Japan's parliament passed legislation on Friday to introduce a "blue ticket" fine system under which bicycle riders pay penalties for minor traffic violations to escape criminal punishment.

The House of Councilors, the upper chamber of the Diet, approved the legislation to revise the road traffic law at a plenary meeting, with the enforcement expected for no later than spring 2026. The House of Representatives, the lower chamber, passed the legislation last month.

The new fine system will be applied to offenders aged 16 and above who breach traffic regulations, including by ignoring traffic signals.

At present, traffic violations by bicycle riders are addressed through police warnings or the "red ticket" system, which leads to criminal punishment.

Following a surge in severe traffic violations and arrests involving bicycle riders, Japan will introduce the new system, similar to the one for motorists and motorcyclists, in the hope of fostering greater compliance with traffic regulations.

The blue ticket system is expected to halve the time required for law enforcers to complete the necessary procedures, leading to a decrease in their workload.

The system covers 113 types of violations, also including ignoring stop signs. The fines will be imposed only on malicious cases, such as repeated violations despite instructions and warnings as well as deliberate actions obstructing pedestrian passage.

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 displacement of up to 50 cc.

Meanwhile, 24 grave violations, such as drunken and obstructive cycling, that are considered highly dangerous will remain subject to red tickets.

The revised law will also introduce penalties for cycling while using a mobile phone or riding under the influence of alcohol. These are slated to take effect within six months of the promulgation.