crime

Mother cycling with 2 daughters run over at crossing; both children die

178 Comments

A mother riding a bicycle with her two young daughters was run over by a car at a crossing in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, on Monday afternoon.

Police said Tuesday that the woman has yet to regain consciousness, and that her two daughters died as a result of injuries suffered in the accident. Ayumi, 2, died shortly after the accident, while Junko, 4, died early Tuesday, TV Asahi reported. Neither child was wearing a helmet, reports say.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 5 p.m. on Japan National Route 354. The woman, identified as Clare Sakurai, 34, a Filipino, was riding across a zebra crossing with her two daughters when they were hit by a car, which then proceeded to collide with an oncoming truck and was knocked onto its side, TV Asahi reported.

The 65-year-old driver of the car, who has been arrested, reportedly told police that he tried to swerve right to avoid the cyclist but didn't make it in time.

Police are investigating to see whether the traffic light was green or red at the time of the incident.

Local residents say that since the March 11 disaster, fewer streetlights have been turned on, making visibility poor in the area at that time of the day.

© Japan Today

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178 Comments
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I agree with Christian that there is a mentality among bicyclists that cars "should" stop for them therefore bicyclists tend to ignore all rules. Everyday in my town I see bikes on the wrong side of the road so you have a one lane road with cars going in one direction yet bikes going in all directions and bikes swerving out in front of a car to hurry up and get around the pedestrian or the bike on the right side of the street. Somehow bicyclists even with children in tow don`t feel the weight of responsiblity like a driver does. That is not to say drivers should not take extra precaution, they should since an accident with a car is more likely to cause death, but if a bike causes a driver to kill someone, it is cruel to make the driver take monetary and/or criminal responsibilty. Bicyclists especially mothers with children on their bikes have to take extra precautions and responsibilty too. All responsibility on the driver is wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smith,

I think that is actually the reason why the law is so lopsided regarding accidents such as this: Most of the time, a collision between a car and a bicycle would result in dents to the car, emotional distress to the driver - but for the bicycle, oftentimes major physical damage, sometimes death, no matter whose fault it really may be.

However, I think maybe the knowledge of this rule is actually part of the reason why accidents like this tend to happen - bicycle riders thinking that cars 'SHOULD' stop for them, so they drive recklessly, not really understanding that car drivers wouldn't see them or stop for them in time all the time (even if driving carefully) . Accidents of this kind probably happen less often here in South Korea where you just know that car/truck/bus driver will simply mow you down if you dare try to get in their way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Actually, it's spoken like a person who wouldn't lose them like this woman did. And I have nieces and nephews and have taken them here and there -- it is indeed a pain in the butt to get where we are going, and I've had to leave quite a bit earlier than I'd like, but you know what? they're all still alive.

Again, spoken like a person who never had a child. We're not talking about walking couple blocks to take the kids to the park or grocery shopping. This is about taking your kids several kilometers back and forth every week day and in this case, picking up your kids at a daycare.

You're in no position to compare your "experience" to that of the mother indicated on this article nor you are qualified to have a higher moral ground simply because you haven't had an accident during the rare times you took your nieces and nephews out for a stroll.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"The Japanese press said the car had green light, according to witnesses. It was a big three lanes road. Regardless, the guy is toasted, both by the system and by the heavy burden of involuntarily killing two children"

This is a real shame. Its sad that the woman and her children were hit, but the driver should not have to sit in a jail cell if he was obeying the traffic laws and the woman was not. Its a tragedy, but it`s not his fault and he should not have to pay damages or be criminally punished just because her bicycle ran in front of him when she should have stopped for the red light especially with 2 children on her bicycle. I always stop when the light is yellow when my child is on my bicycle because I never want to take a risk. A child weighs a lot so it is harder to get across quickly. Also if they wiggle you can lose balance easily. So just riding with 2 children is a risk in itself, but dashing across a big 3 lane road with 2 children on a red light is flat out dangerous and is heading for trouble. Anyway, I feel sorry for both the woman and the man.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Samantha Zoe Aso

For all those commenting on 'the Mother's bond to a child is most important'. Does that apply to foreign mums in Japan too? How do you feel about foreign mums who have lost their kids here just because they are foreign?

I'm curious as to why nobody has answered your question.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Christian: "1) Claire should have stopped at the crossing - but maybe she didn't see it turn red"

Negligence resulting in death.

"she may have been exhausted"

Then why was she riding? That's negligence resulting in death.

"the babies might have been crying"

Babies do tend to do that, but once again if that is the cause of the woman going through the red, it's still negligence.

"the brake might have gone out"

Lack of maintenance, which is another violation, and negligence.

I DO agree that the driver of the car shares some of the blame -- you need to be careful at a zebra crossing simply because there are people who ignore the lights -- and I know he'll take the lion's share of the blame simply because he was in a car, and by Japanese law the larger vehicle takes the more blame, regardless of fault. But it's clearly the woman's fault here, and she has paid a price no one should ever have to for being so stupid.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

nigelboy: "Spoken like a person who never had a child. Smith."

Actually, it's spoken like a person who wouldn't lose them like this woman did. And I have nieces and nephews and have taken them here and there -- it is indeed a pain in the butt to get where we are going, and I've had to leave quite a bit earlier than I'd like, but you know what? they're all still alive.

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One time I had the right of way this car comes speeding pas me. I kicked the automobile. Just to tell him he was within inches from me. He got the message plus a dent in his car. Hahahahahahaahahahaahahahaha

Keep it up and that laugh is gonna be wiped off your face....you lose if you go up against a automobile with a bike....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Riding a bicycle on the street is a very high risk activity. Do not do it. Riding a motorcycle is a very high risk activity...do not do it! Driving a car is a high risk activity also, but at least there is some protection.

When I read about all the money that is spent on keeping citizen's safe from mad men who are out to harm us and then reading about this tragic story......I have to say just how misguided we the citizens are.

How in the world can it be allowed to mix a bike with an automobile on the same road? Imagine if all the money that is wasted on imaginary dangers is placed into preventing real dangers that we face each day just by being alive? I know society can not protect everyone all the time, but a lot could be done to give people the choice to take the safest course...like the crossing in Las Vegas....you walk over the street and avoid the traffic.

Riding a bike on a busy street?...you might as well just start walking in the traffic.....Ok, it you r life so it is up to you, but putting children in danger is another matter altogether..right?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry ...its terrible.. mother has responsibility as well..not only the driver...senior drivers are safe most of time..but it was a terrible mistake. I have seen so many times some stupid mothers when they have a kids on the bicycle they ride anyway as they want on the road with out caring road regulations, as carrying a special permit ...they cross under red lights or no lights in the nights ..

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I guess I gotta be more blunt in my comment, since my previous comment to this effect got deleted.

It is definitely a very tragic accident, and so many factors are involved that we cannot truly form a complete picture of what happened. That being said, it is never only 1 person's fault, you will notice that the insurance companies adopt a 'percentage fault' wherein each party has a 'percentage' of the blame in any accident. 1) Claire should have stopped at the crossing - but maybe she didn't see it turn red, she may have been exhausted, the babies might have been crying, the brake might have gone out, 2) The driver, on the other hand, should have slowed down, even if it was a green (I remember that being hammered into me when I got my JP license - green doesn't mean go, green means proceeed if it is safe to do so), he might not have seen the bicycle because of a parked car or truck, then he should have slowed down because of the blind spot (also hammered into one when getting the JP license). He might not have be able to see well in the dark, in which case he shouldn't drive, or at least drive really carefully if he really had to.

However, to all those who are bashing Japanese drivers, you guys should come here to South Korea and see how they drive - running the red light is the norm, trying to scare pedestrians who are crossing is the norm (even in the zebra), when you get on a bus the driver will accelerate so fast while you're still walking to your seat, and will make sudden brakes, and try to speed away while you're still climbing down. The rules of the road are for ninnies here. Compared to South Korea (where I'm working at the moment), and to the Philippines (where I come from), Japan has very safe and very law abiding drivers (I lived there for 10 yrs).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

to wala and sister of wala and all Claires family:

i am terribly sorry for your loss and I feel your pain, I really do.

I was going to say that you need to understand that on news sites such as these people will speculate and cast their own opinions based on their own observations into the ring, and especially living here we see day after day irresponsible bike riders and drivers doing crazy things so people here are just venting their frustrations and unfortunately Claire is being caught in the middle of it. I was even going to say with all due respect that it has been reported that she DID run the red light....

....and then I saw in your comment above that you ask us to pray for the driver. Who among us, when faced with the kind of tragedy you guys are going through right now, could find it in their hearts to ask complete strangers to be considerate of the guy that basically was the cause of all their pain?

You know what, I dont give a crap who was at fault anymore. I was coming home from daycare myself last night - one child on my bike, with a helmet, lights on my bike, the light was GREEN for me to go - and a driver ran a red light and nearly killed us. I do not know for the life of me how he stopped in time. I couldnt see him from where I was coming because there was a line of stationary cars and he came out from behind them. There was no time at all. He was speeding. But I was thinking yesterday evening had I become another JT headline I am SURE I would have been villified for not looking, not stopping, not crossing safely - somehow it would have been all my fault.

Someone was watching over us last night, thats for sure.

I am not a religious person but I WILL pray for your nieces, and your cousin, and the driver too, because I think in the face of all the debate going on here that one request from you shows enough integrity and kindness that we should all stop this crap of who was to blame and dumping our own personal grievances on your cousins situation, and get right behind you.

I hope you all find the strength to get through this tragedy.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

i'm claire cousin..sister of wala.. can you guys stop putting ALL the blame to my cousin.. none of us where in the place where accident took happen? YOU don't know what happen!! that ZEBRA crossing.. is small meters away from their house, and if you are responsible driver you know that whenever your making your left or right! you will slow down.. !! accident may took happen in no time.. blaming my cousin and naming her irresponsible mother is foul , you dont know their story, how she raise her children ALONE, how she survive brain tumor operation.. calling her irresponsible because none of them wearing helmets?? whether you were wearing one, it does'nt make any help.. physical contact between your vivid body crashing to the CAR? and shes not a nut to risk my nieces life! for you to call her irresponsible , are hearts shattered into pieces.. you just dont know what were feeling right now we cannot do anything that point of time because were miles away.. just stop balaming naming calling her anything.. pray for the driver! my niece junko and ayu and to my coisuin claire we just hope that all of you will pray for my nieces soul. and my cousin fast recovery.. she had 2 more sons left and she's the only one who's raising them up.. were very thank you

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, in Japan, I've often seen mothers riding their bicycle with two kids and not breaking before a crossing. Everytime I see that (and I see it quite often), I'm left speechless and feel like running after them in order to slap them on the face. They literally cross the road or even turn without paying attention to cars

It's true that most japanese seem to be in a mental bubble when they ride their bike or just walk. They never pay attention to their environment.

