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15-year-girl on bike hit, killed by truck; driver arrested

23 Comments

A 15-year-old girl riding a bicycle died after she was hit by a truck at an intersection in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, on Friday. Police arrested the 32-year-old truck driver on suspicion of reckless driving resulting in death.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 4:30 p.m. The girl, Kimi Miura, was on a crossing when she was hit by the truck which was turning left at the time. The girl sustained severe head injuries and was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The driver, Kotaro Nakazawa, has admitted to the charge and was quoted by police as saying he wasn’t paying attention when he made the turn at the intersection which has traffic lights.

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23 Comments
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One thing that might help is to outlaw curtains that truck drivers like to keep closed while driving. How is that even legal? I'm not saying that it was the cause of this accident but it very well could be.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Something certainly needs to be done. The scenario keeps repeating itself, unless we start getting pure accidents beyond the control of human factor there has to be something that can be done to prevent those tragedies.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Truck drivers making turns are the biggest menace on the road here. I hope they throw the book at the guy.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

So sad, When crossing an intersection, I always look for left turning traffic and make eye contact with the driver. Never assume a driver has seen you. As a cyclist I ride in general as if drivers haven't seen me. Even if you have right of way , you will always lose against a vehicle.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Running the red... I guarantee it.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

I can't count how many times in the space of just one week where I've had to stop on a crossing to let cars in front of me!

Never assume a vehicle is going to stop for you, even if you have a green light.

Its a terrible system they have in Japan, drivers are allowed onto a crossing if they think there is no danger of hitting you. So you are literally putting your life in their hands. Combine that with elderly drivers and Japanese roads are hell

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Running the red... I guarantee it.

It seems it wasn't that, but the dreaded left turning traffic hitting a cyclist on the crosswalk. Both on green and the truck not paying enough attention (driver admitted as much).

I have seen cyclists ducking across the zebra crossing as the light for pedestrians has turned red, but it still green for vehicular traffic, That's a risky move. (not that I'm Inferring this poor girl did that)

0 ( +9 / -9 )

RIP. What a waste. It sounds, from the Japanese, like they were going in the same direction and he turned across her.

Regardless of what happened in this case, Carcharodon gives good advice for anyone going in the same direction as traffic on a sidewalk or cycle path even. Cars and trucks have blind spots, so don't assume you've been seen. If you want to ride straight on across junctions without slowing down, I recommend riding on the road. The law says that for "yamu wo enai" cases aside, you should be on the road anyway.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

zatoizugoodo - One thing that might help is to outlaw curtains that truck drivers like to keep closed while driving. How is that even legal

It is illegal to put curtains or tints on the front side windows of any vehicle, but it’s just overlooked. The same as having the NAVI TV activated while the car is in motion.

Obviously this truck driver was reckless. However, I have to wonder if the outcome would have been different if the girl was wearing a bicycle helmet. That’s another law that is overlooked in Japan. All children under 13 years old are required to wear a bicycle helmet. I am aware she is/was 15. In Australia and many other countries, all cyclists are required to wear helmets because ‘helmets save lives’.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Helmets are only tested for hitting the ground from riding height at gravity induced speed. They are not designed or tested for straight-line collisions with anything, vehicles, walls, trees etc. In that situation, all bets are off.

I wear one, but many people don't wear them in the Netherlands, probably the world's biggest cycling country. fwiw, if close passing traffic endangers or worries you, you are best off not wearing a helmet, since real-world surveys show that the more pro you look (road bike, lycra, helmet), the less passing distance cars will give you. For lots of passing distance, it's best to look like a granny on a shopping bike.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Not paying attention, or was it total disregard for pedestrians and cyclists? Having cars swerve around you as you are crossing is an everyday occurrence. Not "paying attention" means that the driver had put the existence mere morals out of his mind. Yes, it's good at curtains are illegal, but the curtains in the brain are the real problem.

R.I.P. poor girl.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Japan’s traffic light system is designed to give pedestrians (and cyclists using the crossing) priority. This results in the green light for pedestrians crossing and vehicles turning left to be on at the same time. Trucks have very poor vision on the left side.

So instead of getting more time to cross the road pedestrians and cyclists get run over by large trucks unable to see them.

