"We have requests coming in from stores that we never dealt with before asking for nothing but 3-seater bicycles. It's probably thanks to the subsidy and rental systems," says one Maruishi Cycle official. Leading bicycle maker Bridgestone Cycle, meanwhile, has sold over 65,000 3-seaters. According to a marketing official, "Bicycles with electric motors are doing particularly well."
In Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo, in order to "reduce burdens on parents and guardians," the government instituted a subsidy system to give 100 buyers of 3-seat bicycles rebates of 30,000 yen each. Applications for the subsidy began being accepted in April, and within about two months over 230 had been received. In Nishitokyo, which began a subsidy system in October of last year, over a period of a half-year 257 applications were received.
Three-seat bicycles are not only convenient, they are said to be safe as well. They are required to meet the safety standards of the National Police Agency, and are harder to knock over than a regular bicycle. "The bike is necessary for taking my children to pre-school," says one 26-year-old mother in Bunkyo Ward who purchased a 3-seat bicycle. "This is just the kind of bike I imagined I would want if I were going to carry my children on it," she said. (The Mainichi Daily News)