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NPA: 4% of Cyclists Wore Helmets before Law Revision

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Bicycle helmets are seen in a bicycle shop in Sendai.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Only 4.0% of cyclists in Japan were wearing helmets before a revised law took effect at the start of this month to oblige bicycle riders of all ages to make an effort to wear them, a National Policy Agency survey showed Monday.

The NPA survey was conducted in February and March, before the revised road traffic law came into force on Saturday.

In 13 prefectures with relatively large populations and without heavy snowfall, police officers counted people wearing helmets while riding on bicycles in areas such as around train stations and shopping streets with nearby bicycle parking lots.

Of the 16,435 people surveyed, 665 were wearing helmets, according to the NPA.

By prefecture, the helmet-wearing rate was highest in Kumamoto, at 7.8%, followed by Tokyo at 5.6%, Okayama at 4.3%, Kyoto and Hiroshima each at 4.2%, and Aichi at 4.1%.

The rate ranged from 3.0% to less than 4.0% in Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, and between 2.0% and less than 3.0% in Shizuoka, Osaka and Fukuoka. Hyogo logged the lowest rate, at 1.9%.

“It can’t be said that the rate was high,” an NPA official said. “We’ll work to raise the rate by informing people about how helmets help reduce damage.”