crime

Mother, 3-year-old daughter knocked off bicycle by car; child remains unconscious

34 Comments

A 3-year-old girl was unconscious and in a serious condition on Tuesday after she and her 25-year-old mother were knocked off a bicycle by a car in Kobe.

Police have arrested the 30-year-old driver of the car, company employee Hiromasa Kaneko, on suspicion of reckless driving resulting in injury, Sankei Shimbun reported.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 7:40 a.m. Monday. Kumiko Usui and her daughter Miyo were riding on a crossing in Nishi Ward when they were hit by the car. Usui sustained serious injuries but her condition is stable, doctors said. Her daughter Miyo has not yet regained consciousness.

Police quoted Kaneko, who was on his way to work, as saying he tried to beat the light at the crossing as it was turning from green to yellow.

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34 Comments
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he tried to beat the light at the crossing as it was turning from green to yellow

Translation: When the light turned yellow he accelerated, likely entering the intersection after it'd turned red, striking this poor woman and her child.

This is a remarkably common practice in Japan, one I witness every single day and I've never seen a cop ticket someone for it either, mainly b/c there's never a cop watching intersections in the first place. Of course, given this complete lack of enforcement, drivers are encouraged to interpret yellow and red lights as they see fit. In my ward of Kobe (pop. 130,000 people), I can count on one hand the number of designated places cops look for traffic violations. I've been here for 10 years and they never change.

Look both ways people, even if you've got a green light.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I'm always worried when I see a mother on a bicycle with her children. Helmet or not, it never seem safe to me, and that's before including the reckless drivers !

I hope to hear the girl woke up ok tomorrow.

Police quoted Kaneko, who was on his way to work, as saying he tried to beat the light at the crossing as it was turning from green to yellow.

Having been living in Japan long enough, I would say the light was turning from yellow to red. Even red to red.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

he tried to beat the light at the crossing as it was turning from green to yellow

Translation: When the light turned yellow he accelerated, likely entering the intersection after it'd turned red, striking this poor woman and her child.

Wait, read it again. He said that the light was turning from green to yellow, so not red yet. He could be lying of course.

If this is true, this means the woman was already crossing the street when her light was not green yet. Of course I feel sorry for her kid but if she crossed during a red signal thats her fault. Also I want to know if the kid was wearing a bicycle helmet. Tragic situation for all involved. Hope the girl pulls through.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Shocking.

Really hope the little one pulls through ok. And as for this salaryman scum, I hope he gets the absolute hell sued out of him

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Another red light runner hitting pedestrians. It's high time the cops got out of their kobans and started enforcing the law of running red lights. Better still, how about Japan introduces red light cameras, like all 'modern' countries have. Then, the cops could stay in their koban drinking coffee and giving directions to old people. It also means they could focus on building their monthly revenue at all their regular and predictable sites.

What's the bet the 3 year old wasn't wearing a helmet? Did you know it is law for children under 13 years old to wear bicycle helmets in Japan. In fact, the law was introduced in 2006, not that anybody would know because there is no penalty for it. (roll eyes)

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The light was red, he is a liar.. as cyclist in Tokyo I see it daily ,any crossing atleast 5 cars would pass on totally red light...

Once even managed to stop some taxi doing that and set cops on him

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@jcjapan This is a remarkably common practice in Japan, one I witness every single day and I've never seen a cop ticket someone for it either,

This morning in Kobe I had to step back to avoid being hit by a city bus that had run a red light. The bus was followed by a car, which might not have been able to notice the light had changed because it was tailing the bus so closely. On the way back a person driving a big, black Benz zoomed through a 'pink' light. When she saw me giving her the stinkeye, she gave me the finger.

Given how frequently I see people run red lights, I have to assume the police aren't particularly concerned about this crime.

Look both ways people, even if you've got a green light.

Look both ways and count to 5.

Knock wood the little girl and her mother fully recover.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Wait, read it again. He said that the light was turning from green to yellow, so not red yet. He could be lying of course.

Yes, if we take him at his word, you're right and if she entered before she got a green she's at least partially to blame. But a) we don't have her explanation yet and b) 'trying to beat a light' implies he sped up when it turned yellow which is not my interpretation of the law.

