crime

8-year-old boy hit and killed by bus; driver arrested

27 Comments

An 8-year-old boy riding a bicycle was hit and killed by a bus in Yokohama, police said Saturday, adding that the 44-year-old driver has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving resulting in death.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 4 p.m. Friday at a T junction in Tsuzuki Ward, Sankei Shimbun reported. Police said the boy, Rikuto Shinkai, was crossing the junction he was hit by the bus turning right. The boy was taken to hospital where he died about two hours later.

No passengers on the bus were injured. Police arrested the bus driver, Seiya Sasaki, at the scene.

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27 Comments
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They tell drivers they have to stop for cyclists and pedestrians crossing. And they tell the kids that vehicles have to stop for them when crossing. So kids get this fool idea that vehicles will stop no matter what the kid does. Even lots of adults have not figured out yet that this is simply not reasonable. There are no significant details to work with here but I see so many near accidents where pedestrians and cyclists ignore signals and traffic situations expecting vehicles to stop as if by magic. One of the most common and crazy is when they approach an intersection and then suddenly make a 90 degree turn to cross without stopping, slowing or indicating but expect drivers to notice them doing so among all the other pedestrians and cyclists darting every which way while still paying attention to all the cars as they must. Driver's need to be attentive but as they are as human as everyone else there is only so much they can actually process at one time. Pedestrians and cyclists must also be attentive or disaster is guaranteed.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Exactly. Perfectly put. It is absolute madness that vehicles are allowed to go at the same time as pedestrians and cyclists coming in the opposite direction. It means you have to keep your eyes simultaneously on traffic coming towards you to know when to turn, plus pedestrians crossing the road. It is impossible to keep your eyes on 2 places at once, and especially when turning right you often need to do a swift turn to get through a gap, but if you've been watching the road that means you haven't been watching the crossing anywhere near 100%. It's asking for trouble.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

From watching TV news yesterday, I think there may be a mistake in this article. It looked as if the bus was turning LEFT and the cyclist was trying to squeeze past on the inside. This is in the drivers blind side and is known as the death zone for a reason. TV also said 8 years old which surprised me as the cycle shown at the incident site looked to suit a 4 or 5 year old.

Never go up the inside of a bus or truck on the inside of traffic lights or junctions.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Vanessa Carlisle,

You are absolutely correct. I drive everyday and come across these situations constantly. Japanese people are careless and seem to think because they are first that they can do anything they like without looking or being aware of their situation. Many times when left turning at a crossing, people will enter from behind the car on an angle instead of entering the cross walk correctly where we can see them. Even on back streets, people will walk out in front of you even though they know you are nearly upon them. Japanese pedestrians and cyclists are extremely careless just because they are taught that they are first . Problem is that they are the ones breaking all the rules and the motorists get blamed for it when something happens. And as for crossing and cycling on the no cross light and with phone in hand---------

7 ( +9 / -2 )

It looked as if the bus was turning LEFT

I don't think so. This report says it was a T intersection and judging by that fact and the spot of the collision I think the bus was turning right.

Being as it was a T the driver has less room for excuse. However, so does the boy as I can see there is no cyclist crossing and he should have been pushing his bike across. It may be that the boy went across the top of the T first, essentially came from behind the bus, then tried to suddenly pass in front of the bus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEs0Rt5UolQ

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Crap, just realised I know that place, Sister-in-law's station.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

2 weeks ago I was driving a 2-ton truck around Tokyo with two other friends. Was around to turn left, no more pedestrians, when I see this guy rushing from the right with the green light already blinking, turning red with the guy still half way the crossing. Waited patiently while chatting with my friends but when I released the brake pedal God must have whispered in my ear to check the left again (for big trucks like that impossible using the mirrors only) when I saw a 60 something obaachan in her bicycle starting to cross with her arm up and a “chotto matte” smile in her face.

