crime

Girl on bicycle killed after being hit by drunken driver

31 Comments

A 17-year-old girl riding a bicycle was killed when she was hit from behind by a car driven by a 25-year-old man in Kumamoto.

Police said the driver, Takaaki Konoo, a company employee, has been charged with reckless driving resulting in death.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 7 a.m. Friday in Nishi Ward. Fuji TV reported that the girl, Ryuna Murakami, was hit from behind by the car and flung off her bike. She was taken to hospital where she died from severe head injuries about two hours later.

Police gave Konoo a breath analyzer at the scene of the accident and detected alcohol in his breath 1.2 times over the legal limit for driving.

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31 Comments
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Drunk from the night before?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

DUI selfish idiots who bring death to families, loved ones and friends deserve a life sentence, it is premeditated, people KNOW DUI can, does and WILL cause death but STILL they drive.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

All cars should be fitted with an alcohol detector, cars now they come with a TV. An interlocking device is not so hard or expensive to install. Save a life. Once would be a win?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Helmets should be made mandatory in Japan when riding a bicycle, like in many developed countries.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

1.2 times the legal limit is probably a .04. Not even illegal in the states but even a little bit can contribute to an accident. He may have had some left from the night before.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan drink driving limit is a joke. Less than half a beer. It is like touching the button at the combini to say you are over 20. . If you have a bottle of wine the day before you are stuffed. The message is, if you drink half a beer, you should just get drunk as a skunk, the penalty is the same. But...if you are drunk, never drive. Take a taxi.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

She was taken to hospital where she died from severe head injuries about two hours later.

I wonder if a helmet would have saved her life?

The blood alcohol level of this driver is consistent with with 'morning after' levels. He most likely had a few drinks the night before, got a few hours sleep and was on his way to work. In a country where binge drinking is the norm, I have no doubt that many drivers in Japan are over the limit in the mornings and drive anyway. This would include professional drivers as well, buses, taxis, trains, etc. In Australia, all professional drivers, council workers and tradesmen are randomly tested in the mornings. However, I couldn't imagine them doing it in Japan. The country would come to a standstill.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Helmets should be made mandatory in Japan when riding a bicycle, like in many developed countries.

Do you mean Australia, where cycling rates plummeted(and obesity rates skyrocketed), after introduction of mandatory helmet laws?

Since most car occupant fatalities are from head injuries, how about mandatory helmet laws for car passengers too?

This, like with cycling in Australia, would probably result in fewer miles driven.

And that would be fantastic because minimizing exposure to crash risk by driving less will always be the most effective strategy for reducing traffic fatalities. The safest mile (for all road users) will always be the mile not driven.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@yokohamarides - same thing happened in NZ in the early 90's. I still rode but hated having to wear a helmet. Love cycling in Japan just to get around.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Good: It’s not a joke when someone dies due to drug driving, be aware, a % of Japanese (36% of East Asians) react to alcohol much more severely than other ethnic groups due to acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency. This probably has some influence on the law.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"goodlucktoyou" has it exactly right, the alcohol limit in Japan is a BAC of 0.03. For a man of bodyweight 140-160 lbs (fairly typical for a Japanese male) the excpected BAC is 0.03 for one drink. So being 1.2 times the limit, is still only a BAC of 0.036, still in the scale for just one drink and well inside the limit for most countries. (look at how they have presented it to make it look as bad as possible ?? It makes it look like it was more than twice the limit, yet in fact it isnt) Also the difference is so small that most roadside tests couldn't be relied on to provide a reading accurate enough to differentiate it. If you are saying you shouldn't drive if you drink at all then fine, and I agree with you, but don't try to make out that this guy was off his head and virtually incapacitated.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I was led to believe that 0.00 was the legal limit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For clarity, in Japan the legal limit is BrAC 0.15 mg/L (equivalent to 0.03%) but, and this is a big but, if the police decide that alcohol was a contributing factor in an incident then the driver will be prosecuted for DUI whatever his/her alcohol level therefore, for all practical purposes, the limit is zero.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While cycle helmets are not mandatory in the UK, the vast majority of cyclists wear them and any sensible parent makes sure their kids have them and wear them.

Had I not been wearing mine when I had a major accident and my head had a serious disagreement with the planet Earth I would not be here or at least might be permanently brain damaged (as was a friend of one of my relatives who had a similar accident about the same time but was not wearing a helmet). So had this poor kid been wearing one the probability is she would be alive now even if still injured.

Whether the driver had been drinking or not he is wholly responsible for the destruction of a young life and the devastation of her family and friends. I hope he is made well and truly aware of the consequences of his actions so that he carries it with him for the rest of his life as her parents will have to.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Great points about the hangover alcohol levels.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Helmets should be made mandatory in Japan when riding a bicycle, like in many developed countries.

