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Japan makes moves to deregulate usage of electric scooters and delivery robots

Currently, electric kickboards are classified as motorized bicycles, which can only be ridden on roads and require a driver's license.

From Nikkei

April 15 2021

A committee of experts from the National Police Agency compiled an interim report on the legal status and deregulation of next-generation mobility vehicles that run on electric power. Some electric kickboards will not require a driving licence, and automatic delivery robots will be allowed to ride on pavements. This could help spread the sharing of kickboards in the city and solve the labor shortage in the delivery industry.

While the next generation of mobility is spreading overseas, the legal treatment of it in Japan is unclear and does not conform to the Road Traffic Act and other laws, and related businesses have called for the rules to be improved. The expert committee will now compile its final report, and the National Police Agency will consider revising the law.

The expert committee classified next-generation mobility vehicles into three categories according to the maximum speed at which they can travel. (1) pavement vehicles with a speed of up to 6 km/h, (2) small low-speed vehicles with a speed of up to 15 km/h, which are allowed to travel on roads and bicycle lanes, and (3) motorized bicycles with a speed of over 15 km/h, which are allowed to travel only on roads.

If the speed of an electric kickboard is limited to 15 km/h or less, it can be ridden in the roadside zone or bicycle lane in the same way as a bicycle, and a driving licence is not required. Currently, electric kickboards are classified as motorized bicycles, which can only be ridden on roads and require a driver’s license.

Regarding helmets, the interim report stated that “it is appropriate to promote wearing like bicycles,” and continued consideration was required. There was an opinion that driving children and toddlers was dangerous, and he said, “It is appropriate to say that you must be around 16 years old.”

The automatic delivery robot, which has indicated that the government will allow the use of public roads, will clarify the legal treatment and allow sidewalks up to 6 km / h. In the interim report, he mentioned the risk of runaway due to narrow sidewalks and hacking, and said that “the ban should be lifted in a limited way depending on the road environment.”

Electric kickboards are becoming more widespread in Europe and the United States. The National Police Agency has started a demonstration experiment in April that does not require helmets to be worn as a special measure based on the Industrial Competitiveness Enhancement Law, and four companies including Luup (Loop, Shibuya, Tokyo) of electric bicycle sharing are in Tokyo and Chiba prefecture. Provide a sharing service.

The automatic delivery robot is a demonstration experiment on public roads conducted in 20 years, and there is growing interest in Japan Post using the robot-developed ZMP (Bunkyo, Tokyo) products, as well as the participation of Mitsubishi Corporation and Rakuten. ..

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