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5 pupils, teacher injured after being hit by car

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Elementary school kids being made to walk to school alone from the age of 6 + roads with no mounted pavements = this happening. A painted line does not discourage cars from driving over the painted line. I hope the children are all ok.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

japanese system is pretty good. they have a leader and walk in groups. in a dangerous place parents volunteer to keep a watchful eye. they hold up yellow flags when at crossings. they have bells to deter bears in the countryside. better than in my country where we used to have stone fights, raid fruit trees and not me, but some kids, had a smoke.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Goodluck, I get your humour in the last sentence, which is the same as my upbringing. But most elementary schools in Japan only have teachers close to the school. And from today's accident even that cannot stop a car from crossing the imaginary pavement.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Gooldlucktoyou: "japanese system is pretty good. "

No, it's not. It is terrible. Yes, in dangerous places parents volunteer to keep a watchful eye because, unlike in other nations, the cities are too cheap to hire crossing guards, and even where the law dictates cars MUST stop to allow pedestrians, this is still very much a country that prioritizes the automobile, and cars don't stop at zebra crossings, and there's no punishment if they do not unless they are involved in an accident. Just looking at this picture I know the kind of street -- not much more than the width of a car, but for two-way traffic. No space for walking except maybe a 30-cm strip at the side of the road, painted with a white line, but that has utility poles in the middle of it so you have to choose oncoming traffic or the gutter to walk into, etc. I mean, there isn't even enough room for these guys to stand without being in the middle of the road.

"they hold up yellow flags when at crossings."

There is no penalty for ignoring them... and I see people ignore them frequently and speed past.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Sunglasses, people.

Preferably the pilot variants (Rayban Aviator brown for example), as they're made from plain old glass and non-polarized, allowing safe usage through polarizing windshields. A pair of Aviator costs less than 10000 JPY, and it can really save you in such situations.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All cars, including old models, must be equipped with collision avoidance systems, human factor is the leading cause of road accidents.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'm actually in agreement with TigersTokyoDome on this one. These painted white lines do nothing. Cars will run over them to make turns so they don't have to slow down or stop, and will pull into them to let other cars pass, or just stop to have a smoke or catch a Pokemon, leaving you to have to go into traffic to go around them... if they haven't hit you. I've been hit by car mirrors more than once despite having to press against vending machines or stand in gutters. There is just not enough space.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

As smith says. I test my daughters future school route that also has a blind corner. Many cars overlap over the line. Its bad enough for adults like me. What chance do 6 year olds have. Stupid system painting a pedestrian line. Stupid system making 6 year olds walk to school on their own.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

the cities are too cheap to hire crossing guards, and even where the law dictates cars MUST stop to allow pedestrians, this is still very much a country that prioritizes the automobile, and cars don't stop at zebra crossings

do you actually expect the government to hire crossing guards at all street crossings?!?! and even if there was a crossing guard in this case, the guard also would have been hit since the guy was "blinded by sunshine." so yeah, let's spend another billion dollars that japan doesn't have.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

 Stupid system making 6 year olds walk to school on their own.

how would walking with a parent make a difference in this case?!?! a reckless driver crashed into pedestrians. the accident would have happened even if superman were walking with them.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Investigators believe the incident occurred as Kitamaki tried to avoid an oncoming car, according to the police.

That's a tough position to be in. Hit the car, you are liable. Hit the pedestrians, you are liable.

I've had plenty of near misses because another driver suddenly makes a move that could force you into causing an accident - and they could just drive away, because you avoided them.

Drive recorders, people!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The car struck them from behind in front of the pupils' elementary school.

Come on Japan - protect your children. Speed bumps on roads around schools - please!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

nakanoguy: "do you actually expect the government to hire crossing guards at all street crossings?!?!"

No, nor are there adults at ALL crossings, are there? But let me give you examples of priorities here. There USED to be hired crossing guards at key intersections around the city I live and work, and especially dangerous areas. The city had to make cuts to its budgets, so it's choices were three: a) reduce the number of City Hall employees, b) cut the budget for the town's monthly newsletter by eliminating the full colour spread in the middle and front and back covers, c) fire all crossing guards and ask the PTA to do it for free.

Guess which one they opted for. So, instead of putting kids' safety first, they chose to keep 10 extra staff and printing costs on a monthly newsletter most people toss immediately into the recycling bin.

"and even if there was a crossing guard in this case, the guard also would have been hit since the guy was "blinded by sunshine."

Hypothetical. The guard may have been able to see it coming and ask the kids to move, or maybe pushed some aside. The point I made is that there are many places unsafe for lack of proper supervision, with little kids expected to walk alone, and this exact kind of thing happening. Because of stupidity and poor priorities. But leave it to the people to spin it and try and say "kids are more independent" and "drivers are more careful" when both are rubbish.

"so yeah, let's spend another billion dollars that japan doesn't have."

They don't have it because they are currently wasting it on a bevy of other things -- again, priorities.

"how would walking with a parent make a difference in this case?!?!"

Somebody's misdirecting their anger! You KNOW it is not as safe as it could be, and a parent might be more aware of the oncoming accident, and you know roads are not safe in general.

"a reckless driver crashed into pedestrians. the accident would have happened even if superman were walking with them."