Your whole life in Japan is over because of this kind of people that not only trust their lives to a traffic sign, but also feel entitled to be on the road anywhere, anytime because “cars will stop for me”. pheeew

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Poor young kid, probably excited to get somewhere. I approach riding my bike on roads in Japan with extreme caution. There is usually no shoulder for the bike to safely ride or it is blocked by parked cars.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Vanessa... you are correct, it was a right turn. My guess is the kid sat on the bike wouldn’t have been 70cm in height. Driver simply didn’t see him.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sorry but the bus was turning left in an intersection. Yes, it is absolutely reasonable that the driver should be alert and making sure no one is in the path of the bus. Whether the kid was walking, crawling, or riding his bike it was the driver’s responsibility to make sure the crossing was clear and not on the kid, even if he was erroneously riding.

Having said that, I do not know precisely what happened in this exact incident. But one thing is absolutely clear to me, far too many driver’s in Japan do not respect the damage their vehicles can do. The amount of times drivers have whisked through zebra crossings one after another while I have been clearly standing and waiting to cross far out umber the times cars have actually stopped without me having to insist. And it doesn’t seem to matter a lick whether I’m standing with 2 young children or not.

Moderator: The bus was turning right, not left.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Traffic education is the key, teach the kids how traffic moves and flows and teach them to interact with the traffic in common sense ways for their own safety.

Many adults have no traffic sense and pass that onto there young and it shows. All they are doing is putting their kids at risk and creating hazards for every other road user.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They tell drivers they have to stop for cyclists and pedestrians crossing. And they tell the kids that vehicles have to stop for them when crossing. So kids get this fool idea that vehicles will stop no matter what the kid does. Even lots of adults have not figured out yet that this is simply not reasonable. There are no significant details to work with here but I see so many near accidents where pedestrians and cyclists ignore signals and traffic situations expecting vehicles to stop as if by magic. One of the most common and crazy is when they approach an intersection and then suddenly make a 90 degree turn to cross without stopping, slowing or indicating but expect drivers to notice them doing so among all the other pedestrians and cyclists darting every which way while still paying attention to all the cars as they must. Driver's need to be attentive but as they are as human as everyone else there is only so much they can actually process at one time. Pedestrians and cyclists must also be attentive or disaster is guaranteed.

As a cyclist, I can tell you that the number of car drivers who ignore right of ways at intersections is also staggering. I get cut off on an almost daily basis by drivers who are operating on the assumption that I’ll just have to get out of their way so they can do what they please.

I don’t dispute that there are also a lot of bad cyclists and pedestrians flouting the rules out there, but the behavior you describe is seen in motorists too, and this bus driver who was turning right, something you can only do after confirming it is safe to do so, absolutely has no excuse for failing to see a kid crossing the street.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Many cyclists seem to regard Japan's kyousha/jyakusha (強者・弱者) 'stronger party/weaker party' laws as a magic amulet that throws a forcefield around them. And regardless of circumstances, if you're driving the bigger vehicle, you're responsible for preventing accidents, and to blame when you hit (or are hit by) a bicycle.

Although this is counterintuitive to the rest of us posting here on JT, it's the natural scheme of things for people here. So expect pedestrians in shared spaces to behave like they might on a footpath/sidewalk. Expect cyclists to do likewise, and remember that most drivers were once (or still are) cyclists, and haven't lost those habits.

Structurally, I'd like Japan to replace those remaining traffic signals that killed this child and many others, by forcing pedestrians to compete with vehicles for real estate; the uchi/soto social dynamic simply doesn't afford driver respect for unrelated pedestrians. I'd like to see red light cameras like we see elsewhere, especially because flashing pedestrian signals up ahead encourage drivers (and I do it too) to floor the accelerator and barrel through the first moments of red lights. If this is not policed, the message to the motorist is that other rules can be broken.

My advice to fellow cyclists is to invest in good lights and hi-viz ankle bands, cycle assertively, don't trust traffic lights, and expect the unexpected, when you least expect it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

When are people going to realise that it's not the driver or the bus that killed this boy (and so many other children), it's the dysfunctional junction management.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Was about to cross the street with my 5-year old the other day when a small truck made a late left-turn and cut us off. Our light was green so his must have been red when he started turning, when you consider the delay. I put up my arms and looked at the driver, who turned out to be the Sagawa delivery guy who is always delivering to our house. It's going to be 気まずい for him from now on.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Traffic is crazy in Japan, this accident is just the tip of the iceberg. I've worked behind the wheel in many countries and the traffic here has to be the worst I've seen, including Asia. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike have a very laissiez-faire, apathetic attitude towards navigating the roads. Add their seeming lack of peripheral vision, obsession with screens, selfishness and then the poorly designed infrastructure and you have one huge recipe for disaster. The saving grace is they never really go that quick.

