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.
The move resulted from strong objections to the ban, mostly from 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 to less than ¥200,000, some local governments, including Maebashi, Gunma 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 under age 6 on special auxiliary seats installed at the front and 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.
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