Electric kickboards became a new rule this month. Those that meet certain criteria such as maximum speed and body size can now be ridden without a driver's license if they are over 16 years old. In the Tama area of Tokyo, where efforts are underway to establish it as a new means of transportation, we will look at convenience and issues from the perspective of user experiences.

The new rules from this month are:

With the enforcement of the revised Road Traffic Act from the 1st of this month, electric kickboards have become new rules.

If you are 16 years old or older, you can now ride without a driver's license under a new category called "specified small motorized bicycles".

Until last month, sharing businesses and others have been conducting demonstration experiments in various regions to popularize the system.

In the Minami-Osawa area of Hachioji City, electric kickboards that fall under the new category have been rented out.

From this month, when the new rules come into effect, wearing a helmet will be as compulsory as a bicycle, and this type of thing must be done in two stages when turning right.

Traffic violations are subject to the so-called "blue ticket" and require the payment of penalties.

"Effective in areas with many slopes" Concerns about new rules

Mai Tanaka, 32, who runs a café in the Minami-Osawa district of Hachioji City, has been using electric scooters two or three times a week to shop for ingredients since a rental port was built in front of her shop.

I sometimes walked back and forth to a supermarket about 2 minutes away, but there were many slopes in the area, and I felt that it was especially inconvenient when I was taking heavy luggage home.

The kickboard I use costs 3 yen for the first 10 minutes of riding, and 20 yen for each minute thereafter, but I would like to continue using it because it has great advantages in shortening travel time.

Mr. Tanaka said, "I think electric scooters are very effective in areas with many slopes."

However, he is also worried about the new rules.

For example, with this type of kickboard, you need to make two turns when turning right, just like a bicycle, but Mr. Tanaka, who usually drives a car, says he is worried about whether he can cope with it.

Mr. Tanaka said, "Changes in traffic rules are a big thing for users, so I would like them to thoroughly inform them and create opportunities for them to acquire skills."

Some users felt unsafe

Some users have actually experienced danger.

Koichi Sekino, a 35-year-old office worker living in Tachikawa City, uses a kickboard almost every day to commute to work from a rental port in front of a station near his home.

There were many times when I was surprised and felt unsafe when trying to overtake a pedestrian from behind, probably because of the quiet sound when running.

For this reason, Sekino always slows down when he is about to approach a person walking and tries to keep as much distance as possible.

Mr. Sekino said, "I feel that it is more convenient than a bicycle, but I think that each person's morals are questioned when riding because it is easy, so I want to follow the rules and drive easily."