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Japanese police are to consider introducing tougher penalties for cyclists who recklessly violate traffic rules.
The National Police Agency says the number of traffic accidents is on the decline nationwide, but the percentage of cases involving bicycles has been increasing. The number of bicycle accidents involving pedestrians has also been rising.
The agency says cycling violations were found in more than 73 percent of fatal or serious accidents involving bicycles last year.
Police currently issue traffic tickets to cyclists whose violations could cause serious accidents.
So-called "red tickets" could lead to criminal punishment, but penalties have only been applied in a small number of cases.
Police will now consider introducing "blue ticket" fines in a bid to make their crackdown more effective. A "blue ticket" system for relatively minor offences is already in place for cars and motorbikes.An expert panel will be set up to study the details, as well as ways to encourage the safe use of bicycles. It will compile the proposals by the year end.