They are proven not to reduce fatalities.They have been observed to make drivers less understanding of cyclists. Why stop at cyclists? Pedestrians get hit by cars too. How about making anyone over the age of 60 as they fall over a lot too? You need to focus on the bad driving and infrastructure not the red herring helmet issue.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Since most car occupant fatalities are from head injuries, how about mandatory helmet laws for car passengers too? theyre called airbags, fact is that the most life threatening injuries from bike and motorcycle crashes is head injuries, No helmets wont always save you but the do increases your chances of death and brain damage drastically up to 50~70% , statistics backed by scientific facts and research.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-22/cycling-helmets-save-lives-researchers-say/7867904

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They are proven not to reduce fatalities.They have been observed to make drivers less understanding of cyclists, wrong again, recent comprehensive studies in Australia prove these myths wrong.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-22/cycling-helmets-save-lives-researchers-say/7867904

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Australia is an example number 1 these days of how not to do cycling and bias. carblind. driverblind.

"researchers"

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@wtfjapan - increase your chances of death or brain injury? Don't you mean decrease?

Personally I think young kids should be wearing helmets... whether in control of a bicycle or a passenger. Adults though are often more aware of what can happen in certain situations and at least have more experience on a bicycle... Some adults have no clue at all... but I do think mandatory helmets for all cyclists is detrimental overall.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

 recent comprehensive studies in Australia prove these myths wrong.

New Zealand police noted a significant decline in cyclist numbers following the introduction of the law.  "child cycle use fell44% by the second year of the helmet law". Where is the study you referenced? Not the spokesman just saying something.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Harry is right with his comment that the police are a law unto themselves and can impose a practical limit of zero based on their own whims or judgement. However the article is presenting the argument of 1.2 times the legal limit and it is this weird distorted way of presenting the figure that I wanted to highlight.

Also, just for fun, once we take police discretion into account, even a BAC of zero isn't always good enough !! as this article shows.

http://gawker.com/man-with-bac-of-0-00-arrested-and-charged-with-dui-512225776

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't you mean decrease? yes sorry decrease, researches from the Uni of NSW review accident rates of 64000 cyclist around the world , they found wearing a helmet reduced your chance of fatal head injury by  65%.

Where is the study you referenced? Not the spokesman just saying something.

read it and weep, Now people can choose to believe the stats or make up some fake ones but the research clearly shows wearing a helmet greatly reduces your chances of death in a bike accident.

https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/46/1/278/2617198

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Poor kid. There's nothing worse than alcoholics who apart from being selfish and deluded, cause mayhem and death to other people.

Never get in a car, ever, if you've even had a sniff of alcohol. And there is counselling for those who are addicted to the drug - don't claim otherwise.

17 years old and her life ended because of a self-absorbed idiot.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

comprehensive study of statistics from Australia , Germany, USA , Canada, Norway , France, HongKong, Singapore, Sweden concludes that Helmet use is associated with odds reductions of 51% for head injury, 69% for serious head injury, 33% for face injury and 65% for fatal head injury. Injuries to the neck were rare and not associated with helmet use. Statistical facts backed up by research. So enough with all the propaganda BS please.

https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/46/1/278/2617198

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Chris Boardman: "Helmets not even in top 10 of things that keep cycling safe"

http://road.cc/content/news/111258-chris-boardman-helmets-not-even-top-10-things-keep-cycling-safe

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Chris Boardman: "Helmets not even in top 10 of things that keep cycling safe"  he made this statement in 2014, where were his statistics and research coming from!? or is it just a political decision,

statistics from bicycle related accident from the countries I mentioned published in 2017 , cover 40 different studies from 10 different countries spanning a 28yr period, 46000 bicycle related accidents, the facts clearly show the advantages far outweigh any inconvenience wearing helmets may cause. Once again facts win the day, always will defeat propaganda and innuendo.

https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/46/1/278/2617198

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

statistics from bicycle related accident from the countries I mentioned published in 2017 , cover 40 different studies from 10 different countries spanning a 28yr period, 46000 bicycle related accidents, the facts clearly show the advantages far outweigh any inconvenience wearing helmets may cause. Once again facts win the day, always will defeat propaganda and innuendo.

In The Netherlands, or in Denmark where almost everyone bikes and almost no one wears a helmet, there are almost no cycling deaths at all.

Wear a helmet if you want but don’t make it mandatory. As Boardman said the helmet debate is just a distraction that prevents discussion of measures that would actually be effectual - bike lanes and traffic calming.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So sorry for all concerned. Would assisted driving/braking have avoided this? If so, I am for it.

*On another note, is it just me who has a problem with the style of JT's long headlines where people are "killed", not before but "after being hit by something"?

Could not the headline just read "Girl on bicycle ...hit and killed by drunken driver", or "...fatally hit by drunken driver" or "...killed when hit by drunken driver", instead of "killed after being hit by drunken driver"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wear a helmet if you want but don’t make it mandatory. As Boardman said the helmet debate is just a distraction that prevents discussion of measures that would actually be effectual - bike lanes and traffic calming. nobody claiming that bike helmets alone are going to be the savior of riders, its a whole number of safety items. but if it comes to an accident Id be much happier i wore a helmet than didnt. its mandatory to wear a seat belt, motorcycle helmet in most countries and the statistics have shown it to drastically save lives, why is it so difficult just to wear a bike helmet

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Then why not wear one when driving too?

There are 1.2 million traffic deaths a year. Airbags obviously aren’t enough.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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