The heiwaboke syndrom at its best.

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Traffic police should be there to catch these idiots and take their licenses immediately.

They should also be out there clamping down on pedestrians who are jaywalking and bikers who are going through lights and ignoring the laws of the road - such as this women did. It isn't just the drivers! I drive, I cycle and I walk and regardless of which one I am doing, some idiot in front of me, behind me, next to me... isn't paying attention - be it walking, biking or driving.

You can't fault all the drivers, you can't fault all the cyclist, you can't fault all the pedestrians. You can, however, fault the system that has created these issues and turns a blind eye to it - all well stopping to check bike reg and the like! The cops here NEED to clamp down on all bad behavior on the road and sidewalk as people are getting killed and injured. It needs to stop. They need to enforce the laws they have and make new ones - like a helmet law!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Also the whole left turn into a zebra crossing even if green should be illegal.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is why my wife is not allowed to take our kid on her bike. Not that I don't trust her, it is that I don't trust the morons driving on the roads in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hope one day Japan will properly enforce laws for helmets on cyclists and focus on more education for helmet safety.

That will be the day that 'Japan' starts enforcing a whole load of previously existing traffic laws.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Forgot and the magical place where cops prevent crimes preferably before they even happen.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Laughing about all the guys posting here.

Recall a country where I pulled up joining a highway and guess who has the right of way? The answer is the car behind me that nearly rear-ended me because I stopped.

All your fantasies about what should happen don't play out anywhere in the world, if you know such a magical place let me know and I will relocate. Also let me know of that magical place where cops enforce those rules.

And I have driven in many countries over 4 continents.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As advanced as Japan is in many ways, she is also very behind in areas such as SAFETY

Safety in traffic, for sure. I'd like to see more (there are hardly any now) uniforms, traffic cops out on the roads, at intersections especially. Ignoring the lights is becoming more common all the time. The chances one gets caught and held accountable are almost zero. Pedestrians and cyclist are always the weaker ones. Zebra crossings are there to protect those who use them and motor traffic should never enter them when someone is in the process of or attempting to use them. Seen the motor vehicles making left or right turns swerve around pedestrians and cyclists who are on the zebra crossing? Absolutely no regard or respect. Traffic police should be there to catch these idiots and take their licenses immediately.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I feel sorry for the Family and children it is very sad because I found even with the best rules and safety the nature of space and time is so exact even we cross the lights are going to red and the cars are ready to go that and a hurried driver going and thinking any second they will change spells disaster there are many excellent drivers in Japan I do not drive but they are patient and also people in a hurry, narrow roads no are little space for error.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don 't know who was at fault.

Neither do I know if you nor wala are her true family, or people trying to take advantage. Just the nature of the net. Sorry, I won't send monies to someone that claims to be X or Y online without other proofs.

No disrespect but way too many scam-artists online to take anyone by their online words alone.

Same token why has her local family not posted, etc. Many charities/worldwide that will help.

I checked other forums and I see very few postings on those on the same subject.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This has always been my biggest fear...hearing news about someone losing their family on a mama-charis. I see many mothers here in Tokyo carrying the children the same exact way. In this case, I don't think it matters if they were wearing a helmet or not....it can protect you from falls off the bike, but certainly can't protect your delicate body from a hit by a 2 ton vehicle. My heart goes out to this Filipina and her family.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

exremely sad. I feel sorry for the mother. It will be terrible when she awakens.

But why JT, is it so important to comment on her race? Was she not a japanese citizen? What does her being Filipino have to do with this? In addition, if it is important to stat her race, why didnt you mention the race of the driver?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Very, very tragic story indeed. Not all the facts have been laid out but I think it was just a terrible accident. Yes, the kids weren't wearing a helmet. Would that have helped? Yes, there were two kids on the bike. Would it have helped if there was only one? Maybe the mother ran the light. Maybe the driver did. Or maybe the driver just didn't see them (which is quite common). All I can do is pray for the family left behind.

As advanced as Japan is in many ways, she is also very behind in areas such as SAFETY. Instead of pulling over kids on bicycles to see if it's stolen, why don't they pull over parents whose kids don't have helmets on? Shoot, why don't the adults wear helmets as well?! (It's the same as carseats - it's a law but only gets reinforced during safety week. What a bunch of crock!)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It wouldn't have mattered if there were two or even three on the bicycle, the driver hit them and the result was death. I can understand two on a motorcycle where helmets are worn and most usually the riders are adults. However, the ballancing and juggling act I see sometimes with two kids and groceries to boot makes me wonder how non caring the women are about safety. Their arguments for doing this is, lack of transportation and time. I'm going to discuss this more with some Japanese mothers I know to get better answers. RIP to the kids and possibly the mother.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gunma is part of Japan and for the life of me, I still can not believe how bad so many drivers are, I can just imagine this driver, drinking his coffee, looking at some stupid tv show in his car, thinking he could beat a yellow or red light and KABOOM!!! This idiot plows into an innocent mother and her 2 little children! Stupid bastard driver, now these children are dead, and I think this mother had 2 more children?? Who is going to take care of these little children?? I am not saying all Japanese drivers are idiots, many try to drive safely, but this fool up there in Gunma, well, sounds like a real idiot! I can not even imagine what was going through his thick head?? Oh, something like, hey I have to hurry and buy some takarakuji tickets?? So the light is red, and then all hell brakes loose! RIP poor mother and children up there in GUNMA KEN.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I am in baby town too but sadly, crap bike, crap baby seats... No common sense here sadly for the most part.

I agree with you that cars and bikes are "safe" but it is the people who cause the problems. And sadly, I can believe you are laughed at for helmets! I get laughed at for mine as an adult by other adults!! I give them the watermelon analogy all the time.

Japan needs to come to grips with the biking issue. Cars are faster, there are more of them and with that, the risks increase. I hate biking on the sidewalk - not good for my bike and people never watch where they are walking - but I have the confidence and the bike to be on the road. Not everyone else does. I have had numerous near misses due to defensive biking but no way could I pull such things with kids on the front and back. They either need to come up with bikes lanes or biking areas on sidewalks - mind you, where I live, there are very few sidewalks (ruralish and still developing) so many people have no choice but to bike on the road. Dangerous.

I feel for the driver and husband most of all.

And it was reported that she ran a red - someone above posted the info too!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I feel sorry for the mother who lost her children AND for the driver. People need to be more careful and realize one second can change your life.

I always stop when I see people waiting at a crossing, but when I do, drivers coming in the other direction often need driving.

But as I've said before, I see people young and old doing stupid things everyday on the roads - drivers, bike riders, pedestrians. I'm amazed there aren't more accidents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Japan, especially in the major cities, some roads are too small and congested for bicycles and automobile to co-exist safely. Maybe the local goverment should outlaw bicycle riding in certain areas that are considered unsafe and they should put up a big sign that saids 'WALKING ONLY, NO RIDING BICYCLES IN THIS STREET". The police to give out tickets to people that violate the rules.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nicky, how many moms have those bikes though? Nearly none of them where I live. They are nearly all on those nasty mamacheri with kid in front, kid in back, bag on handle bars, no helmets... You might be safe but others are not. Unless there is a law about it, these issues are going to continue - more so if the police actually do try and make people drive on the roads

Agreed. Where I live it is kind of kid-central (getting famous for it in fact!) and that vast vast majority of bikes I see are the properly designed 2 seater style ones with the electric assist. Most of the time kids are NOT wearing helmets though and I have even been LAUGHED at for putting helmets on my kids would you believe?!

I occasionally see the "nasty" mama-charies - the ones with the metal wicker looking seats and the single seater adapted for to by balancing a precarious-looking seat behind the front handlebars. I guess the difference is cost - I forget how much I paid for my original bike with one seat, but the two-seater electric one cost about 130,000 yen. Its been worth every penny for me as I use it all the time, but I guess that is just too much to pay for some people.

I still stand by my opinion that bikes and cars are not dangerous, just the people operating them. I have no idea if this woman ran a red light on her bike (how do you know that? Was it reported elsewhere?) so I am still not convinced of her blame other than the kids not wearing helmets. I also wonder if she had a light on her bike because, again as I said before, I have had and seen some near misses with people without lights at that time of night just because you cant SEE them!

Whoever is at fault, at the end of the day two lovely little girls have lost their lives, and the mother is fighting for hers right now. In addition a drivers life has been devastated and almost certainly the lives of his family too. I hope and pray that the little girls didnt suffer and are now happy wherever they may be, and that those left behind will somehow find the strength to go on from this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wholeheartedly agree with this story

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This is a sad story indeed. I'll reserve judgement on who is to blame in this case. I am certain that the chances of the children surviving this accident would have increased greatly if they were wearing helmets. Doctors can repair in part of your body except your head.

Another thing I'll say is that cycling in Japan is dangerous. There are too many distracted and aggressive car drivers and way too many sloppy bicycle riders.

My heart goes out to the family of the dead children and the critically injured mother.

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Readers, please focus your comments on the story and not at each other.

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Well then, actually I do mind. Had I wanted to say exactly who it was addressed at I would've said so. You can see it however you want.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And I don't think I said anywhere that the comment in question was directed at you. Well then, I guess you won't mind clearing up who you were addressing then. As I see it, it was directed at me.

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besides, their on the zebra line. therefore drivers on the main road should slow down when their approaching to the pedestrian line.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@smithinjapan : don't put all the blame to my cousin, let's just wait for all the facts before putting all the blame on both parties. and besides, she wouldn't risk her children's life by disobeying laws and by being reckless.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

" don't think I said anywhere that I didn't "feel" for this women."

And I don't think I said anywhere that the comment in question was directed at you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And quite honestly, if you feel nothing for this women then you've got something missing and I feel sorry for you as well.

I don't think I said anywhere that I didn't "feel" for this women. I feel a heck of a lot more for the driver and the poor father of those kids. How can a parent get over the neglect of something like this and move on as a married couple?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Elbuda Mexico: I'm not sure where you're getting your information on helmet laws but according to a policeman I asked this evening and everything I've found on the Internet, there is a helmet law in Japan, albeit a somewhat limited one. To be fair, if you check helmet laws by country, many of them are limited to riders under 15 or 18. Most are not inclusive of all riders.