In addition, maybe things are different elsewhere but in Kobe I never see moms jaywalking or whatever the equivalent is on a mamachari.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

He said that the light was turning from green to yellow, so not red yet. He could be lying of course.

Really? Then why were the mother and her kid on the crossing? Of course it was red and it had been red for at least five seconds before this idiot decided to race through the intersection.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I know some who was killed in Kobe from a driver jumping the lights. I will only cross on a green light if I can see I'm safe to do so.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

On a crossing, regardless of the light color, driver should always yield ... that is a traffic rule.

He is guilty and hopefully rots in jail.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"Police quoted Kaneko, who was on his way to work, as saying he tried to beat the light at the crossing as it was turning from green to yellow."

No sympathy. I also blame this in part of a system which allows it to happen EVERY TIME until these accidents happen. I see more people try to beat the lights than stop on a yellow.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Ptwonsend , that is why I started mounting gopro on my bike.... already netted a taxi ... next one some punk will give me a finger after running the red... they will pay for it.

Police cant ignore camera footage legally...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Police quoted Kaneko, who was on his way to work, as saying he tried to beat the light at the crossing as it was turning from green to yellow.

So he accelerated, just like so many other drivers here do when they see the light turn amber. I hope he gets a custodial sentence.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As someone who rides a scooter to work, almost every traffic light I stop at someone (or sometimes many) will run the red the opposite phase, when I myself have a green.

I do really hope this poor girl wakes up, and has no lasting brain damage,

I do feel personal safety or safety for those under a parents care seems to be infuriatingly lax in Okinawa. I think I could count on one finger the number of people riding a bicycle with a helmet over any given week. And then there is motorbike riders who don't both with the chin strap, and the one which still really angers me as a parent is the amount of children I see with no seatbelts, clambering all over the seats. Or infants on the laps of drivers or passengers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have a 3 year old and I often ride my bicycle with him on the back (we both always wear helmets).

I always have to ride defensively because of jerks like this driver - never taking a green light for granted and checking to make sure nobody is running a red before proceeding. A car is a deadly weapon when it isn't driven with absolute caution, I agree 100% with the posters who have called for a crackdown on red light running and common sense measures like camera based enforcement.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The guy actually could be telling the truth about the lights changing from green to yellow. It may have been he saw the flashing green man and decided to speed up. That said... Truth or not... He hit someone on a crossing after he sped up to get through... He needs to be given a decent punishment.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sad situation. I drive on weekends and always fear the mothers or others on bikes who suddenly speed into the crosswalk without hesitation as if I am a superhuman driver. You need to ride bikes defensively as well. I have seen for example, a bicycle being ridden in the perpendicular direction to me as I turn then suddenly turn into the crosswalk changing direction 90 degrees at amazing speed so I have to slam on the brakes from my turn. I almost saw a young kid hit by a car when he intently watched the crosswalk light and dashed out when it turned green ignoring the truck going through the intersection. You can be right and still dead or injured. For the record I never recall a cop ever chasing a red light runner in this country. I guess it may happen...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Translation: When the light turned yellow he accelerated, likely entering the intersection after it'd turned red, striking this poor woman and her child.

At most, the light was just turning red as he drove through so the pedestrian walk light was not green. I takes about 5 seconds for the opposite light turn green after a light has turned red. This is done exactly for these situations. The pedestrian may have been on the road before she was supposed to.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

At most, the light was just turning red as he drove through so the pedestrian walk light was not green. I takes about 5 seconds for the opposite light turn green after a light has turned red.

There is no factual basis in the article to support this statement.

