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6-year-old girl dies after being hit head-on by truck in Ibaraki

39 Comments

A 6-year-old girl who was headed to school on her bicycle on Tuesday was killed in a head-on collision with a truck, police said. The girl, identified as Nagisa Nakamura, was rushed to the hospital but died soon after from severe head injuries.

Police have arrested the driver of the vehicle, 43-year-old Satoshi Takane, for involuntary manslaughter with a motor vehicle. The accident occurred on a straight stretch of road in an area with no obstructions. Takane said he didn't see the girl coming toward him.

© Wire reports

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39 Comments
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RIP little one. It might be just me but 6 year olds and bicycles are not a good mix. Far too young to understand the dangers of the roads. Am i too strict because i wont let my daughter get a bicycle in japan???

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Ratpack. No you are not too strict. My 2 young boys do not get a bicycle either and I walk them to school every day. Tragic story again.

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Most children in Japan don't wear a helmet when riding their bicycles... by law they should wear one until they are 12, but it's not enforced at all, because children mostly ride on sidewalks, so it's assumed they will be safe even without a helmet! A lot of children don't wear seatbelts in cars either : Japan has a real problem relating to bicycle/car safety!

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the driver was probably lighting up or on the phone, or both.

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She could have been wearing a suit of armor and it wouldnt matter. She was hit by a truck. Many Japanese truck drivers act as though they own the road and I doubt this scumbag is worried about anything more than whatever fine awaits him.

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head on accident ? i guess the driver of the truck was on his lane... 6 years old, seeing the grown ups and the policemen riding bicycles on opposite lanes, without paying attention, she may not have know it was not allowed !

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trucker probably ran a red light. Happens ALL the time here.

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head on accident ? i guess the driver of the truck was on his lane... 6 years old, seeing the grown ups and the policemen riding bicycles on opposite lanes, without paying attention, she may not have know it was not allowed !

yea..and she left behind a man who will lose his driving licence, his job, and be put in jail. And what will happened to his family?

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Most children in Japan don't wear a helmet when riding their bicycles... by law they should wear one until they are 12,bla bla bla

Do you suppose a helmet would have helped when the kid hit the truck head ON? Even a steel helmet is no use in this instance!

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why are the two top stories this morning about kids under 10 being killed. yes, I get it, its sad; but is it attention-grabbing national news? no. i know Japan's shoshika=declining population is seen as a problem...but do we need a breaking news report every time a kid wanders into traffic...

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Driver may have been careless, but frankly the whole J thing of riding on the wrong side of the road is an accident waiting to happen. It is too much to expect drivers to look in every single direction before moving just in case a cyclist or pedestrian is doing something illegal or just plain stupid.

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Helmet helmet helmet, could that have made a difference....myself would never let my 6 year old ride anywhere alone, just cos she does it once who know what happens the next time...they don't have common knowledge of safety, BUT drivers are always driving badly, texting, reading and never comming to a full stop and looking the other way rather than both way at side streets.

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Loss of the 6 yr old girl will be pretty dramatic to fellow classmates to father & such. At such a young age children are NOT riding their bicycles to school & so often one of the parents will walk them to drive them to school & yes do the same back home. Six yrs of age is to young to know what side of the road she should be on or even think defensively.

Do not know if she was in a SCHOOL ZONE which in this are is only 15 KPH for that makes a big difference.

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Yes a helmet is compulsory in this area even for adults, but in 90% of the cases it is so hard to have a child with a helmet fitting properly. You look at them & the helmet it sort of hanging on their head & NOT fastened properly or fitted properly.

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I don't think anyone should cast any stones before more facts come to light. I've seen heaps of bad drivers, and trucks in particular speeding down roads so small they should be one way, not at all two-way and with people walking/riding on them.

Then again I see kids every day peddling in a fury and weaving all over the roads, cutting corners, and speeding into the streets while there is oncoming traffic. I'm simply thankful this doesn't happen more.

So, before you start calling this guy scumbag keep in mind he could well be telling the truth -- he didn't see the little girl before she jumped out in front of him.

Regardless, my condolences to the family. RIP, little one.