"Japan adopted a national helmet law in 2008 that requires children under 13 to wear helmets. This story reports that 76 per cent of the surveyed parents of kids 1 to 6 years old had bought helmets for their kids, but only 54 per cent said the kids always wear them."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nicky, how many moms have those bikes though? Nearly none of them where I live. They are nearly all on those nasty mamacheri with kid in front, kid in back, bag on handle bars, no helmets... You might be safe but others are not. Unless there is a law about it, these issues are going to continue - more so if the police actually do try and make people drive on the roads. There are plenty of laws out there that I think aren't needed because god, common sense but here? They need to make the laws because lots of people here just don't think! If no one tells them not to do XYZ, they won't give it a second thought - hence all the little men with batons in parking lots, construction sites... This mom had two kids, no helmets and was running a red light. Honestly, how stupid can you be as a mom when it comes to child safety? Maybe she lets them run with scissors? I know I am being harsh but christ, someone has to. There are too many deaths/accidents like this going on in the country daily. I honestly sometimes think that Japan for all its claims about loving kids, hates them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My feelings of sympathy for the mum have got nothing to do with not wanting to apportion blame. I don't know who caused the accident so I can't say who was to blame for it. And if you've read any of my post on the topic of cyclists in Japan you'll know how generally ignorant I think far too many of them are and how I blame legislators and police as well for not passing and enforcing laws that would protect people from themselves since many don't seem to have the common sense to do it for themselves. If the mother was negligent, and she surely was if the kids were not wearing helmets, and there were a law under which she'd be punished, I'd be for punishing her. I feel very sorry for the driver who has to carry this burden around with him. At the same time, I still feel compassion and sympathy for the mother, for her loss. Those are not mutually exclusive feelings. The world is not just black and white whereby if you feel one way you cannot feel another way. And quite honestly, if you feel nothing for this women then you've got something missing and I feel sorry for you as well. Happy Holidays, right?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I've been hit by a car riding my bicycle and the woman simply tittered and drove away. I can't count how many times people have nearly hit me since they failed to look both ways before driving through an intersection or leaving a parking lot. Last month, I saw an old woman clip a grade schooler on a bike with her car while the kid was crossing the street. My mother-in-law broke her arm after a car hit her bicycle. Most recently, carrying my 3 month old in a baby sling last week, crossing the street during the "walk" light, a driver came within a foot of hitting us during their turn, screeched to a stop when they realized I was there, but then continued plowing on after raising their hand at me as if I'd said "Hey, go ahead." All of these incidents happened during the day in good visibility.

I'm probably just bitter, but for how much money people here put into driving schools, I think drivers here should be a little more careful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ wala !

. if you're in this situation will you leave your child waiting for her mther to come bak?

Im sorry but i dont get it explain plzzzzzz ????

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ wala, im sorry this is a tragic, i hope your pinsan can recover soon, u dont need to details everythings here, we understand how you and your family feelings right now in the philippines. Dont you worry d cla pababayaan ng government d2. And lots of filipino here in japan im sure they will support her and help her , filipino's have a great heart especially when it comes to this saddest moments. just keep praying she can survive. RIP little ones!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

1

Nicky WashidaDec. 21, 2011 - 01:32PM JST

@tmarie:

I completely agree with what you are saying and seeing these mothers drives ME crazy too - believe me - you think it makes you nuts - it affects you even more as a Mother (sorry, I dont mean to run in that old chestnut of you not having kids yet) when you see these women behaving like this and as this thread clearly shows it makes the rest of us look bad too.

Im not sure of the details of this accident to know if it was the mother at fault so I wont go so far as to say SHE killed them - but I absolutely agree there is a lot of negligent bike-riding going on here.

I so agree 100% ... we dont know whos gonna blame here? in the first place she knew how dangerous. thanks GOD! my kids school just 5 mins walk away.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

d'oh; my math!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can and bike are both wrong.

Cyclists are required to walk their bikes through zebra crossings. No-one does this, but the cyclist's failure to do this will diminish the responsibility of the driver. If there is marked bike portion of the bike lane, the cyclist does not have to walk the bike.

In any case, the bike seems to be wrong on one count (riding in the crosswalk); the car looks to be wrong on three counts (hitting something in the crosswalk, hitting something while turning [I infer this], hitting a smaller class of vehicle, and execessive speed [inferred from the flipping of the vehicle]).

I had two friends who were hit cycling in the zebra crossing. The cops clearly told them they were not allowed to ride there, even though everyone does. Both went to the hospital. Fortunately, neither case was serious.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nicky, Japan just not only does not have helmet laws on bikes, but most of all no common sense by many people here, just today 2 or 3 idiot university students ran their red lights on their bikes as was turning in my car, all Japanese and sorry just plain stupid university kids with no common sense, so just in case I called the cops to ask them to patrol my area a bit more and catch these idiot university students who are can cause a horrible accident at any moment, since in my case my light was GREEN no car was coming, nobody was coming, so I started to turn and then all of a sudden an idiot university age guy flies out of no where and I had to stop, and behind me as a very, very big truck that thank GOD was driving slowly and was able to STOP in time and not ram me from behind here in Tokyo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Dear Wala Akong, so sad to hear about your cousin and her children. I do not know what to say, I will pray for you, for you cousin, her dead children, her living children etc..these type of accidents are just terrible. RIP

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Remember it isn't just the mothers that are the problem it's society as well.

You accused ME of not reading the article and made a snide comment about it which I called you on.

You call this, and I am quoting myself here, tmarie....please read the articles.... a snide comment?

You're in the wrong - an apology or admission of being wrong would be nice but it seems you aren't mature enough to do that.

Apology for stating a fact? No I don't think so and if you want to discuss maturity then go back and read what was written before you assume something else wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are no helmet laws in Japan regarding people riding bicycles, hence no cops ticketing them. Whether there should be or not is another story altogether.

Is this true? I thought there was a law for children, and I thought bikes with two kids seats had to be power-assisted and had to have a certain kind of stand? Am I wrong? I see the laws flouted all the time of course, but I was still under the impression that it WAS law, albeit not enforced.

Its hard to tell here isnt it? I thought kids seats in cars were the law too, but I rarely see those used either.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@tmarie:

I completely agree with what you are saying and seeing these mothers drives ME crazy too - believe me - you think it makes you nuts - it affects you even more as a Mother (sorry, I dont mean to run in that old chestnut of you not having kids yet) when you see these women behaving like this and as this thread clearly shows it makes the rest of us look bad too.

Im not sure of the details of this accident to know if it was the mother at fault so I wont go so far as to say SHE killed them - but I absolutely agree there is a lot of negligent bike-riding going on here.

Two kids on a bike isn't safe. It just isn't - helmet or not. The weight of the kids, the balance, the lack of safe bike lanes... I get that your kids are in different schools and the like but it just isn't safe to be out with two kids on one bike. Regardless of the bike, regardless of all the safety percautions. One is "okay" but even then, not great.

To be honest we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I TOTALLY see where you are coming from because I used to feel the same way before I had the kids. That was in the days before the electric custom-designed bikes. I know they may look unsafe but have you ever actually ridden one with two kids? Please believe me when I tell you that I ride one all the time, all day every day with none, one or two kids in it. Yes of course it gets heavier with the kids on it, but that is why you have the power-assist, to make it more stable and it really IS stable, I promise you. If I thought for a second we were any more at risk than just walking down the street then of course I wouldnt use it. I actually feel safer on it than walking with all the crazy cyclists around!!!

I used to have an old mama-chari with just one seat and not electric (this was in the days before they really became available and popular) and believe me, it was FAR more heavy, unstable and unsteady. Hard work too. I had great thighs back in those days!!! (sigh!)

Honestly tmarie - I totally respect your opinions and I am not trying to fight with you on this one. I know exactly where you are coming from and 99% of what you are saying I fully support. Just please trust me when I say I DO care about my kids safety - very much so! :) Sadly I wish I could say the same for all Mums.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Perhaps you could get the chip off your shoulder? You accused ME of not reading the article and made a snide comment about it which I called you on. You're in the wrong - an apology or admission of being wrong would be nice but it seems you aren't mature enough to do that.

As for laws, there will be more accidents like this if they move the bikes from sidewalks to the streets - regardless of helmet law or not (which is also needed).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There are no helmet laws in Japan regarding people riding bicycles, hence no cops ticketing them. Whether there should be or not is another story altogether.

However what everyone has to realize as well as cases like these could happen more often with the police crack down on people riding their bikes on sidewalks and getting them onto the streets.

Public service announcements, beyond the Ohaiyo, Konnichiwa, genre, and focusing on issues like this should be in the forefront instead of just being relegated to the PSA.

and was the first to comment so ha to those of you and your snide comments about not seeing it! ;)

It wasn't a snide comment, it's a fact that many people around here don't READ what the articles have written in them and assume they saw something. Get the chip off your shoulder.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oh Nicky, I am not trying to put all moms in the same basket! There are some smart moms out there - I see one women with her kid, helmet, straps... all the time. Sadly though, she is the rare one out. It just drives me nuts that some moms (and I say moms because that is usually who I see) just don't seem to give a second thought about their kids' safety - I am sure that they do care but just not in a very smart way. No mom is prefect, accidents happen but this wasn't an accident. This was 100% preventable. This poor driver now has to live with the fact that they hit a mom and two kids on a bike. However, SHE was the one that killed them, not the driver!

In Japan, it seems the only way you can actually get most mothers to do certain things is to make a law about it - I won't bother talking about enforcing that law though as I could rant for days about seat belts and the like. Two kids on a bike isn't safe. It just isn't - helmet or not. The weight of the kids, the balance, the lack of safe bike lanes... I get that your kids are in different schools and the like but it just isn't safe to be out with two kids on one bike. Regardless of the bike, regardless of all the safety percautions. One is "okay" but even then, not great.

I see far too many parents here putting their kids at risk daily and when someone happens, everyone always "sides" with the parents. It needs to stop. I feel for the driver.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good Morning Nicky

I thought about this last night as I was driving home. I was looking for Momma-Chari's. I think if the seat is in the back that's good for the child.

I'm a kind of morbid person at times. I thought about that scene from the movie E.T when they flew through the air. I realized that if you put the child in the front on the handle bars then they definitely will "fly" if they get hit hard.

Tandem riding was a long hard fight for motorcyclists. I'm not so sure tandem is okay for bikes UNLESS the child is in the back.

In addition to helmets I think only bikes with disc brakes should be allowed to have a child seat on them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@tmarie:

"Nicky, moms here live there kids alone regardless of rules. If you have more than one kid and need to go somewhere, don't take your bike. Pretty simple. Kids here get dumped on bikes like grocery bags. No helmets, no straps. Mom parks her bike with those nasty kickstands and moms goes in the shop leaving the kid alone balancing on a bike. Perhaps YOU think it is about safety but it isn't. It is about convince for the moms - no regards to kids' safety. I know that walking to the store with two kids takes time but since these women are home all day... Better safe than sorry. I 100% agree that one kid on a bike is enough - with helmets. I am rather shocked you disagree."

Sorry - quote button not working again! Sorry also for being "late back" - bit busy yesterday!

