E-scooters have zoomed into the spotlight around the world over the past two or three years. And the arrival of this compact conveyance spells true as well in Japan. This is because people often start to look for a more cost-effective and dynamic way of transportation. Not to mention, e-scooters are a great option for personal and health-conscious mobility.
However, under current Japanese laws, e-scooters can only be driven on roads, they need to carry license plates, and riders are required to procure a motorcycle license which can be a drag but no one can argue that safety on roads and designed paths is all but guaranteed. Nonetheless, this mindset will be revisited as the National Police Agency (NPA) are keen to propose special measures in Japan for electric scooters such as not requiring riders to wear helmets during street tests, which started last April.
During the duration of the test period scheduled for Tokyo, Fukuoka, and other cities, e-scooter regulations will be relaxed until October to weigh down the possible implications it has for the transportation industry. Such a move was greeted with a smile by various e-scooter sharing businesses as this could be the boost that the industry needs to finally get past the green light.
Moreover, not long ago, the NPA classified e-scooters as "special motor vehicles" in which the vehicle's speed must not exceed 15 kilometers per hour, and areas with heavy traffic will be excluded from the zones where riders don't have to wear helmets. While at it, the NPA also aims to include language in the new rules to encourage people to wear helmets while on the go.
Indeed, all across Japan e-scooters are still a rarity, and under current laws are treated as low-powered motorcycles, but there is a growing momentum to make them more mainstream once regulations ease up in the coming years.