Prove it. You can't, and you know that. Hence the anger. Don't shoot the messengers here. Put the blame where it should be -- poor city planning, and poor priorities with spending. The streets like this that are too narrow should be off limits to vehicles completely, or roads widened where possible (the latter where not). These roads were not built with modern cars in mind; you can't just paint a line and ask kids to jump into someone's garden if one or two cars (on a street barely big enough for one) comes along. Inconvenient for drivers? Tough! Put lives before convenience.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Basically Japan just doesn't GET roads. Crossroads are dangerous and often incomprehensible. Often there are no signs above the road and the only indication of which road goes where is painted on the road surface - invisible in heavy traffic. Many small streets have electric poles just asking to be run into. Cyclists ride on the left, on the right, in the middle of the road, on the pavements, basically in any empty space. And to cap it all, there is no real address system. The chome/banchi system just doesn't make sense and more often than not any indication of where you are is covered with some kind of advertising.

In a narrow street as above, there needs to be a raised pavement for pedestrians and those electric poles need to be underground. There should be roundabouts instead of traffic lights. They are MUCH safer, use no energy, reduce traffic speed and avoid the problem of having to wait five minutes while nothing is coming.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

First of all, sympathies for the injured.

A mixture of factors in play here. We've all been blinded by sunlight. Could be inexperience, bad driving position, not using sun visor...

I agree with many posts here about the uselessness of painted lines on narrow streets. Bury the wires, lose the denchuu, raise the kerb on at least one side of the street.

@Bertie, those of us familiar with roundabouts/rotaries/traffic circles know how much energy can be saved, how much better traffic can flow etc, but it's not going to happen here. Many nihonjin can successfully negotiate roundabouts when driving abroad, but a national mindset that needs to be told what to do here by ill-thought-out traffic light sequence, would go into meltdown on a roundabout. Imagine the chalk, police tape, traffic cones, and total chaos at the first accident on the first experimental Japanese roundabout. More chance of implementing daylight savings!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

From what I’ve been able to learn, neither children or adults are taught to walk facing traffic rather than with the traffic flow. They were struck from behind. Walking, facing traffic, gives the pedestrian the ability to see oncoming traffic or danger. Why isn’t this basic safety concept taught?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Driver's need sunglasses  . . . where possible, design roads so they are oriented to avoid direct sunlight . . . provide rumble strips, speed bumps in advance of pedestrian cross areas

0 ( +2 / -2 )

the accident would have happened even if superman were walking with them. yes but the only damage would be to the driver car as superman would have stopped it dead

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've driven many times in early morning sunlight. Even with sunglasses, sun visor and even using my hand, all simlutaneously, there are still moments when the sun cannot be blocked.

It's a very scary situation in rush hour traffic.

I sincerely hope the children and their chaperon will get well soon.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When I go to work, I always see kids walking along the shoulder of busy roads on their way to school. There is nothing separating them from the cars and trucks wizzing by, except maybe a painted line. Seems like an accident waiting to happen.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Currently they are widening the small country road in front of my house and as a longtime resident I was invited to the first meetings with town officials and residents living slong this narrow little road. I asked to think of people first, not only cars and asked for speed bumps to slow down the traffic. The answer of the bureaucrat in charge was: "Speed bumps will damage cars".

In Europe and may other countries, even in Indonesia residential roads have speed bumps to make cars slow down and to protect children and the elderly. Not so in Japan. Roads are made for cars, rarely with a sidewalk, nothing to regulate speed, nothing to protect pedestrians. In this country convenience and the health of cars has a higher priority than the safety of people. Currently we are still fighting for speed bumps, encountering stubborn resistance from town officials citing shady reasons why speed bumps are not feasible. They will be responsible for anybody killed or hurt and they don't seem to care. People here are not important or as one town official put it: "Cars are people".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My-da - Had a similar experience in my neighborhood in Yokohama. Was told speed bumps would slow down emergency vehicles(which, of course, are most likely responding to a car crash).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“I sincerely hope the children and their chaperon will get well soon.”

She was not their chaperon, just a teacher at a nearby junior high school who happened to be walking to work along the same road. The elementary schoolchildren were walking in a group of older and younger kids together.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am so surprised to see TigerTokyoDome receive so many minus clicks. I live here in Japan and totally agree with him/her. His post is NOT opinion. It is a FACT. To be fair though, this is not the case with ALL schools. Don't believe him/me? GoogleEarth!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

how would walking with a parent make a difference in this case?!?! a reckless driver crashed into pedestrians. the accident would have happened even if superman were walking with them.

None at all but at least the local council could not be accused of sticking young children on the same road as traffic. How many times do you read about cars mounting pavements? Nowhere near as many as cases where kids get hit on shared roads.

You did not think before writing your second sentence. An adult with their children always takes great care around traffic. A 6 year old alone on the road is a 6 year old alone on the road. You obviously do not have children so you obviously are not in a place to comment on this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems like traffic accident number is increasing based on the numerous news like this.

Something has really got to change or else we will read more heartbreaking news like this one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

since1981, I guess most these posters do not live in Japan otherwise they would be aware of the issue. And they clearly have not had young children. As you say, it is not an opinion but fact.

Only last night, I walked home on the school road and the road is so narrow that 2 cars cannot pass with someone walking on the pedestrian side. So the traffic on one side has to stop with many cars over the pedestrian line. School kids were cycling on the pedestrian side which leaves no room to walk. Absolutley ridiculous planning. It should be a one-way street with a mounted pavement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Giveme

I don’t know about traffic accidents generally, but as far as fatalities are concerned, this year is the slowest on record.

(ie since stats were first compiled in 1970)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The coward chose to hit the children instead of the other car.

Blinded by light is a poor excuse.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Suzanne

”I could not see the children.” He said. No reason to disbelieve him.

Difficult to choose to hit something if you can’t see it....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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