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NEW SYSTEM TO FINE CYCLISTS FOR TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS - JAPAN
NEW SYSTEM TO FINE CYCLISTS FOR TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS
Japan's police agency said Thursday it plans to slap fines on cyclists for traffic violations in a bid to reduce the number of accidents following the rise in popularity in bicycles as a means for commuting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the envisioned system, which will require an amendment to the Road Traffic Act, bicycle riders could be issued so-called blue tickets such as for ignoring traffic lights.
A panel of experts will begin deliberations on the matter this month, aiming to finalize a proposal possibly by the end of this year. The National Police Agency hopes to submit a bill to amend the law to parliament next year.
Currently, cyclists can be issued so-called red tickets for serious offences. However, indictments leading to criminal punishment are rare as the process involves a lengthy investigation that creates a burden for both police and the offender.
Minor traffic violations currently see an offender handed a "warning slip," akin to a yellow card in a football match, but questions remain over its effectiveness.
Under the new system, cyclists who receive a blue ticket would evade indictment but would be fined. If the violator does not make the payment during a certain period of time, they would be subject to criminal procedures.
According to the NPA, traffic violations by bicycle riders shot up from 7,193 in 2013 to 24,549 in 2022.
Of the 7,107 serious or deadly accidents involving bicycles in 2022, about 70 percent were the result of cyclists breaking the law.
To strengthen measures to prevent accidents, bicyclists across all age groups have been urged to wear a helmet from April this year.