Dont misunderstand me - everything you say above about reckless mothers and bikes is TRUE and I DO agree with you! All I am saying is dont lump us all into one group - we are not all like that. I would never put my kids on the bike with no helmets and no straps, I never ride recklessly, and I never ever leave the kids balancing on the bike. Ever. It is not about walking to the store as I explained before - it is (for me anyway) about the logistics of managing 3 kids in an area of about 5 kms in each direction for various schools, friends places, clubs etc, where sometimes trains dont serve the locality, and the car is just not practical - (lack of or expensive parking for example). I find my bike invaluable for being able to balance all these different things I have to do each day (and as you already know I am not home all day!).

But I DO agree with you that I see a LOT of reckless riding and stupid mothers who DO totally disregard their kids safety. So I think we are not as far off the same page as you think.

Just please dont lambast ALL of us - there are some of us who are careful, considerate, and thoughtful. Some. A handful. Well, a few anyway! ;9

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Gunma drivers aren't the worst - that honor goes to Aichi!!! @tmarie I have to disagree, I think Chiba drivers are the worst. According to the stats, Aichi has the most accidents - or at least they did.

Well said Smith.

Ambrosia, if mom had bother to put helmets on her kids and cross on a green light, I think those kids would be alive. Harsh? Indeed it is. However, I am sick and tired of watching parents in this country give very little regards to safety when it comes to their kids. Moms with kids on bikes with no helmets are NOT being good parents and are not thinking of the safety of their kids.

Where I live, JHS kids on bikes MUST wear helmets when they are bking to and from school. It is part of their uniform. Why moms here can't put two and two together and get their two year old a helmet is beyond me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Although we don't know the whole story we do know this. The children didn't stand a chance in that accident because they weren't wearing helmets and because they were in those death trap mama-charis. So often I would see some women wobbling back and forth trying to stay upright with two children making her bicycle extremely top heavy. As they wobbled along, if they got in your way, you had to maneuver around them because those mama-charis handle like an aircraft carrier, as in, they don't necessarily turn, nor stop, on a dime. Personally, I think the things should be made illegal. I think they are far too unsafe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nope. But i would take them on foot, not by bike.

Spoken like a person who never had a child. Smith. I would seriously suggest taking a 2 and 4 year old for a walk and see how far you can go.

Good post Dutchduck. It's really pathetic that one has to compare a few negligent parents who were unfortunate in order to make themselves "above" the entire Japanese population.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I visit rural Japan about once a year, and I see this all over. A parent or older sibling will be riding a bicycle with 2 or 3 small children, some on the handlebars, some clinging to the back seat. No restraints, no seat-belt, no helmet. It's doubly shocking because the roads are so narrow, and the verge is often a half-meter drop to the gutter below. And the people I meet are so safety-conscious otherwise, it's baffling.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ambrosia: "She screwed up to be sure but she's still a human being who's lost two children..."

It's a rather sad state of affairs all around, isn't it? But the fact remains the kids are dead because of mom's stupidity. It's shallow, but feeling hesitant about where to put the blame because we should feel sorry for mom is about as practical as what mom did that got the kids killed. Mom is responsible for manslaughter, running a red light as it's suggested she did.

Wala: "f you're in this situation will you leave your child waiting for her mther to come bak?"

Nope. But i would take them on foot, not by bike. And I wouldn't ignore traffic laws, either.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

tmarie: Wow! That's pretty harsh and I say that being a big advocate of bike safety. She screwed up to be sure but she's still a human being who's lost two children. I don't disagree that the driver deserves our sympathy, especially if he was not to blame but that doesn't mean the mother doesn't deserve sympathy too. Being stupid and being worthy of sympathy are not mutually exclusive and it costs you nothing to be a bit more generous in your feelings.

seamus: Everyone! Everyone! Everyone who is on the road, be it in a car, on a motorbike or on a bicycle, needs to know the rules of the road and to obey those rules. To do otherwise puts yourself and others at risk. As for riding on the pavement, unless it is specially designated for cyclists, you are not supposed to be on it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Gunma drivers aren't the worst - that honor goes to Aichi!!! @tmarie I have to disagree, I think Chiba drivers are the worst. RIP lil girls and yes I agree that they should have been wearing the helmets.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Very sad for these kids regardless who is a fault...someone was stupid. A modern Bell (style) helmets are light, well vented and as comfortable as a ball cap....oh and they are very reasonably priced (the last government certified helmet I bough for my boy was $14.00), unlike those stupid looking buckets from WW2 I see a few kids and teens wearing in Japan. Another modernization that hasn't made it to Japan it seems. My Japanese wife said "oh well it's just a different culture" in regards to our western thoughts on bike safety...NO I said it's ignorance of very common statistics. In Canada I think death by head trauma in children is almost #1 for falling off a bike without a helmet and we have very well enforced laws in regards to kids wearing head protection.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Extremely sad and heartbreaking news especially when something like this happens right around Christmas when we are closest to family. my heart goes out for the mother and the family. 2 little souls gone is very tragic and sad.

I hope one day Japan will properly enforce laws for helmets on cyclists and focus on more education for helmet safety. I don't know if they 2 children were wearing helmets would have saved their lives. Nobody can tell. Very sad.

Drivers in Japan are very bad and drive fast like crazy in these small streets. I find it a nightmare walking down the street here even in my local area where it's supposed to be quiet with very little traffic, Cars just zoom by like crazy. I don't understand why they need to drive so fast.

So much traffic accidents and deaths can be avoided by driving slow, being respectful to others around you and showing some patience.

RIP to these 2 little angels.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Virtuoso, the figures are at least double those reported in fact. Japan tries to look good by having a law that says to have died in a traffic accident, a doctor has to have signed the death certificate within 24 hours of the accident taking place. If you look at the sudden dip in road in road deaths in the mid 1970's when this idiotic law was passed, you'll know what I am referring to. Anyone who dies of their injuries a day after the accident did not officially die in the accident. They died of natural causes and voila, the roads of Japan are therefore "safety".

Incorrect as usual. The NPA publishes two figures which is death within 24 hours and death within 30 days and the numbers indicate they are NOT "at least double".

http://f.hatena.ne.jp/NORMAN/20081112215013

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All this nonsense on this forum from those "Im better than thy" people really make my day. Most of you probably spend every day a lot of time on your kids safety... You buy sturdy bikes, check your tire pressure, harness your kids, make them wear helmets/ protective clothes, walk 30 minutes to school if you have two kids...but before you go outside first you do a pre-check to see if all the traffic lights are working properly and the zebra crossing lines are white enough. when the kids get home, you serve them a healthy snack of fresh fruit, cook some organic food and let them eat with their child proof utensils. When theyre ready to take a bath you never ever let your eyes wander, kids drown so easily. Then your house gets hit by an airplane and all your kids die..burning horrible deaths.......and still people on this forum will find a way to put the blame on you.....you werent watching the sky when you put your kids to bed, or they werent wearing fire proof pjs....or maybe you forgot the fire extinguisher.. Be careful those with the biggest mouths get hit the hardest, especially those who are so heartless as to blame a mother who just lost two of her kids for being irresponsible.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Such a sad and tragic event. The mother of the 2 poor girls should of made them wear helmets. But at the same time who knows till the investigation is complete to whether the driver was at fault.. Either way it won't bring these 2 girls back and the mother if/when she wakes up will be left devastated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Guma drivers aren't the worst - that honor goes to Aichi!!!

So, indeed the story had been updated. So far we have mom with two kid son a bike, no helmets crossing on a red light. I don't see how this is any different than a stupid mother leaving her kids alone at home who die. You can thumb me down all you like but this mother was an idiot who obviously gave ZERO regards to her kids safety. Another tragedy at the hands of stupid parents as far as I am concerned. If anyone deserves sympathy, it is the driver.

Yes, neither child was wearing a helmet, but judging from the extent of the impact I doubt if helmets would have helped. But you don't actually know that, do you? Helmets are hot, sweaty and not cheap but if it comes down to those three and my head cracked opened like a watermelon on the pavement, I know which choice I;m going for. Shame Japanese moms don't see it the same way.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Speeding through blind corners and gunning through intersections be it crosswalk, zebra walk etc.

People in japan speed to fast through residential neighborhoods

zebra crossing = slow down

One time I had the right of way this car comes speeding pas me. I kicked the automobile. Just to tell him he was within inches from me. He got the message plus a dent in his car.

Hahahahahahaahahahaahahahaha

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Gunma drivers have got to be the worst in Japan. I have been driving since the day I got here six years ago and I am constantly surprised by the selflessness of the majority of drivers. I have seen far too many close calls and near misses to even begin to think how many exactly. I have driven on route 354 in Tatebayashi and I know how crazy people drive on that road. This is a very terrible thing to have happened and I don't think it mattered at all if the mother had two children on her bike and they weren't wearing helmets. Bicycles are an essential mode of transportation in Gunma as there is very little public transit service and is costly when used. She was crossing a road at a pedestrian crossing and was struck and her children were killed. Drivers here are so terrible and the older drivers are the worst of the worst. They drive slow most of the time but always gun it at the intersections and run the red light. They are most dangerous in their total disregard of any of the established traffic rules. They drive as if the road is their own personal property and all others around them are intruding and should be treated as hostiles. Unfortunately, this young family was treated as such. 'I tried to swerve', the man said as he was arrested. Swerve my ass! You shouldn't have been driving in the first place.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Fewer streetlights have been turned on" yeah well that's helpful! -_- RIP T_T

2 ( +2 / -0 )

http://danieldiaztecles.blogspot.com/ On my most heartfelt condolences to the family, and wish a speedy recovery to those who have had more luck. The action of turning the steering wheel and braking, is surprised by the driver, it might be distracted. The action of hitting the brakes is more complicated because it requires 1 second of neuronal transmission in the response. In Spain we respect very much the zebra crossings. Oh and helmets, two-wheeled vehicles, always required.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cyclist with two kids is dangerous, should be against the law.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't want to judge this specific incident, because none of us fully know what happened.

But these frequent experiences I have as a pedestrian crossing user.

We all know that the lights for pedestrians (the green walking man) indicate that you may cross. The problem is that pedestrians and traffic are forced to mix: you cross, they turn, and whatever your rights as a pedestrian, the only thing that keeps it working is an "honour" system that seems not well understood on either side. It is often badly abused by the drivers. Some examples.

Cars follow the car in front around the turn, instead of paying attention to who might be crossing from either direction. Dangerous.

Cars drive too fast onto the crossing, ignoring pedestrians that might need to get across. Dangerous.

Cars turning right onto a crossing after being stuck at the red light from the previous phase jump across the oncoming line of traffic. Dangerous, because they've nowhere to go if pedestrians or cyclists using the crossing are in their line of travel. The kind of driver who pulls this illegal stunt also seems to be the type who's surprised to find a pedestrian on a crossing.

