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The Japanese “biker gang” we hope you’ll never deal with: SCOUTs ride through flames and rubble of Shizuoka, when things get worse than bad

by Moto Japan

If words “biker gang” and “Japan” make you think of bosozoku riders, let go of the past and think again.

If you’re wondering what the roughest biker gang in Japan is, head to Shizuoka, where a team of off-road motorcycle riders is trained to respond to disaster challenges that might occur in Shizuoka prefecture.

Over 30 individuals that ride under the name SCOUT (Shizuoka City Off-Road Utility Team), are the fist response team members, that would quickly and effectively inspect conditions and collect information across the rubble in case of a natural disaster. What makes SCOUT team eccentric are their day-jobs. SCOUT riders are no stunt bikers, policemen or firefighters. They are also no doctors or construction workers. SCOUT riders spend their days working as government staff personnel, spending majority of their time sitting at desks of governmental offices, battling with piles of papers wearing their suits and neckties, rather than superhero rider outfits.

Are they Kamen Riders of Heisei era? Or rather Clark Kent transforming into Superman when duty calls?

The team was established in 1996, one year after the Great Hanshin-Awaju Earthquake of 1995.

This shake was part of the Tokai earthquake series - severe quakes that shake this region every 100 to 150 years. For this reason, disaster preparedness projects are not surprising in this area. SCOUT team members have experienced the Great Hanshin earthquake in Shizuoka, and they have experienced the impact of natural forces on their own. There were many programs assisting victims of the quake, but lack of information from remote area slowed down the process and jeopardized lives of hundreds. Primarily, this reflected in lack of information about injured people and limited access to medical treatment.

Rubble on mountainous streets around Shizuoka City made larger vehicle access impossible, and mopeds turned out to be most useful mean of transportation.

Now the SCOUT team utilizes Yamaha Serow, Yamaha TW and Honda TL bikes. The riders attend regular meet ups and workshops, to keep on top of preparedness when the disaster strikes.


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