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Japan passes a bill to introduce ‘blue ticket’ fines for cyclists

Japan’s parliament on Friday passed legislation to introduce a ‘blue ticket’ fine system, where cyclists pay fines for minor traffic violations to avoid criminal punishment.

The House of Councilors, the upper chamber of the Diet, approved the legislation during a plenary meeting to revise the Road Traffic Act, with enforcement expected by spring 2026 at the latest. The House of Representatives, the House of Representatives, was the last to adopt the legislation. month.

The new fine system is applied to offenders aged 16 and over who violate traffic rules, including by ignoring traffic lights.

Currently, traffic violations by cyclists are dealt with through police warnings or the “red card” system, which leads to criminal punishment.

After a spate of serious traffic violations and arrests involving cyclists, Japan will introduce the new system, similar to that for motorists and motorcyclists, in the hope of promoting greater compliance with traffic rules.

The blue ticket system is expected to halve the time it takes law enforcement officers to complete the necessary procedures, leading to a reduction in their workload.

The system covers 113 types of violations, including ignoring stop signs. The fines will only be imposed in malicious cases, such as repeated violations despite instructions and warnings, as well as deliberate acts that obstruct the passage of pedestrians.

The fines are expected to range from about ¥5,000 ($32) to ¥12,000, in line with those for violations by riders of motorcycles with an engine capacity of up to 50 cc.

Meanwhile, red tickets will continue to apply for 24 serious offences, such as drunk and obstructive cycling, which are considered very dangerous.

The revised law also introduces penalties for cycling while using a mobile phone or driving under the influence of alcohol. These are expected to come into force within six months of promulgation.

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