Woman charged for driving a suitcase

Next time you’re trudging through an airport dragging a suitcase, just imagine you could pull some handlebars out of that bag, sit on it and zoom to your gate at 5 miles an hour.That is the plan for Modobag, a Chicago startup that has spent two years developing a $1,500 rideable suitcase, even though some airports say they won’t be allowed. When visiting another country it’s important to get acquainted with the laws of the land to avoid serious trouble. Although it’s good advice, it can be really hard to know all the legal ins and outs of another country, especially one with traffic laws as subtle and minute as Japan’s. Unfortunately, this resulted in some legal troubles for one woman who took her suitcase out for a spin. The incident occurred on 31 March when the woman, a Chinese national studying in Japan, was caught riding her suitcase on the sidewalk in Fukushima Ward, Osaka City. Her suitcase was equipped with wheels and an electric motor, allowing her to reach speeds of up to 8 miles per hour.

The woman is denying the charges and told police: “I didn’t think of it as a vehicle, so I didn’t think I needed a license.” While declaring you didn’t know the law you broke was a law isn’t much of a legal defense, it’s easy to sympathize with her situation. Even Japanese people struggle with understanding the laws regarding which small vehicles such as these require a license to operate and which ones don’t. Traditionally, the main factor governing the classification of vehicles is engine size. A few decades ago, this was all pretty straightforward and helped to distinguish things like a dirt bike or a scooter from a Harley. But in recent years, matters have been complicated with the advent of electric power-assisted bicycles and kick-scooters… and suitcases now too, apparently. Since their various shapes, sizes, and weights can make displacement and power output poor indicators of actual speed and acceleration, revisions have been made to regulations regarding their use, with the vehicle’s top speed now taken into consideration. One general rule of thumb in Japan is that a vehicle with a maximum speed of 3.7 miles per hour or less is treated as a pedestrian rather than a vehicle. That’s why old folks on mobility scooters don’t get busted.

In the case of the woman’s suitcase, it is said to be capable of 8 miles per hour and thus categorized as a “Gendokitsuki Jitensha” vehicle, which requires a license. It’s important to note that she didn’t even have to be traveling that speed to be charged. The vehicle itself must be limited to a top speed of four miles per hour, or in some cases have a functioning alert light that shows when that speed has been reached. It’s all pretty convoluted stuff, but the bottom line is that while in Japan, if you’re planning on riding a suitcase or whatever else they come up with that’s ridable, either make sure you have a license or make sure it can’t go faster than four miles  per hour.

Luggage Laughs

Don’t you just hate that situation when you’re picking up your bags at the airport, and everyone’s luggage is better than yours.
A worst case scenario.

Airport security asked me if I’ve seen anything unusual.
…I just paid $18 for a coke & a ham sandwich…Let’s start with that.

Wherever you go, there you are.
Your luggage is another story.

I just told my luggage there will be no vacations this year.
Now I’m dealing with emotional baggage.

July 3rd Birthdays

1998 – Sara Waisglass, 1991 – Nathalia Ramos, 1979 – Mia McKenna-Bruce, 1965 – Connie Nielsen

1962 – Tom Cruise,  1956 – Montel Williams, 1930 – Pete Fountain, 1935 – Harrison Schmidt

Morning Motivator: