Tokyo police crack down on cosplay kart tour safety

Drivers in Super Mario cosplay outfits drive kart on Tokyo public roads Image copyright Twitter/@ReubenEasey
Image caption Tour drivers are encouraged to dress up as game characters

Police in the Japanese capital Tokyo are urging operators to improve the safety standards of their popular fancy dress go-kart tours of the city.

The sight of convoys of go-karts snaking through Tokyo's streets, their drivers wearing outfits based on the cult Super Mario Kart video games, is becoming increasingly common the Japan Times reports, but this has corresponded with an increase in accidents.

The city's Metropolitan Police Department says there have been 12 go-kart-related incidents in the past two months, with foreign tourists involved in ten of them. One accident involved a South Korean woman crashing into a police box after failing to negotiate a turn. Police are also concerned at the number of go-karters using their phones at the wheel, which is illegal in Japan.

In response to the risk posed by these low-visibility vehicles with relatively nippy 50cc engines, the police department has urged the five operating companies to issue helmets and protective gear, and to brief riders about local traffic laws.

Drivers pay up to 8,000 yen ($72; £55) for a two-hour tour on Tokyo's streets, and still need a valid driver's licence to get behind the wheel. The go-karts are classed as mopeds according to Japanese traffic laws, this means they have turn signals and lights, but there's no need for seatbelts.

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