Ministry to tighten road rules for go-karts

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Go-karts on a public road in Minato Ward, Tokyo (Parts of this image have been obscured.)

The Yomiuri ShimbunTo address the problem of accidents on public roads involving go-karts that are popular among foreign tourists and others, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry plans to implement stricter safety criteria for go-kart businesses, according to sources.

Among other things, the criteria would require go-karts to have seat belts, which are currently not mandatory, the sources said. The ministry intends to revise the safety criteria this fiscal year based on the Road Transport Vehicle Law.

The ministry proposed and received approval for its plans at its expert panel meeting in Tokyo in early December.

The ministry’s proposal would require that go-karts have backrests about 1 meter high to make it easier for others around the go-karts to see them, and have red tail lights. It would also require that they have fenders that cover the tires to prevent accidents in which uncovered tires hit other vehicles or other objects. Go-karts currently in use are expected to receive a grace period of several years.

Typically, foreign tourists and other riders rent go-karts mainly from vendors and dress in costumes while driving around. The activity has become popular in recent years.

The law classifies go-karts as “regular passenger vehicles” that require a driver’s license to operate on public roads. However, because of their low height, lack of seat belts and other reasons, they are seen as more likely to be involved in accidents.

There were three accidents involving go-karts that resulted in injury or death last fiscal year, according to the ministry.Speech

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