crime

2-year-old boy fatally hit by motorbike while returning from fireworks festival

30 Comments

A two-year-old boy died after he was hit by a motorcycle while he was returning home from attending a fireworks festival in Tokyo on Saturday night.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 9:45 p.m. in Itabashi Ward, Fuji TV reported. The motorbike rider, Tetsuya Otani, 49, a self-employed resident of Kita Ward, has been arrested on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in death.

Police said the boy and his family had come from Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture, to watch the annual Itabashi fireworks festival. After the festival ended, the family had dined at a nearby restaurant. They were on their way to the parking lot where their car was when the child ran ahead and out onto the street.

Otani was quoted by police as saying the boy ran out in front of him and that he tried to stop his bike but couldn’t do so in time.

The boy was taken to hospital where he died about an hour later.

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30 Comments
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but the parents who allowed the kid to run out into the street is not in trouble... ? the motorist was at the wrong place at the wrong time

23 ( +26 / -3 )

They were on their way to the parking lot where their car was when the child ran ahead and out onto the street.

it's the parents' fault, not the biker.

23 ( +28 / -5 )

Not the biker's fault.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

the parking lot where their car was when the child ran ahead and out onto the street.

It's a sad fact that drivers and motorcyclists in Japan are penalised for the stupidity of careless parents. I cannot count the amount of times I've seen toddlers running freely along streets and through car parks. I have no doubt the parents are blaming the motorcyclist too.

On the other hand, I have learned to drive extremely cautiously in Japan because of these types of idiots and many more. I narrowly missed a 30's guy today on bicycle as he flew through a stop sign at a blind intersection. It was only the fact that I was traveling at 20kph and was able to stop that saved his life.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

letsberealistic - sorry but I don't follow your reasoning there. Japanese cities have low car ownership and most of Tokyo is a maze of narrow roads where cars can't get over about 30km/h with a few major roads with a large number of pedestrian crossings. Where I live,, all the kids walk to school each day and I'm far less concerned about them being involved in a traffic accident than most of my friends in Britain with children. I can think of plenty of reasons not to have kids but am surprised to hear traffic stated as one of them.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

This is why i drive very slow on a very narrow road. as in about about 10-15kph. Tobidashi is always possible anytime. I hate my neighbors who run fast even in a very narrow road.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Kid ran onto the street and the rider now has to live with that... hello parents!?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Heartbreaking. Parents, we must hold our small children's hands when out and about on the streets.

I feel for the poor bike driver. As long as he wasn't speeding he doesn't seem to be at fault.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Japan's crazy driving laws need to change. I doubt the driver is to blame at all, and if they can prove the kid ran out, the driver should not be charged. Only in Japan does this happen according to the law, and it needs changing.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

You know, I'm a super cautious parent who always tries to be next to my children when we are outside. BUT it just takes one second for your kid to run out ahead. We have no idea from this brief news article who bares more blame but to criticize the parents from this brief blurb is pretty reckless.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

@Ah_so - This is Japan where the space for pedestrians and motorists is often shared, so pedestrians should take precedence. Without knowing about the scenario and the appropriate speed at which a bike should be going in that street, we cannot point fingers and allot blame

You've just confirmed it is the parents' fault with this statement. Yes, roads are narrow and yes, pedestrians often share the same space. So, what kind of an idiot parent lets their 2 year old kid run wild on a narrow street with no sidewalk? It is the parents fault from carelessness.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I rode a motorcycle in Okinawa for six years. I ALWAYS EXPECTED EVERYONE to do the WRONG thing. It became apparent this was the right way to ride when I watched a little girl BREAK from her mom's hand, do a 180* and run RIGHT INTO the path of my motorcycle, which I LOCKED UP and had to lay it down. The mother KNEW it was the KID's FAULT, NOT mine....I just looked at her, said nothing, and left. That kid was VERY LUCKY I ride the way I do.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yes - we don't know all the facts. Blame may be shared.

But what I know as a father of children - busy roads (fireworks), busy carparks (fireworks), night time (fireworks) and 2 YEAR OLDS running ahead is definitely not a good mix.