The most common: basically just not stopping when a pedestrian or bicycle is already on the crossing or about to enter it, even if there is time to stop and give way. Dangerous. Pedestrians have a limited amount of time to make their move, on many crossings the green man is pretty soon a flashing green man and after letting through a few vehicles, you are now, thanks to thoughtless drivers, the one in the wrong, obstructing the next car that wants to get through as the lights are about to change and you're only halfway across the road.

I have had these problems as a very courteous and careful cyclist, I have had exactly the same problems as a pedestrian, and I have had them as a pedestrian with a young child both walking and in a stroller. I have wondered more than once what kind of insane driver can see a person with a stroller already using a crossing in front of them and not want to immediately slow down and give way.

As a pedestrian I can only ever see this one way: if you're turning, and someone's already there, you don't have the right of way, or the right to take your turns at speed. Crossings are crossings, and there are times when it's the pedestrian's right to be on them. They shouldn't have to be fighting through moving traffic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

oh guys come on!!!!!!!!! don't put all the blame to my cousin claire!!! if she only have a choice she wouldn't sacrifice her children's life!!! are you guys nuts?!!?! she's divorced, she has 4 children, this accident happened after she picked up her 2 daughters at school, they were on their way back home. if you're in this situation will you leave your child waiting for her mther to come bak? i felt sorry for my nephew, he saw everything but he ignored it. he didn't knew it was his mother. right now my cousin claire is still in the hospital, battling between life and death. just so you know guys she's a brain tumor survivor. she's the only one to take care of her children. and we can't do anything to help them because we're here in philippines!!!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Very tragic, R.I.P sweeties. :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OMG! what a tragic :( RIP little ones,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is simple: When the traffic lights are green for pedestrians, at all cost, it SHOULD be RED for cars of any directions. When I first came to Japan I was shocked with this, specially when drivers see u are coming and then they speed up to across before u. This is pointless, why should I across in the zebra if the cars are also free to run over me?!

And I am not against parents carrying two kids, if The mom is going around with 2, is probably because she have nobody to care one of them. Please mothers of Japan, even that the traffic lights as green, stop and look to both sides, also when crossing train lines, get out the bike and walk in the same hand of cars, avoiding accidents.

5 seconds that might cost your lives.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ooops, forgot.

English linky: http://www.bellsports.com/cycling/helmets/recreational/solar

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For people that are interested here is the helmet me and son are using, good enough for town cruising. We also wear bridgestone gloves(3000Yen/pair) and got a few other features like Bridgestone LED clip-lights, etc.

Our bikes are the same wheel-size, gears, etc but different frame-sizes. Mountain-bikes(double suss) that cost 20.000Yen a piece local shops offers free maintenance and 10% discount on purchases. No drum-brakes.

http://store.shopping.yahoo.co.jp/tour-de-zitensya/solar.html

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Very sad. I wish wearing helmets was more of a priority in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smithinjapan, yes indeed. I wasn't really saying that all bikers are innocent just based on my experience in Japan, the accident, the few that Ive seen and the many I have heard about involve drivers around/over 60 years old but they are isolated cases. As for not cycling on the sidewalk, hell I do it all the time, if there is one, much easier to avoid people! of course if one is going slowly

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Seamus: "of course we already bought helmets, my son gets his first bike for xmas. Protection is very important."

I did not realize you were referring to Wala's comment when you said it looked 'as though they were wearing helmets'. Judging from at least one more post after mine it was unclear to others as well. Since that's the case, my apologies. I'm glad you and yours are smart enough to recognize the need for protection and wear helmets. As others have posted it may not be enough if the accident is bad, but at least it provides SOME protection.

"At the end of the day it isn't the bikers who need to know the rules but dodgy over aged drivers,"

Disagree... or at least, I don't think it's solely the responsibility of the drivers. I DO agree with what you say later about the narrow roads, and have touched on that at least twice, but combine narrow roads with cars AND bicycles that ignore the rules and you've got chaos, which about sums up your average trip to the grocery store here. Since the law changed a few months back (but which Japanese people still ignore for the most part) and you cannot ride on sidewalks less than three meters in width (which are few and far between), what do you think the major complaint has been? I know that leading up to the change drivers complained that it's dangerous because bikes on the road, and their riders, are unstable, and often swerve about when pedaling (especially seniors, if they bother to ride on the road). As you said, there are little or no bike lanes. Near my house, before the road where the 'sidewalk' becomes less than a school ruler in length, there IS a bike path, and it is used by scooters to swerve around cars and buses, and by cars to go around other cars, with zero regard for safety.

Back to the woman in the article, though -- it seems she went against a red light and the driver had the green. In that case it is her fault. The zebras with the lights still require that a light is followed on heavily trafficked streets. The driver will still take the blame, given Japanese laws, but this woman was clearly in the wrong for not at least checking before going through the red.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They are showing the crossing on TV now. It is really wide, the roads are straight, open space, excellent visibility in all directions. Seeing that, I think it is a fair bet that the driver was speeding. This is not the typical Tokyo setup where some bicycle can suddenly dash out of nowhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If all cars, trucks, etc. , had automatic braking, things like this would never happen again. The technology is here. Make it a part of every vehicle.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thats what I am talking about TinMadDog, the roads here are unfit for both bikes and cars.

There is too little information to judge who was wrong or right . Still think the worst are taxi driver in Japan, too old to drive, to small to see over the wheel and always rushing to make their next dollar.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What are the disadvantages, pres tel?

Overconfidence. Your typical bicycle helmet is just a chunk of foam basically. Very helpful if you have an accident (or useless, depending on the accident). Very detrimental if it gets you into accidents feeling like you are superman. Also, the color of the helmet could reduce your visibility to others. I would make a law that they all had to be blazing orange, white or yellow if I had my way.

Also, I would not be surprised if the extra weight and aerodynamic drag on the head caused some people to look around less. Almost nothing comes without some sort of negatives. I would still go with the helmet though.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hmmm there is the law and what people actually do it seems....

http://www.jaf.or.jp/inter/manual/pdf/pdf_index_01.pdf

Actually the rules say the driver is at fault if they were crossing on a zebra crossing that the car must giveway, even if they were crossing not at a crossing.

But this might be different because a bike is considering a vehicle in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

cactusJack: Car's don't have to giveway to pedestrians in Japan, it's a first in first served situation and cars do not have to stop if you are waiting to cross.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Very sad news. For those who have resisted rushing to judgement, I salute you. For those who haven't, you have displayed some very negative traits, such as immaturity and irrationality. There is nothing here to be certain of who to blame. And so, you are using unrelated information, such as looking at who died and who didn't. Its irrelevant.

Consider if the driver succeeding in swerving and got killed by that oncoming truck, leaving the mother and children unscratched. What then? I guarantee the blame game would go completely the other way and the mother would be accused of running out in the road and getting that guy killed.

There is only one thing I can guarantee and that is that the mother was not paying attention. Regardless of the what the law says, we all know the road is a place for cars. We all know they are big and they are noisy. Those of us with sense in our heads do not cross lightly, because we know that drivers cannot hear bicyclists coming and they often cannot see the smaller bicycle for size and visibility problems. I feel very sorry for the woman and children, but that does not preclude the simple fact that she could have easily saved herself and her kids. Even if he ran a red light, its true. Cars are not stealth vehicles. They are easily avoided unless they deviate from the roadway or hit a cyclist from behind. She should have been pushing the bike and those kids should have had helmets.

But if the driver can rationally be held at fault is a matter of circumstance rather than general truth. If he ran a red, he is guilty despite her carelessness. But since he hit an oncoming truck, I don't see how that is possible unless they both ran a red, and that is unlikely, unless it was a fresh red. But we all know better than to careen into the intersection on a fresh green in this country, don't we?

But here in Japan, logic does not prevail. If she sailed at 40km per hour against a red at a blind intersection, the driver will still be held responsible. That is the kind of rubbish drivers here face everyday.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

When cars cut me off in the zebra crossing I give them a good earful and a slap on the door/window. You gotta teach 'em, one driver at a time, because nobody else will.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Just this afternoon I was driving along and the lights changed against me. (Before I saw this article)

With a huge amount of effort, a mother put all her weight on the pedal and started to slowly wobble out across the road with two small children on her bike. She had bags of shopping hanging from the handlebars. I sat there thinking just how vulnerable she was, and just how tough many of these mothers are. The thought of my accidentally hitting her also passed through my mind, and for the umpteenth time I realized what a lottery it is for a driver or a cyclist on Japanese roads, especially as the J Police can come down so hard on you.

Every accident is different and contains a multitude of factors, and the insurance company apportions percentages of blame. If you kill someone you will likely end up in prison.

PS As someone pointed out above, a zebra crossing in Japan carries almost no weight with most drivers. It is safer for new arrivals in Japan to assume that most cars will NOT stop for you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some of you need to read all the article before commenting. Anyway it looks as though they were wearing helmets.

The article says there were not wearing helmets. The family member says they were. This is were the confusion comes in.

RIP little girls, not cool, I blame the driver.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

dude smithinjapan, of course we already bought helmets, my son gets his first bike for xmas. Protection is very important. At the end of the day it isn't the bikers who need to know the rules but dodgy over aged drivers, especially taxi drivers. Most of them should be banned. What really is the problem is that their isn't any space on Japanese roads. Back home in Ireland we have bike lanes with plenty of space. I was actually referring to their cousin Wala, who said that they were wearing helmets, he should know. Looks like the article was updated as people mentioned. Sorry again for your loss Wala and Clare. Clare I hope you recover RIP little ones

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Seamus: " I have two little ones (1 and 3) and now we are saving for one of those mamachari tanks with two kids seats. No choice"

yes there's a choice; you have two feet, as do your little ones (I hope). Use them if you are not sure it is safe to ride said tank.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Seamus78: "Anyway it looks as though they were wearing helmets."

Is this a typo? The article clearly states they were NOT wearing helmets.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Some of you need to read all the article before commenting. Anyway it looks as though they were wearing helmets.

