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Japan: Act on Promotion of Use of Bicycles

(Feb. 16, 2017) The Act on Promotion of the Use of Bicycles was promulgated on December 16, 2016.  (Act No. 113 of 2016, KANPO, Extra Ed. No. 278 (Dec. 16, 2016) at 38 (in Japanese).)  The Act will be effective within six months of the promulgation date.  (Id. Supp. Provisions, art. 1.)  This is the third act that is dedicated to bicycles.  The other two bicycle laws are the Act on Development of Bicycle Paths (Act No. 16 of 1970) and the Act on Comprehensive Promotion of Safety of Biking and Parking Spaces for Bicycles (Act No. 87 of 1980).

The new Act recognizes that:

  1. The bicycle is an environmentally friendly transportation device;
  2. Bicycles are reliable transportation devices during natural disasters; and
  3. Biking benefits riders’ health.  (Id. art. 1.)

Based on the Act, a Bicycle Promotion Headquarters is established under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.  (Id. art. 12.)  The national government is obligated to create a Bicycle Promotion Plan.  (Id. art. 9.)  The Plan will include measures for the development of bike paths and bike parking spaces, the facilitation of bike rental businesses, and the development of a system to utilize bicycles during disasters, among other subjects.  (Id. art. 8.)  Prefectural and municipal governments are encouraged to make similar plans.  (Id. arts. 10 & 11.)