This appears to be not an accident - but a tragedy waiting to happen with all cylinders firing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Very tragic, both will live with this for the rest of their lives.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I CONSTANTLY see parents walking at a leisurely pace with their 2-5 year old children running several meters in front of them, and the parents never seem to care at all, don't yell at them to slow down or come back, or try to catch up with them.

I saw one kid at a matsuri last week try to run out into the road, but somebody stopped them. Honestly I'm surprised you don't see this kind of news story more often. Now the poor motorcyclist has to live with the guilt of killing a kid.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You don’t let go of a two year old’s hand when out in public except in an area closed to vehicular traffic!

That is common sense!

A severe lack of it causes these accidents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Small kids random behaviour can't be predicted. Even I have been careless and luckily nothing bad have happened.

Poor kid and pity for the bike rider. Probably if it was daylight he could have reacted but in the dark...

Problem in Japan is even if he is found not guilty of the accident he has to share 50% liability. Never it is 0% for one of the sides.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tough one to call, not much information…perhaps the rider was going above the speed limit resulting him in not being able to stop in time. In that case the rider is partly responsible as he may have been able to stop had he been riding under the speed limit. Irrespective of the rider’s culpability though, the fact remains that a TWO YEAR OLD was able to get on the street without supervision. The parents can blame the driver, the road, the poorly lit street, a momentary distraction, the alignment of the moon etc etc…. but the fact remains that their son depended on THEM to keep him safe and they failed. I see this all the time, kids running ahead with the parent calling out 「危ないよ!」as though calling out is going to stop a two year old in his tracks as he makes it to the street edge.

Kudos to all the posters here who know all too well the situation on the streets… I’m going to keep this kid in the back of my mind the next time I drive, expect the unexpected and drive a little slower.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think people should also know that the driver would be arrested regardless of speed or other infractions.

In Japan you always get arrested if you kill someone with your car, whether it’s your fault or they were lying in the street.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Awful. Now the poor driver of the bike has to live with the criminal neglect of the boys parents. I mean, who lets a 2 year old run out onto the road, much less at night?

Poor driver

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not enough information to make a judgment either way. I’ve walked back from the Arakawa fireworks and many streets are still crowded at 9:45. Some are virtually pedestrian malls if not in fact closed to vehicular traffic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s hard to tell much about liability without all the facts. Definitely it sounds like the fault of the parents, but the bike driver may also be partly to blame if he also acted negligently in a way that contributed to the accident (like if he was speeding and, if he had not been, he would have had time to avoid the collision, etc).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unfortunately, it may often slip our minds but we have to drive with extreme caution especially on city streets. Almost daily I have pedestrians and even other cars shooting out in front of my car without even looking. Japan is a pedestrian first country even if they are running across the expressway or lying under your car.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Given the details , I dont understand why the biker was arrested at all.. the parents should have been though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The biker is gonna get it. Japanese laws are way behind the times. In this situation i would blame the parents but they will be considered the victims.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@WA4TKG

Nope, not kids fault, Moms fault, you should have called police and make sure she pays repairs to bike.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You've just confirmed it is the parents' fault with this statement. Yes, roads are narrow and yes, pedestrians often share the same space. So, what kind of an idiot parent lets their 2 year old kid run wild on a narrow street with no sidewalk? It is the parents fault from carelessness

No, it was the biker's fault. He was going too fast - it was just after a big event where children were around and should have been going at an appropriate speed. If you can't see ahead you should not been going that fast.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If the kid ran into the street, who thinks he'll be charged with anything?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

it's the parents' fault, not the biker.

Strange, because the article states:

The motorbike rider...has been arrested on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in death.

You know nothing of the details of the case, as do many others who have been quick to blame the parents. How fast was the biker going? Was he going at a crazy speed and accelerating too fast?

This is Japan where the space for pedestrians and motorists is often shared, so pedestrians should take precedence. Without knowing about the scenario and the appropriate speed at which a bike should be going in that street, we cannot point fingers and allot blame

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Very sad.

One of the reasons we decided to not have our children in Japan; people and traffic are often forced to be too close to each other.

-20 ( +3 / -23 )

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