A transport ministry panel has agreed on a plan to call on local governments to pass ordinances aimed at obliging cyclists to take up liability insurance.
The plan was agreed at a first meeting of the expert panel, set up for discussion on compensation systems following a series of court rulings that ordered large damages payments over bicycle accidents in which pedestrians died or suffered serious injuries, reported Jiji Press.
According to the panel, headed by Kansai University professor Keiji Habara, only six of the country’s 47 prefectures and five ordinance-designated major cities oblige bicycle users to buy liability insurance policies.
The number of collisions between cyclists has been increasing in Japan since 2015, rising to 2,749 in 2017.
Collisions between cyclists and pedestrians have almost leveled off. In 2017, 2,550 such cases occurred. Of cases in which the pedestrians died or were severely injured, the proportion of the cyclists involved who were confirmed to have bought insurance stood at 60%.
Noting that ordnance-based measures are effective, the panel will discuss related issues, including the scope of coverage of such insurance and the advisability of creating a compulsory liability insurance system for cyclists.