TOKYO - Bicycle manufacturers launched models strong enough to be ridden by an adult plus two small children Wednesday as the ban on riding bikes with two kids was lifted in almost all prefectures across Japan. The move resulted from strong objections to the ban from mostly mothers, prompting the National Police Agency to issue safety standards for bicycles suitable for being ridden with two children earlier this year. The agency had previously attempted to fully enforce the ban. As the new models are priced higher than conventional bicycles, ranging from 60,000 yen to less than 200,000 yen, some local governments, such as the Maebashi city office in Gumma Prefecture, are moving to subsidize purchases.
Under the safety standards the NPA released in April, riders should be at least 16 years old and can carry up to two children less than 6 years old on special auxiliary seats installed at the front and the rear of the bike. Bikes that meet the standards are marked with either a BAA, or Bicycle Association (Japan) Approved, sticker or an SG, or Safety Goods, sticker of the Consumer Product Safety Association. Those riding nonstandard bikes with two children could be fined, but the police agency plans to start issuing directions and warnings instead until the sale of new models becomes full-fledged and the public gets thoroughly acquainted with the rules, an agency official said.
Until the price comes down or the police get serious about educating parents and enforcing the law I can't see a very rapid adoption of these stronger bicycles. I believe this will become another in the long list of inconsistently or unenforced bicycle laws in Japan.