in the wrong traffic lane, while 38% concerned riders ignoring traffic lights. Eighty-five scooter accidents have been reported, along with 86 injuries as a result. So far, no deaths involving e-scooters have been reported.

It makes sense that a bigger pool of riders (many of them teens) would result in a greater number of violations, but read the second-to-last sentence from the JPT. The newspaper seems to be saying that 85 e-scooter accidents resulted in the injury of 86 people, which is not hard to imagine since a single accident can injure more than one person, but it is nonetheless troubling. Especially as the number of accidents in 2023 more than doubled from 2022, when 41 e-scooter accidents were recorded throughout all of Japan.

The higher number of e-scooter collisions might be paltry given the scope of an entire country (albeit a small one) but the rate at which they’ve grown is not. E-scooters are reportedly becoming more popular among teens and young adults who don’t always know — or care — what the rules of the road may be:

E-scooters have been gaining popularity in Japan since 2021, especially among people in their 20s and 30s. One of the most popular domestic scooter rental services is Luup, which has around 5,900 ports around the nation. Those over 16 can easily rent a Luup e-scooter by using the company’s app. However, first-time users are required to pass a quiz on traffic regulations and the app sends periodic reminders as well.

To prevent traffic violations from turning into major accidents, the NPA is calling on e-scooter riders to be mindful of the rules. Traffic regulations prohibit users from riding while intoxicated, as well as double riding, and also require users to wear a helmet.

Users who are caught violating the rules are required to pay a fine and those with repeated violations will have to attend a lecture by the National Public Safety Commission.

E-scooters were a passing fad in many Western countries, but they fell out of fashion after becoming a nuisance in major cities. E-scooters from Bird and its competitors were involved in a number of accidents in the U.S., according to ABC News. It now seems like the menace of two wheels has made a big impact in Japan.

Photo: Luup

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