#

2

Wala Akong Pangalan sorry for you loss. A tragic story indeed. I have two little ones (1 and 3) and now we are saving for one of those mamachari tanks with two kids seats. No choice

1 ( +2 / -1 )

crustpunker: Interestingly enough juku schools and hoikuen provide buses in many cases to pick up and drop off kids, but of course public schools cannot do so (at least given government financing). Logistically I don't think it would be possible unless it was out in the REAL boonies, like some small town in Kagoshima or something. I live in the suburbs of Osaka and yet the 'sidewalks' on the road I walk each day are less than 20 cms in some parts, and motorcycles and even buses go over the faded white line when it suits their purposes (they sometimes give you the 'sumimasen' hand wave after nearly killing you, but still), and of course all the utility poles are there so you literally have to walk into traffic at such places and hope no one hits you. This country made traffic laws before it became a major automobile industry, then placed priority on said industry without changing any laws. Hence, there is a lot of confusion about laws.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sad story indeed. I do believe it is illegal to "ride" a bicycle across the street, it should have been "walked" across, especially at a zebra crossing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

my son and his classmates walk 30 min. to school every day on NARROW country roads that are meant for 2 cars but really have only room for one. Morning commute means people hurrying to drop kids off, rush to work etc. I was just waiting for something to happen and 2 weeks ago it did. A little girl in first grade who sits in front of my son was struck by some Yanki bastich who blew through a red light and right through the girl. He didn't even brake according to witnesses. He drove off but was later picked up by cops about an hour later. She was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition now.

Wouldn't kids be safer if public schools used buses to transport kids to and from school?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

billyshears: "There is an active scientific debate, with no consensus, on whether helmets are useful for cyclists in general, and on whether any benefits are outweighed by their disadvantages."

What are the disadvantages, pres tel? Okay, I understand a good helmet costs money -- so that's one disadvantage. Another is that it might mess up your hair, or if you shave your head (as I do), it can be mighty cold in winter if you can't wear a hat under it. That aside, it's about as 'disadvantageous' as a helmet might be in football or hockey. There's no way a person serious about health can say there are no advantages to wearing a helmet vs. not wearing one. I've seen a child's head go smack against the asphalt when a mother doing the keri-keri-nori dropped her extremely heavy bike. Fortunately, the kid starting crying a moment later so I knew she was more or less okay -- but if she had had a helmet it would be the helmet that hit the ground, not her head, with the worst possible result being a concussion (which would be worse without the helmet). Sure, if your whole body gets slammed by a car a helmet probably won't do much to protect your ribs or knee-caps, but it would protect your head more than not having one.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@ Disilliusioned - good on you for doing what I have wanted to do for years, stomping on the bonnet of a reckless driver! I have also been hit in the past, once by a truck charging through a red signal. I just wish people here would follow rules, RE not driving through red lights and not gunning it through Zebra X-ings when people are waiting to cross. People in my home town Sydney used to be exactly the same until the cops started getting tough and installing red-light cameras pretty much everywhere, and hitting people with massive fines. I for one would love to see thousands of traffic cameras pop up in this joint too - and perhaps a doubling of the fines. Let's crack down on these dead-beat drivers. I actually find Tokyo drivers to be pretty competent and safe - it's the countryside yahoos here that basically disregard all traffic laws.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have been a Motorbiker and Bicycle rider for many decades and Helmets "to help greatly" depending on the situation. Said that those need to be proper certified helmets, etc.

Always cringe when I see motorbike riders with beanies, t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops on any bike or scooter.

There is an old saying in the motorbike community there are 2 types of Bikers: "Those that came off and those that will do in the future".

Be prepared and be protected. Modern Helmets are now way better than 20-30yrs ago.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

JeremiahW: "Oh so you are also some sort of expert on zebra crossings in Gunma , are ya?"

Don't cherry-pick my comments and then use them for your bizarre 'rebuttals'. I said "As I figured" in regards to the kids not wearing helmets, not in regards to zebra crossings. And BTW, you don't need to be an expert on zebra crossings to know the laws of the road, which I DO know and many here do not.

" Yet another " ?? Do you take each one personally? Come on, this one just means one more chance f"or you to lecture and pontificate."

You've got a serious problem if you take someone's comment on, again, the lack of safety laws and suggest they LIKE such news as this thread. It's rather offensive, really, and not at all a reasonable argument but that of someone who is incapable of offering a reasonable response. I'm sorry if you feel my comment is a 'lecture' for you, but really all that does is speak volumes about who you are, not what my comments represent.

"Enforcing takes manpower. Manpower means salaries means more taxes. Most foreigners that I know don't really want to see a cop on every corner. You do, apparently."

I want to see more enforcement? Absolutely! Does that mean a cop on every corner? Not at all. Instead of having four officers surround a person to ask if their bike is stolen, there's no reason why they cannot do a little more enforcing of traffic laws in general. Yes, that means getting off their butts and actually filing more paper work as a result, but it's for the betterment of society, and while it may mean inconvenience for some, it also ensures their safety. I see police all the time in front of a Koban or recently on street corners (enkai season) and they let this kind of thing pass ALL THE TIME. It would not require any more funds than are currently being spent -- it would just require the police to enforce things more than they are currently.

Anyway, Jeremiah, you need to stop twisting people's words and make a valid argument for a change. Drop the syllogisms and irrational conclusions and actually read what's posted before commenting, please.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

tragic, but drivers as pedastrians and bicyclers here in japan don't follow much rules if there even are any. people on bike's en pedastrians cross without looking , dangerous!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I notice that the police says they were not wearing a helmet."

As I figured. Yet another tragedy that probably could have been prevented (ie. the death of one child and the extent of injuries to mother and the other child), and more laws that could use enforcing.

There is an active scientific debate, with no consensus, on whether helmets are useful for cyclists in general, and on whether any benefits are outweighed by their disadvantages. The debate on whether helmet use should be enforced by law is intense and occasionally bitter, often based not only on differing interpretations of the academic literature, but also on differing assumptions and interests on the two sides. (from wikipedia)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

tmarie: "I think it was as I didn't see it when I first read it - and was the first to comment so ha to those of you and your snide comments about not seeing it! ;)"

It's definitely been updated -- last I read only one child had died. Sadly, both dear souls have now passed. RIP. I hope the mom survives, but it's going to be an awful awakening... despite my remarks regarding the lack of bicycle safety and the fact that these kids should have been wearing helmets, I feel very sorry for the mother and her family.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Japanese press said the car had green light, according to witnesses. It was a big three lanes road. Regardless, the guy is toasted, both by the system and by the heavy burden of involuntarily killing two children.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sorry, but I doubt if the bicycle was at fault. Yes, neither child was wearing a helmet, but judging from the extent of the impact I doubt if helmets would have helped. I do agree many mothers do have a somewhat 'kamikaze' approach to riding their bikes, but the responsibility is on drivers to be aware of this. I cannot count the amount of times I have nearly been cleaned up pedestrian crossings in Japan. I actually got hit by a car on a crossing two weeks ago. No damage to me, but I stove the bonnet in fairly well when I jumped on it and then, I got a serve from the J-pigs for putting my foot through the grill of the car. My cash-out is still pending and the old coot is gonna cough up a few grand, for sure!

Drivers in Japan are the worst I have ever seen for a so-called 'developed' country. I felt safer walking the streets of Bali than I do in Japan. I hope this driver is found guilty and spends the rest of his miserable life in jail.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I'm not in favour of over-regulation, but two kids on a bike, with the one child riding a ridiculously positioned steering-heavy handlebar seat should not be legal. Those bikes, when full, don't have nearly the manoeuvrability they need to prevent accidents. Tragic accident. Prayers go out to the bereaved.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The handcovers, the umbrella handles - why are those allowed to be sold anyway since it is illegal to ride a bike and have an umbrella open at the same time - the lack of bike lights, the lack of bike helmets... I have a road bike. I bike on the road and some of the people here need a smack upside the head. No light, all in dark clothing, coming at ME and expecting ME to move for them when cars are coming up behind me. They need to get on the right side of the road, get a light, get a helmet, get some reflective clothing... and not bike with a kid on the front/back. I get that driving around on a bike is faster but it isn't safe for the kids. Walk, take the train, drive, taxi... If you want to bike, for god's sake, get a helmet and following the road rules!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think this article has been edited. It's not the same one I read when I first posted earliar today. More information has been added.

Nothing wrong with that, but the moderator or somebody should make a note that it has been edited.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think I'd just like to see more police on the ball with the whole chiild safety issue on the whole. Hoikuen pickup I see a woman riding her bike with a maybe 4 year old sat....yes sat in a basket on the back of the bike. Policeman stood there didn't bat an eyelid. I am thinking of taking a photo and asking a few opinions down at the local koban about whether this practice is being anresponsible parent. How would that child fare in a collision with another bike or vehicle?

I am seriously thinking of giving up cycling!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@smithinjapan

As I figured.

Oh so you are also some sort of expert on zebra crossings in Gunma , are ya?

Yet another tragedy that probably could have been prevented

" Yet another " ?? Do you take each one personally? Come on, this one just means one more chance for you to lecture and pontificate.

(ie. the death of one child and the extent of injuries to mother and the other child), and more laws that could use enforcing.

Enforcing takes manpower. Manpower means salaries means more taxes. Most foreigners that I know don't really want to see a cop on every corner. You do, apparently.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Incredibly sad news..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

(nor did I notice it in the article... was it edited?

I think it was as I didn't see it when I first read it - and was the first to comment so ha to those of you and your snide comments about not seeing it! ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tmarie.

I agree. One mother and child some time ago nearly got t-boned by me as she was racing to make it to hoi-kuen. Road-rules, road-markings = what are those.

So I asked her what would have happened if I had hit her. She said child would be safe as he is strapped in a got a helmet. She got shocked with my next question "Why don't you wear a helmet yourself". Your life less worth than his and your safety is no more guaranteed than his in a collision.

Hope the Mother pulls through but it will be sore awakening learning her two kids died.

Another thing I hope they ban here soon are those hand-grip covers, you seen them like huge mittens attached to grips on scooters and bike handles.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Nicky, moms here live there kids alone regardless of rules. If you have more than one kid and need to go somewhere, don't take your bike. Pretty simple. Kids here get dumped on bikes like grocery bags. No helmets, no straps. Mom parks her bike with those nasty kickstands and moms goes in the shop leaving the kid alone balancing on a bike. Perhaps YOU think it is about safety but it isn't. It is about convince for the moms - no regards to kids' safety. I know that walking to the store with two kids takes time but since these women are home all day... Better safe than sorry. I 100% agree that one kid on a bike is enough - with helmets. I am rather shocked you disagree.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

**@tmarie " I laughed when that was in the news"

This is no laughing matter when a child gets killed. **

Shame some of you guys can't read properly. This was an issue a few years ago. the government tried to restrict moms from riding with two kids on a bike and the moms went crazy. I am certainly not laughing at this.

Why people here don't get ticketed for riding around with kids and no helmets is beyond me.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

RIP poor mother and children there in Gunma

0 ( +1 / -1 )

davestrousers.

