Almost eleven years ago, the Great Eastern Japan earthquake in 2011 struck the northeast coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island. The 9.1-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami, and the combined disasters eventually killed more than 18,000 people. In January 2022, it remains the strongest earthquake to ever strike Japan, as well as one of the largest in the world.
What does this terrible natural disaster have to do with motorcycles? It was the great earthquake of 2011 in eastern Japan that caused the Tokyo metro to reconsider some of its safety mitigation measures for the future, one of which relates to response motorcycles. emergency.
In case something terrible happened in the future, the organization realized that many vehicles would not be able to easily pass through the many kilometers of underground tunnels that are part of the Tokyo metro system. Four-wheeled vehicles, in particular, just wouldn’t have such an easy time getting around all of those tight spaces. Add to that the possibility of rubble and partial collapse, and the answer was clear: the Tokyo Metro needed to establish a body of motorcyclists.
So, in 2013, the Tokyo Metro created its very first body of motorcyclists. As of December 2021, the small group consisted of around 60 people ready and able to navigate the tunnels on one of the 14 official Tokyo Metro motorcycles designated for this purpose.
Which bikes has Tokyo Metro chosen for its fleet? The Yamaha Serow 250 owes its name to a Japanese animal frequently described in English as a “goat antelope”. It is a nimble and agile creature native to Japan who is able to traverse difficult places with ease. Likewise, the Serow 250 is a 249cc single-cylinder trail bike, designed not to blink when asked to access those hard-to-reach areas.
Before the global pandemic, bikers in the Tokyo Metro Motorcycle Corps trained with Japanese police officers about once a month, to make sure they were in shape for whenever needed. So far that time has not come, but when it does, Serow’s fleet is ready to deploy.