On March 11, 2011, the Great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan’s eastern coast. In the Chiba Prefecture alone, the natural disaster struck 29 cities and 10 towns, killing 20 people and injuring more than 47,000 citizens in the process. Throughout the chaos, emergency responders struggled to serve nearby communities due to the traffic caused by the evacuating public.
Yotsukaido City quickly learned from the situation, however, establishing the Disaster Prevention Motorcycle Corps to respond to natural disaster victims in an expedient manner. The team consists of 10 dedicated members, with the squad captain and deputy captain included among those ranks. The entire outfit rides Honda Super Cub 50 Pros equipped with top boxes, baskets, and windshields.
The rugged Super Cubs allow the responders to carry supplies to and away from the disaster site while remaining small enough to pick through congested streets. Yotsukaido City’s crisis management supervisor only dispatches the specialized corps when seismic activity measuring a magnitude of 5 or higher strikes the region. While an earthquake of that strength hasn’t hit the Chiba Prefecture since the 2011 disaster, the Disaster Prevention Motorcycle Corps remain vigilant.
To stay sharp, team members attend the seminars and riding skills courses supported by Yotsukaido City. However, the city doesn’t require special certificates or licenses for the Disaster Prevention Motorcycle Corps riders. As long as member regularly rides a motorcycle on a regular basis, they qualify for the role. Considering the Super Cub 50 Pro’s approachability and the need for first responders during a crisis, the membership requirements seem reasonable.
Depending on the situation, Yotsukaido City’s crisis management supervisor may send Corps riders to neighboring areas, so availability is key. Once dispatched, the team member rides to the affected area and relays information back to the crisis management supervisor via radio. If the airwaves are down, though, riders can resort to smartphones. Fortunately, Yotsukaido City hasn’t deployed the 10-rider team just yet, but the Disaster Prevention Motorcycle Corps remains ready for the call.