Agree to a certain point many of those kids helmets sold at the super are for show only, IMHO. Me and son got the same Bell helmets(for adults). Not really that much price difference

Helmet laws and regulations are always changing, remember when Motorbike helmets got changed so that they would no longer snap a riders neck under certain impact conditions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@davestrousers: The benefits far outweight any bizzar complications caused by the helmet. A man who worked for me once bumped an older lady's moped as she exited from a post office parking lot. The actual contact was so lsight it caused no injuries or damage to either vehicle but the lady fell over sideways and her head (sans helmet) struck the pavement and she DIED! He was arrested and spent some time in (Koji Keimusho) for causing an accident resulting in death....totally unfair....but had the woman been wearing a helmet she would be alive and his life would be completely different.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cycling when it is dark with kids in tow is dangerous anywhere.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For those commenting on the helmets, its highly debatable whether helmets offer any benefit in a collision with a car. Some experts have claimed that they may make certain types of injuries worse.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

if you're in this situation, will you leave your child in school and let her wait till you came back? what kind of people are you? let's just wait for all the facts before putting all the blame in both parties.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nicky: Oops! Sorry... I didn't see that you mentioned they weren't wearing helmets when I 'bet' you they were not (nor did I notice it in the article... was it edited?).

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

timeon: "Wala, sorry for your loss, regardless of whose fault was it it's a terrible tragedy."

Indeed.

"I notice that the police says they were not wearing a helmet."

As I figured. Yet another tragedy that probably could have been prevented (ie. the death of one child and the extent of injuries to mother and the other child), and more laws that could use enforcing.

"Since there was a traffic light there, it comes down to who ignored the red light, the bicycle or the car."

I wasn't aware there was a traffic light at all. That makes it rather more clear-cut, but unless there are witnesses it'll be he said she said. My guess is one or the other was rushing through a light just turned red (drivers here do that ALL the time with no regard for safety), or the mother ignored the light altogether.

It"s Me: "Too many cyclists here think they don't fall under the Road and Traffic Law."

Probably 99% of the public, and in a survey only 70% of police, are even aware what the bicycle laws are, let alone follow them. This morning I nearly got hit by some obachan doing her keri-keri-nori on the wrong side of the road and on the narrow sidewalk to boot!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

smartacus: "I don't often see bikes that can take more than one child. Are they common?"

Very common, actually. There's a child seat just behind the handle bars and in front of the rider and one behind the rider. They often have plastic shields (with kitty-chan or what have you) for the front seat.

Nicky: "How exactly would having only 1 child on the bike have prevented this accident?"

Maybe it wouldn't have prevent it, but I bet it would have. For starters, if there were only one child and not two that would change the weight of the bicycle, which means that unless mom pedals harder than usual with two kids than she does with one, she would have been in a different place at that moment. Also, who knows? but with less weight and more control she could have possibly braked or steered out of the way (we don't know if she was caught completely unaware or not).

"A "mama-chari" ridden carefully with two children on board is no different to one IF you ride it properly. By that I mean an electric one (then the weight of the bike is not an issue) ridden slowly and carefully."

Glad you had to qualify this with the 'by that I mean an electric one', because in most cases they are NOT electric ones. Was it an electric bike this time? My guess is no.

"Sorry tmarie - got to call you up on that. It is not about no concern for their safety, quite the opposite actually."

Yes it is, 100%, about no concern for safety -- or at the very least it's about bad prioritizing. This happens often here and the police (or government) always buckle to public pressure. A lot of people here seem to think convenience or sympathy should take priority over practicality (be it bicycle laws or sharing nuclear waste nation wide to sympathize with people in Fukushima, for example). The seatbelt law is another prime, and not too far off-topic given that it's related to traffic, example; there is no fine for not wearing a seatbelt for either driver or passengers in a car/bus (etc.) when not on an expressway because it was thought that it would be unpopular among the public. These mothers (and in rare cases fathers) who bike around with two kids on a bike, things hanging from the handles, sun visors that make it impossible to see where the rider might be turning (no eye signals), umbrella holders, and what have you are INCREDIBLY irresponsible and quite frankly dangerous. How much do you want to bet, Nicky, that the kids weren't wearing helmets, either? (another law that is not enforced)

Where we DO agree on this is that it was a horrible accident, and that the driver takes at least the lion's share of the blame (if not all). And as I said, I hope the child and mother recover.

timeon: "regardless, if they were on the zebra, it automatically puts the driver at blame. more details would help though"

Agreed. Legally, of course, the driver will take the full blame, but we don't know the circumstances. I see people on bicycles, or even walking, dart out suddenly without ANY warning to cross the street and sometimes right in front of a car. Another possibility, and something else that I very often see, is that a car was illegally parked along the roadside, hindering the driver's vision. The driver should have been more cautious to be sure, approaching a zebra, but again we don't know any details.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

This is one reason I'd never get with my kids on bicycle. Even with helmets, it is too dangerous for them. I'd rather be stranded at home, or drag them both with me, rather than risk their lives. I'm just afraid.

BTW, I go everyday shopping with my daughter, and we have to cross a zebra just in front of the supermarket. I wait until it is green, and then cross. So do the drivers who have to make turn at the trafic lights. They just immediately speed up-young, old, men, women...I often have to wait for them, although I know that in such situations, the driver is supposed to wait for the pedestrians to cross first. Most of them are going shopping too, so what's the rush?No, they are just the almighty drivers, who know that a mother will wait for them and won't risk her child being knocked. Sometimes, when I walk alone and decide to use my priority as a pedestrian, they stop on centimeters from me and look the other side, because they know they are wrong. One day I'll probably write down someone's number and bring it to the police, if I'm really pissed off. No doubt the driver was also trying stubbornly to take the turn before the mother, taking her priority. I hope he rots in jail for a long, long time, and other drivers learn their lesson.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Isnt the rule here that the driver of the car is 100% at fault in the case accidents involving a bike and a car? Dont quote me on it, but someone told me that it doesnt matter if they come flying out from between parked cars, with no zebra crossing etc, it is always the drivers fault for not being vigilant enough.

I hope that isnt the case, but if it is, then this would be a fairly swift trial - drivers fault, multiple deaths.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

RIP little ones...I saw the car on the news. Looked like car was speeding by the way it was damaged.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Police are investigating to see whether the traffic light was green or red at the time of the incident.

This accident happened because someone, either the driver or the mother, went through the crossing on a red light. It's tragic and would appear to have been totally and utterly avoidable. It wasn't caused by the type of Bicylce etc but simply because someone didn't see the red light.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A day hardly ever passes that I don't see a cyclist or a young mother pushing a pram across a major street while texting on their cell phone. This whole country is totally distracted. I'm amazed the death toll from traffic accidents isn't 20 times higher than it is.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wala, sorry for your loss, regardless of whose fault was it it's a terrible tragedy. I notice that the police says they were not wearing a helmet. Since there was a traffic light there, it comes down to who ignored the red light, the bicycle or the car.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Used to take my son to Hoikuen at times(mother usually did).

Her bicycle was designed for kid carrying(sturdier frame, front steering lock, seat resting between the handle-bars). Granted as he got older we switched him to a fitted carrier in the back.

Only yesterday me and son walked to our station(lots of road-works happening). There is one crossing where cars come from one side after turning under the railway lines.

We stop check and see a car turning so we start walking, plenty of time for car to see us and stop. Next I hear is a bicycle bell being rung frantically and 2 Bicycles(couple) zooming down the road. I ignored them and continued crossing, scaring the wife behind as she now had to swerve.

Both had better gear(helmets, clothing) on than I seen on Tour de France riders. The "Princess" complex is not just confined to Ladies here.

Too many cyclists here think they don't fall under the Road and Traffic Law.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What the artical doesn't tell you is the rest of the family is in other countries. She is a divorced mother of four children and the family is looking for money to purchase airline tickets to be with there sister and the mother wants to be with her daughter and other grandchildren.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

i am the cousin of clare sakurai :( , she picked up her 2 little girls at school riding a bicycle, sad to say but junko died earlier this morning. and we can't do anything to help them :( we're on philippines. yes they were wearing a helmet. i was so sad with this accident :( i didn't knew that this will happen to my cousin, she was so strong and she really had a good fighting spirit. i know she can survive :( please we do need your prayers :(

8 ( +10 / -2 )

This was bound to happen one day, it is just wrong riding across a zebra crossing on a bicycle. You should get off it and push it across. The dead angle at crossings is to be taken more seriously. Unless strict laws about it will be enforced, I am afraid that this kind of accident will happen again and again. I personally would never put my kids on a bicycle in the first place. RIP little ones.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is indeed tragic and I'm not saying who was at fault her because we don't have enough information. What I will say is that in general, bicyclists here ride with seemingly no regard for either their safety or that of the people around them. Riding dangerously puts others at risk, be it on a sidewalk or on the road. Just yesterday I rode across town, about 15 kilometers each way, to meet up with a friend. I saw a lot of other people riding but counted only 3 others in helmets besides me and 2 of them seemed to be delivery riders so it may have been a work requirement. The helmet-less included a mother and her young child. She was riding on the side of the road, which I commend her for, but with no helmets and no lights, she was asking to be hit. People think that if they ride on well-lit roads they don't need lights when nothing could be further from the truth. People also seem to think that if they're riding in a familiar area they don't need helmets when again, that is completely untrue. The more familiar the area the more likely you are to pay less attention to your surroundings and end up in an accident. Personally, when I walk, because I never ride on the pavement, I always double check before I go through a zebra crossing because I know drivers here don't necessarily slow down. I often see people looking across the street to see if traffic is coming from there (the left I guess it is) but not checking to see if it's coming from the lane close to them. That's always seemed a bit odd to me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of us have never tried to ride a bike with a child front and back. I have seen it done before.

I started riding just recently. JapanToday featured an article about police cracking down on cyclist and I posted about the riding hazards I encountered in my first weeks with bike.

My opinion is this. You must be extremely vigilant when riding a bike period. There are more hazards for cyclists than pedestrians or drivers will ever encounter. Drivers have the vehicles protection and safety systems to their benefit. Bicycles offer no protection other than the head gear you should be wearing.

With two children it would be difficult to bring the bike to a complete stop. Furthermore, the cyclist is constantly trying to maintain the balance of the bicycle due to the additional weight. I'm willing to bet she didn't look around her.

If I can add one more thing. Women in this country don't look when they cross the street. Sometimes I think they have a princess complex that has bled over to everything in this society. The women expect you to stop for them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I see cars going through a zebra crossing even when there are still people walking across it. In the uk you gotta slow down and check, even if there isn't anyone there. Maybe it's time for Japan to start making their traffic laws a bit stricter.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Nicky Washida

For the most part I agree with you, but I really don't think that those bikes that allow two kids on them are safe. Sure the manufactures say that they are safe, but I think that makes the mother or parent riding the bike, overly confident. Moreover, some of these mother's swerve in and out of traffic with kids on their bikes which is insanely dangerous.

