December 02, 2008

Cyclists using phones to be fined up to Y50,000

Authorities in Osaka Prefecture have finally put their foot down on cyclists who yap while they pedal. Tokyo Shimbun (Dec 1) reports that effective Monday, people in the prefecture caught using cell phones while riding a bicycle could be fined up to 50,000 yen.

In 2007, 18,500 bicycle accidents were reported in Osaka Prefecture and in many cases, the cause was found to be people steering with one hand or distracted while using a cell phone.

Over three-day periods in July and August, prefectural police in Osaka and Sakai cities observed that of 1,380 passing cyclists, 214, (15.5%), were listening to music players and 50 (3.6%) were using mobile phones.

In addition to banning talking on cell phones while cycling, Osaka’s new law applies to cyclists who use the phones to send messages or play games while in motion.

Laws prohibiting such activities are already in force in Akita, Hyogo and Tokushima Prefectures.


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