Japan to Introduce “Blue Ticket” Fine System for Cyclists

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Police officers speak to a cyclist in Tokyo.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government Tuesday adopted a bill to introduce a “blue ticket” system to allow bicycle riders to pay fines for minor traffic violations to escape criminal punishment.

Fines are expected to be between some ¥5,000 and ¥12,000, the same as those for traffic violations by motor scooter riders.

The government will submit the bill to revise the road traffic law at the current parliamentary session. If enacted, it will enter into force within two years of its promulgation.

The blue ticket system will be applied to about 115 types of minor traffic violations by cyclists, such as ignoring traffic signals and stop signs.

Some 20 types of malicious violations, such as drunken driving and obstructive driving, will continue to be subject to criminal punishment.

The bill includes a provision to be enforced within six months of the promulgation that will impose a prison term of up to three years or a fine of up to ¥500,000 for riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol, for which Japan has no legal penalty.

The penalty for driving while using a mobile phone under the revised law will be a prison term of up to six months or a fine of up to ¥100,000.

While drunk driving by cyclists will be subject to criminal penalties, the blue ticket system will be applicable to driving while using a mobile phone, with the fine likely to be set at ¥12,000.