People (in general) really need to be more careful (both cyclist and drivers) but I wish that there was a more viable alternative to these 3-people bikes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tragic, seems like the driver was going very fast to hit and then turn over onto its side.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This story is just beyond tragic. I really feel for the family. I ride up and down to hoikuen everyday and quite frankly find it a bit scary.

I was hit by another bike while going to hoikuen a week ago. It was my fault. I was inching out of a side street and another bike coming down the road hit my front wheel and our bike just keeled over. The little one was in the back seat but apart from a shock was okay. She wears a helmet and the child seat has straps and head/ leg protection. I still feel bad about it. I was inching out slowly and checked and then a schoolkid just appeared from nowhere and hit us. Thank god I was moving so slowly. I feel that I have to have eyes in the back of my head here. The kid was cycling the wrong way down a one way street, on the wrong side. A passerby helped us and the schoolkid too. Said sorry then everyone went on their merry way. I keep kicking myself. I consider myself a conscientious driver. I never speed, I always go slowly. Double check when turning and/or crossing. Kiddie always strapped in with helmet and we still had an accident.

Later talking about it to some other mummies, everyone said they'd been involved in a minor crash as well! Makes you wonder about statistics.

My deepest condolences to the family concerned. They must be going through hell.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Old person smoking in the car no doubt not paying attention runs over a bicycle that has three people on it. No excuse for the driver. One or two kids on the bike, makes no difference.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

A small seat below the handle bars in front, for the small toddler, and the slightly bigger seat behind the driver, on the back.

Those are the ones that have been adapted to take two seats but arent really designed for it. They look really dangerous.

There are bikes that are specifically designed to take two seats - the handlebars are adapted so that a large seat is fitted between the handles. The second seat is fitted behind. Unlike the ones described above, both seats on the custom-designed one have seatbelts, headrests and a special bike stand that balances the bike. They also have an electric battery for power-assisted riding which means that when you start off you dont wobble with the weight, and you can manouvere the bike more safely and stably.

Bikes and cars are not dangerous - just the people operating them.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Sad story for all involved. Gonna say that most likely the driver will be found at fault simply because the bicycle appears to have been within a legally designated crosswalk. It is possible that she was not walking her bike and that she failed to check before entering the crosswalk, but still the driver of the motor vehicle needed to be aware of his surroundings and alert to the possibility that somebody might be trying to cross in front of him at that particular crosswalk at that particular time.

My understanding of the rules of the road may be incorrect, but I always thought that anytime you come across one of these crosswalks while driving that you are to slow down (and stop if necessary) if you see any pedestrians/cyclists who even look like they might possibly considering crossing the street. This is what I try to do at least, which often does not make the drivers behind me all too happy.

I will say that I do see lots of foolish pedestrians and cyclists on the roads acting as if they are just daring somebody to run them over. Quite a few times at these zebra crossings I have seen people just jump out into the street without even looking both ways as if they expect my car or any other one approaching them to somehow magically stop on a dime so that they can safely cross. Seen similar things from bike riders as well, and it's not always some high school kid looking at their phone. You see people trying to navigate through traffic with their bikes loaded down with kids or groceries seemingly unaware of the dangers around them. When you're driving, I think you have to always be aware of these people and assume that if the worse can happen then it will and just try to get by them as slowly and safely as you can.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

sad...but a good reason why having two kids on a bicycle should be banned.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

R.I.P children. Words cannot describe my feelings now. I can't comment further on this terrible tragedy but my assumption will be that either the mother or the driver ignored the traffic lights.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree that it is a very tragic matter, but it is a full round circle here... drivers drive insanely and cyclists ride insanely as well.

I am a driver and I have to deal with crazy drives, of all ages, on a daily bases and riders to boot. When I drive I have to at least use my horn twice on my journey to and from work. I get cyclist dive out into the road when they want to go around people, with and against the flow of traffic. To which I have to slam on my brakes because there is room for them and I can’t move because there is a driver beside. Then I pray that the driver behind doesn’t smash into me as he wants to go 10 times faster than the speed limit!

I have nearly clipped parents with children on their bikes as they seems to love to over-hang the crossings and I have come to a complete stop on a 50mph road as a rider doesn’t care about his surroundings and is too busy playing with his mobile phone.

There is so much more I can write but it would turn into a 10 page book.

Driving here is one of the most dangerous tasks I have to deal with.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I don't often see bikes that can take more than one child. Are they common?

Fairly.

A small seat below the handle bars in front, for the small toddler, and the slightly bigger seat behind the driver, on the back.

I'll reserve any judgement on this, as I don't know all the details.

But what a tragedy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

very sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I WILL say this is more evidence that Japan needs to again put the no more than one kid on a bike with parent law into effect, and not rescind it because a bunch of young-mamas complain.

How exactly would having only 1 child on the bike have prevented this accident?

I laughed when that was in the news. No concern for their kids safety and all about things being easier for them. Shame they don't have the will to fight for other things that are more important!

Sorry tmarie - got to call you up on that. It is not about no concern for their safety, quite the opposite actually. It is about not having to leave my 5 year old alone at home or with someone else so I can take my 2 year old to where he needs to go (or vice versa) and be back quickly for when my 7 year old gets in from school (for example). To suggest that wanting to use a bike with two seats suggests no concern for my childrens safety and wanting to make things easier for me is a bit much to be honest! If I wanted to make things easier for me Id never have had the blighters in the first place!!! ;)

Showing no concern for kids safety is when you see someone on a mama-chari listening to music and texting, in the dark with no lights while the kids wear no helmets. THOSE are the negligent ones you want to be going after, not the ones being as careful as possible and doing the best we can for all of our children.

A "mama-chari" ridden carefully with two children on board is no different to one IF you ride it properly. By that I mean an electric one (then the weight of the bike is not an issue) ridden slowly and carefully. HELMETS - (it says that the kids werent wearing them in this accident). And LIGHTS! My God, I am going to and from daycare every day with my bike at the moment, and from around 4-4.30 you definitely need lights but I see loads and loads of women riding around on these bikes in the dark with no lights and no helmets on the kids. Then when you cross the road dont assume the drivers will stop just because you are on a crossing - especially if they cant bloody see you in the first place!

My heart absolutely goes out to this woman and her family for this terrible tragedy. BUT - IF she was riding like so many of the loonies I see around this area then I cant help but feel sorry for the driver too - a bike in the dark with no lights, no helmets, maybe scooting across a crossing that was red or the lights were flashing just to make a few extra seconds. Its an accident waiting to happen and Im surprised it doesnt happen more often.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

@tmarie " I laughed when that was in the news"

This is no laughing matter when a child gets killed.

I so agree.....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sad but not surprising. Drivers on Route 6 Chiba and many other roads regularly run red lights, often after speeding up only to stop 100 mts further along, barge though pedestrians while turning. Drivers are so impolite hiding behind the wheel. I have been knocked off my bicycle only to see the driver speeding away for fear of loosing the "no claim bonus" I guess or make a report first.

Why do the police drive around whit the lights flashing? Is it to let the drivers know they are coming and start driving by the rules. Makes no sense if they were unaware they may behave and obey the road rules.

Its only getting worse as the population of older drivers increases and the young cant afford to get a licence and run a car.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Such sad news, my condolences to Family and Friends. Rest in Peace. And I hope the mother can pull through.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I WILL say this is more evidence that Japan needs to again put the no more than one kid on a bike with parent law into effect, and not rescind it because a bunch of young-mamas complain

So how exactly would having one child prevented this accident from happening? In fact, who's to say that this accident would of still not of happened if there was only one child on the bicycle, or for that matter, who's to say this accident would of not happened if there were no children on the bicycle?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Seniors shouldn't drive. Period.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

tmarie....please read the articles....

Wonder if any of them were wearing helmets.

Neither child was wearing a helmet, reports say.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Reckless mad cyclists, I always wonder (each time they hit me on the sidewalk) weather they could be a bit more careful at least when they are carrying their children.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@tmarie " I laughed when that was in the news"

This is no laughing matter when a child gets killed.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

How sad, a moments inattention can be so very very devastating.

Becareful out there on our roads people, and remember not everyone is paying attention.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In my experience, you just can't expect drivers to stop for you at Zebra crossings here - they usually seem to actually speed up. Another disturbing and tragic accident with a common denominator with many recent ones - an elderly driver. Rest in Peace to the poor girl, and I hope the Mum and other girl recover.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I WILL say this is more evidence that Japan needs to again put the no more than one kid on a bike with parent law into effect, and not rescind it because a bunch of young-mamas complain

I laughed when that was in the news. No concern for their kids safety and all about things being easier for them. Shame they don't have the will to fight for other things that are more important!

-22 ( +5 / -25 )

yes smartacus. as smith said, they tried to make them illegal, but the mamas complained and they allowed it again. regardless, if they were on the zebra, it automatically puts the driver at blame. more details would help though

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A very tragic accident. This article does need an update though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Um, I think he may have given himself away. He should not have "tried to swerve to avoid the cyclist" -- he should have slowed down and come to a complete stop in order to let the bicycle cross first.

I would love to know more about the zebra crossing, however. Was it one with the adjacent lines for bicycles as well? Because, if it wasn't, aren't all bicyclists required to dismount and walk their bicycles through a pedestrian-only zebra crossing?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Very sad indeed. I hope the mother and her other daughter both recover both physically and mentally after this tragic event. I hope the mother doesn't spend the rest of her life in pain thinking it was her fault in anyway. RIP little one. I pray for your recovery. Without sounding rude i am not surprised it doesn't happen more often. Very rarely do people in Japan ever stop at Zebra crossings.......the only time i see people stopping around my way is early in the morning when there is a cop standing next to one with his flashing red stick. I have seen so many near misses where the driver has the audacity to blow his horn at the person he nearly knocked over as he speed through. Other times a car will stop and as the person is crossing the crossing and motorbike will zip up the inside and nearly wipe out the pedestrian.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't often see bikes that can take more than one child. Are they common?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Hard to comment on fault with so little detail, and given what I see bicyclists do day in and day out flaunting the laws because they feel safe, but if they were on a 'zebra' crossing then it seems the driver of the car is at fault. I WILL say this is more evidence that Japan needs to again put the no more than one kid on a bike with parent law into effect, and not rescind it because a bunch of young-mamas complain. I'm guessing it was one of those mama-charis built like a tank, and with the combined weight of the mother and children it would have been impossible to avoid the collision even if the mother could have otherwise at the last minute.

In any case, I hope the mother and daughter recover, and RIP to the one who passed away. As to the driver of the car... I don't know what to say.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Tragic indeed. I hope that people wait for ALL the facts before apportioning blame.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

ahhhhh!!! So tragic!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tragic.

Wonder if any of them were wearing helmets.

-18 ( +4 / -22 )

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