I feel for the kid and his family and perhaps the bus driver (without knowing the full circumstances). However, as much as it may be claustrophobic living in Yokohama I would not let my 8 year-old kid ride around on her/his own there, or anywhere for that matter.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Vanessa, your fist post was dead on and I see those sorts of situations all the time: People who make a 90-degree turn without stopping or looking and only relying on hearing , their idiotic theory being that if I don't hear anything, there's nothing coming(?) or that you must stop no matter what, even if it's not humanly possible given the time, distance, etc because it's the law. Also, a lot of people here seem to be in a hurry to get in front of you even at the risk of causing a collision or accident. It happens when I am walking, cycling or driving. The other day, and for the umpteenth time, a driver saw me step into the crosswalk (during heavy rains) and decided to speed up to get to the middle of it before me. I smacked the side of his car as hard as I could and he stopped and rolled his window down to verbally confront me. After I started shouting in English, he drove away but it was a hollow victory as I got soaked in the process but he probably had the same happen. I've had people do this sort of thing to me HUNDREDS of times while cycling on my road bike. They try to beat you to a spot in order to not have to wait the extra 2 or 3 seconds for you to go by. Being a cyclist here has made me a much better driver.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Too often do i see careless pedestrians running along a blinking light or carelessly crossing the street assuming the car will stop. I also see a lot of cares way out in an intersection getting too close for comfort. People need to pay more attention or this will be happening a lot more

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ mrkipling, you tased about death zones, here on I found on youtube, its quite chilling when you see it....

https://youtu.be/lV-rhiGRFTE

1 ( +1 / -0 )

People tend to rush decisions on roads here and accidents are the result.

A recent low point for me was when a small child was not guided by the hand across the road by 3 of the accompanying adults last week

Lack if commonsense...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

...death zones, here on I found on youtube, its quite chilling when you see it....

https://youtu.be/lV-rhiGRFTE

Wow. It truly is when you see it presented visually in real time like that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know that the driver was not at fault. Have you seen his kids cross the street here? Most of them look down with their hand up EXPECTING the driver to stop. Often times, they just cross at random as you will see in the video below.

https://youtu.be/60qIM8f5T8I

I really think the police should take into consideration that its not always 100% the drivers fault. Sometimes they have nano seconds to react, but its always too late to stop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ sirbently28, that vid clip made my heart stop a few times, jess, it was a lucky day for them kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Vanessa Carlisle

I agree, but its not just kids. I see elderly people who will happily cross the street with their had in the air, right in front of a moving car with the expectation that it will stop for them. I get that pedestrians have the right of way, but this is just ridiculous! What happened to "look both ways before you cross" and "don't jwalk"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see elderly people who will happily cross the street with their had in the air, right in front of a moving car with the expectation that it will stop for them. I get that pedestrians have the right of way, but this is just ridiculous!

That's because Japanese drivers are taught to always be on the lookout for people about to cross the road, and stop if their hand is raised. It's also why Japanese kids are taught to raise their hands. These is the rules of the road in Japan. Don't follow them, and you may kill someone. Or get killed if you're the pedestrian.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's because Japanese drivers are taught to always be on the lookout for people about to cross the road, and stop if their hand is raised. It's also why Japanese kids are taught to raise their hands. These is the rules of the road in Japan. Don't follow them, and you may kill someone. Or get killed if you're the pedestrian.

Yes, I get that. but they should also be taught that cars may not stop just because you have your hand in the air, and to make sure that the car stops FIRST before crossing...common sense goes a long way

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I get that. but they should also be taught that cars may not stop just because you have your hand in the air, and to make sure that the car stops FIRST before crossing...

They ARE taught this.

That doesn’t change your culpability as the driver.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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