Simple solution. When the pedestrian crossing is green, the others are red. Shorter time to cross but more lively to stay alive.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@kohakuebisu - Helmets are only tested for hitting the ground from riding height at gravity induced speed. They are not designed or tested for straight-line collisions with anything, vehicles, walls, trees etc. In that situation, all bets are off.

Which means what exactly? Are you stating a helmet would not have had any protection based on the little information in this article? This girl was clipped from the side by a turning truck. It is most likely her head injuries came from hitting the ground. Therefor, your comment is mute and void! You are just another knob head who argues for the sake of it! I'll bet you are from the US too. (roll eyes)

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Can't really make a judgement call without more information. Sure, the truck driver has admitted to reckless driving (and by Japanese law, that trumps ANY kind of recklessness on the part of the cyclist), but was the cyclist also abiding by the road rules? Was she crossing on a shared crossing? If not, she should have dismounted and walked her bicycle across. Was she riding on the road (if it was safe) as she was supposed to? Did she shoot out from a place that hid her from the view of turning cars? On any given day, I see more cyclists breaking the law at crossings than drivers. I don't know whether it's through their ignorance of the law or if they're simply ignoring the law, but, particularly because they are more vulnerable to being injured, they don't ride as safe as they should. Sad news but possibly could have been avoided. Ride safe, people. Learn the laws, use common sense if you bend them, and ride even safer! https://www.jitco.or.jp/download/data/leaflet_English.pdf

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

daninja - victim blaming is disgusting.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

victim blaming is disgusting

I completely agree. Please re-read.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Truck drivers and construction worker van drivers are the biggest liability on the roads in my 16 years in Japan. They never slow down on crossings and always drive at speed. About 16 years ago some construction workers coming out of a side street at speed tried to run me over.

Can't really make a judgement call without more information

So then you continue to pass judgement on a deceased 15 year old girl and despite the truck driver admitting negligence. Shame on you.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Oh, get off your high horse, TTD. Where exactly did I "pass judgement" on anyone? Do you always react so strongly to people questioning what the full story might be? Hope you're not a judge, mate. Or a Jussie Smollett fan.

The driver was in the wrong and (hopefully) will be appropriately punished, but could a death have been avoided with better education/awareness on the part of the cyclist? Just voicing a question based on what I see every day. Many comments had already condemned the truck driver (—fair enough!), so there was no need to repeat what'd been said. I simply suggested that cyclists also need to be careful and pay attention—even when they know they have 'right of way'—as this can save lives. Ever driven a truck? Or even a bicycle? Ever heard of 'defensive driving'? 'Safety first'? 'Better safe than sorry'? Don't know about you, but there are more kids than truck drivers in my life, so I'll do what I can to help them be safer when they're out riding their bikes. If you know for a fact that all truckies "are the biggest liability on the roads", "never slow down on crossings", "always drive at speed" and are 100% to blame for any accident, I'll leave educating them to you. But I'd avoid the generalisations—they (also) make you seem narrow-minded.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Running the red... I guarantee it.

Well, the story doesn't say, but cyclists in this country do indeed to understand that when they run red lights, they are putting their lives at risks. I see it sooooooo often, as in every day.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So then you continue to pass judgement on a deceased 15 year old girl and despite the truck driver admitting negligence.

When you have been in Japan long enough you begin to realize that truly means nothing here. With Japanese civilians, its usually automatic. And when it isn't, the cops push for it because in their small minds, the fact someone else is dead proves the living were not perfect, therefore, the living are negligent. Maybe after you have attended a few remedial driving courses due to minor traffic infractions, and the instructor tells you should know people are standing behind a bus by the shadow they cast under the bus (real world example), well that will be the day you realize they expect you to be super ninja when behind the wheel. Unless a person literally falls out of the sky I don't think they accept any excuses. So you just bow your neck and hope they swing the katana deftly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Meanwhile the former top bureaucrat who killed a mother and her 3-year-old daughter remains free. It's not what you do but who you know.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can see this being the fault of both parties.

I've seen enough to know that NO ONE pays attention when they are moving. Be it on foot, on a bike, driving, whatever. People just think it's all a game and no harm will come.

Welcome to reality people! Look at your surroundings. Always.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 Combine that with elderly drivers and Japanese roads are hell

The driver was 32.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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