Japan looking to shake up motorcycle sector with 125cc reclassification

THE Japanese authorities are looking at opening up the world of two-wheels to anyone with a driving licence, by reclassifying bikes of up to 125cc as motorised bicycles.

Yamaha Vino 50cc moped

The move is being discussed with Japan’s National Police Agency, which is working with stakeholders in the industry to check the viability of the move. It isn’t quite as simple as just allowing all licence holders the chance to ride any 125cc bike, many of which can make up to 15bhp (and some two-stroke 125s in derestricted form making much more), and the team is specifically looking at 125cc machines that make less than 4kW or 5 bhp.

Should the move come into place, all Japanese drivers with a full licence could hop on bikes like the dinky Honda Super Cub 50 (2.7kW / 3.5bhp), Suzuki Address V50 (2.7kW / 3.5bhp), or the Yamaha Vino scooter (3.3kW / 4.3bhp). Trying to find a bike in the Japanese market that is above 50cc, but below the proposed 4kWw limit is trickier, and like here in the UK, most make between 7 and 15bhp. It's not yet clear whether or not bikes with more than 4kW could be restricted in a similar way to how A2 motorcycles are.

The move from the Japanese authorities comes at a time when lobby groups in the UK are trying to push through changes to the UK’s out-of-date and confusing motorcycle licencing laws. Groups like the National Motorcyclists Council and the MCIA want a more clear-cut and simple path for young riders to take, hoping this will help get more people onto a motorcycle. While we aren’t suggesting a move such as the one being mooted in Japan could happen here, it is interesting to see that authorities around the world are looking at motorcycle licencing and training in a slightly different way.

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