We have no idea where he was in relation to the intersection when he saw the light turn from green to yellow and decided to speed up (assuming he is telling the truth, which may also not be the case). He may have been quite a distance from the intersection when he saw the light turn and decided to speed up, arriving at the intersection after it had already turned red and the light had turned green for pedestrian cross-traffic. I see drivers do this all the time, it is at the least equally plausible as what you are saying.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is a tricky one that requires cameras and witnesses to verify. I have seen bad drivers and cyclists. The both seem to feel that their priorities are more important than everyone else's, so they should be allowed to do what they want. A lot of times they intentionally ignore the rules set for everyone. Unfortunately, an innocent child was involved. I do hope that they both recover from this serious accident.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Last year in my area of Kobe a young school kid was killed by a hit and run driver and they still haven't got them. He wasn't even crossing the road but walking along a real sidewalk.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The government would make a fortune out of red light cameras in Japan. Every time they catch someone, an alert that goes 'Ka-ching' gets sent to the driver's phone.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I agree with @Silvafan...everyone, especially cyclists, feel that going to their destination is more important than the next person's. It's a dangerous place to drive and to ride. There's no solution to this problem until police start enforcing the rules. As a driver myself, I've noticed that drivers run more red lights now than they did 10 years ago. It's a free-for-all these days. Be careful is all I can say. Don't walk across until you visually see cars stop before you.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Traffic signal laws are different to other countries. Green means you are lucky. Orange means you accelerate and go like the clappers to get through the intersection. And, red means, you still have five seconds to fly through the intersection like a maniac regardless of other traffic or pedestrians.

On the the other hand, many times I’ve had mothers just pull straight out in front of me on the momachari bicycle with kids front and back. They just don’t give a fat rat’s as long as they get to kindergarten and back home in time to watch their soap operas. The evenings are he same, except they wanna get home to have a few shots before the old man gets home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So...a guy tries to run the light (as if this never happens anywhere else) and hits someone. He admits it. Just a news story that could happen anywhere else in the word, not a debate.

Very sad for the mother and girl. Or better I say? "Japan bad. Other countries good....."?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I will only cross on a green light if I can see I'm safe to do so.

I used to ignore lights completely as a pedestrian. Sad it say it was genuinely more dangerous to use them as guide as to when to cross than not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan, wake up and install more red light cameras. And heavy fines. In San Francisco running a light is about a $500 (¥45,000) fine plus points. The cameras would quickly pay for themselves and drivers would learn that red means stop.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

My ex and I were out riding bikes near our place in Kameari; Katsushika-ku one night, when some idiot HIT the back wheel of her bike (with me RIGHT behind her) as he came flying through a Right Turn lane (both the Pedestrian light and Right Turn lane went GREEN / White, at the same time). She was PREGNANT with our daughter at the time....I rode up to the car and started BANGING ON THE HOOD, INVITING him to GET OUT of the car...while his wife / girlfriend was cussing him out INSIDE the car....luckily she wasn't hurt....otherwise, I WOULD have been in jail TOO.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So...a guy tries to run the light (as if this never happens anywhere else) and hits someone. He admits it. Just a news story that could happen anywhere else in the word, not a debate.

Very sad for the mother and girl. Or better I say? "Japan bad. Other countries good....."?

No one is saying it never happens anywhere else. What most of us are saying, based on our broad collective experience is that far too many drivers willfully choose to ignore lights in Japan and that there are more stringent controls in place elsewhere. And perhaps, as long term residents, many of us with small children, that we'd like to see some things change. Alternatively, we could say nothing, we could forego debate, we could in lieu loving it unconditionally choose to leave it. I'm not wired that way--I'm just as critical of my own failing state as I am of Japan.

Of course, we don't know exactly what happened in this case but if it prompts a broader discussion about an issue that concerns many residents--I daresay a few Japanese among them--I say that's a good thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Intersections are not policed sufficiently in Japan.

Red traffic light signals are ignored.

This is a common practice.

Drivers are well aware of the lack of oversight and penalties so the law is dangerously flouted.

The police need to wake up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

..I rode up to the car and started BANGING ON THE HOOD

So was this before or after you checked to make sure your wife and unborn child was OK?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I watch cars and trucks here in Tokyo jump the lights all the time, and even waiting for the Green Pedestrian crossing light isn't enough... you got to look at the traffic both ways first make sure they're stopping.

One thought to ponder over, when an accident does occur, if you try to get money from the Insurance company - good luck, it's nothing near what you would get from other countries and certainly wont see you through any life changing disabilities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pedestrians have the right of way... ALL THE TIME, theoretically atleast.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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