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Mittsu wrote: frankly the whole J thing of riding on the wrong side of the road is an accident waiting to happen.

I have to completely agree with that. All riding on the wrong side does is give you the luxury of not having to look over your shoulder at things bearing down on you. I prefer to be able to use areas of escape that are ahead of both me and the car. With the car behind, both speeding up and slowing down may allow me to get out of the way. While traveling head on toward the vehicle, your time to react is far less. The solution is too look over your shoulder a lot or even attach a rear view mirror, not put bicycles against the car traffic.

But 6 year olds should not be commuting via bicycle anyway.

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My condolences to both families.

It's not fair to hypothesize, but it sounds like the girl might have been riding against traffic on the side of the road, as many bicyclists do. However, trucks are very wide and roads are very narrow.

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such a sad and tragic accident. my condolences to the girl's family.

yes, a child should wear a helmet. but unfortunately, i don't think it would have helped in this case. riding against the traffic or not, trucks being wide and the road narrow or not, if you read the article, it says "The accident occurred on a straight stretch of road in an area with no obstructions. Takane said he didn’t see the girl coming toward him." it is a straight stretch of road with no obstructions. if the truck driver WAS PAYING ATTENTION, he would have seen the girl.

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why was this girl riding a bike to school??? was she with her parent(s)? elementary school kids do not ride bike to go to school, unless this happened after school or on a weekend. But even then, schools usually don't allow kids under 9 years old to ride bike without being accompanied by an adult. and YES, HELEMET!!!!!!!!!!!!! my heart goes to the family of this little girl. RIP.

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Another TRUCK incident! Most of these drivers are less safety conscious because the vehicle is not theirs and tend to drive erratic because of the amount of time they spend in these vehicles and as one already mentioned "think they own the road." I still can't see why so many trucks are on the road here, other countries seem to mange very well with less truck traffic. Japan needs to do a study and see what they are doing wrong. RIP little one, unfortunately you will not be the last...

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Fishy's right. Elementary kids do not ride bikes to school. For a start it's usually (always?) against the rules, plus there's no bike sheds or suchlike. So, she can't have been on her own. She probably rode on ahead of the parent who must have been with her (if for no other reason than to wheel the bike back home afterwards.) So why is there no mention of such in the article?

As for the driver, if the kid was hugging the bushes and fences along the side of the road and then wobbled out (as kids do, adults too quite often,) then of course he wouldn't see her. Especially with her being so small. Maybe he was driving carelessly, maybe we'll never know. But I hope it was quick poor little thing, at least quick enough that she didn't have time to register the pain.

Noirgaijin, I think there are so many trucks because most of them are way smaller than the ones in western countries. Well, mine anyway. But that's because the roads are so much smaller that they have to get through. It's alarming in the UK when a bloody great truck is trying to get through a ridiculously small road, and often they pull two of those boxes whatever they're called, instead of just one. Still they do it, daily. And yes, people do get killed.

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So sad. Drivers need to be aware of what or who is in the road at ALL times, regardless of whether they should be there or not! This little girl made a mistake, so it seems, but she shouldn't have to pay with her life if the people who are supposed to be responsible act responsibly.

This must be the driver's fault.

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kids in my area go to bicycle riding school and get a "license" when they are in fourth grade and then they only have a certain area they are allowed to ride. how old is that? not 6. she should not have been riding her bicycle to school without a parent along side.

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The driver may have been at fault. And/or the poor kid may have been at fault. We do not know yet. What we do know for certain is that her parents were at fault for letting her ride a bicycle to school aged 6. The morons.

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Was she wearing a helmet? Could it have saved her life?

The truck was a straight strecth of road with no heavy traffic, yet he claims he didn't see her? What was he doing? Sending a text message in his phon? Reading a newspaper? Checking his make-up?
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Sorry, but those silly little foam bike helmets are useless in reality. Especially when it's that vs. a 6 ton truck.

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Please tell me which part of the article says that she was not wearing a helmet.

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Here is the Japanese article. Let's see what happened: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/ibaraki/news/20091027-OYT8T01336.htm

You can see the picture.

現場は幅員約6メートルで対向車がぎりぎりすれ違える狭い道路。渋滞する国道、県道の裏道になっており、朝夕は交通量も多く、住民からは「通学路なのに危険」と指摘する声も上がっていたという It says that the road is so narrow that cars almost touch each other when going the opposite direction. It also says that because of congestion, the locals say that it is dangerous to go school for children.

Ms. Nakamura died from impact to the head.

同署によると、中村さんは小5の姉と友人の3人で道路左側を縦列になって走っていたが、何かの拍子で中央付近にはみ出たらしい。 She was riding with her older sister who is a fifth grader, and 3 other friends on the left side of the road. Somehow Ms. Nakamura came out of formation.

Then, the truck came out suddenly. So the girls were on the correct side of the road. The truck hit Ms. Nakamura head on.

The article goes on to mention that the road is often used as a shortcut because the highway is congested. It then says that her father heard of an accident and ran to the scene to find her bleeding from the head.

Then the article says that Ms. Nakamura was on the tag rugby team and looking forward to practice this weekend. Her birthday would have been Nov 3. Her two older sisters bought Ms. Nakamura her favorite character "guzzu" (I don't know what this is) for her present, she has been wanting this for some time.

It then says, at her school, Iwasaki Elementary School, 60% of the students go to school by bicycle.

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Allright that's more detail than any parent wants to hear...

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societymike - Sorry, but those silly little foam bike helmets are useless in reality. Especially when it's that vs. a 6 ton truck.

You'd be surprised just how much of an impact the high density foam can withstand. Obviously, a lot more than a kid's skull.

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You'd be surprised just how much of an impact the high density foam can withstand

I can imagine..it can even protect the neck from snapping. The arguement about helmet is a non issue with regards to this accident.

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moonbeams - thanx for the link. I can't believe the school let their students ride their bikes to school, that is just so dangerous. This is the first time that I ever heard of an elementary school that allow kids to ride bikes to school.

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I know that junior high school kids who ride bikes to school are required to wear helmets.. if this elementary school allowed kids to ride bike to school, I hope they enforced and made sure that all kids wore helmets.

But seriously, I just don't think it's right to let small kids ride bikes to school without adults. In the country, there are not many schools and kids have to walk quite a distance.. in places like those, they really should have a school bus. Kindergartens have school buses, why not elementary schools have buses, too?? especially in the country..

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I'm a motorbike rider and can affirm without a shadow of a doubt that truck drivers are the scariest and most dangerous menace on the roads today. Closely followed by taxi drivers and old people.

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I can't believe the school let their students ride their bikes to school, that is just so dangerous. This is the first time that I ever heard of an elementary school that allow kids to ride bikes to school. My kids primary school lets kids ride to school on their bike, and a lot of kids do it, including 6 year-olds who ride to school by themselves. I tried to get the school to force the kids to wear helmets (a lot of them already do but far from all) but I couldn't get the headmistress to give a damn. In the end the only thing I was able to do is get the parents associations to send out an email to their members about bicycle safety and helmets.... There is a huge avenue right a couple of streets from the school, and not one day goes by when I don't see a truck speeding or running a red light... when they're not taking a nap and blocking half the traffic on the avenue...

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Its not the school's responsibility, but the parent's. The driver, it states, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. That about explains it. I feel sorry for the driver, his age would speak of his having his own family. They have to deal with this too. He was in a truck which says he was working.

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betterdays - The arguement about helmet is a non issue with regards to this accident.

And, you draw this conclusion from the Japerish in this article? Amazing intuition! Or, were you there?

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A helmet isn't going to have much of a protective effect during a head-on collision. First, the bike and truck collide. The sudden deceleration of the bicycle launches the child face-first (the one part of the head that ISN'T covered by the helmet) into the grill of the truck, followed by the rest of the child's body as the truck continues through the space that was formerly occupied by the child and her bicycle. Bicycle helmets are not designed to withstand those kinds of forces. So questioning whether she had one on or not is moot in this case.

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Hmm.. another truck killing a child. Seems trucks kill more kids than cars even though there are many many more cars than trucks on the road. I am left to assume that the truck drivers were inattentive, possibly drunk, and in too much of a hurry.

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