crime

Prosecutors consider charging cyclist who hit woman in wheelchair, while using smartphone

39 Comments

Prosecutors in Tokyo are considering whether to charge a teenage cyclist who hit a woman in an electric wheelchair. The cyclist was using his smartphone at the time of the incident that occurred in mid-May in Toshima Ward, Fuji TV reported.

According to police, the teenager was riding his bicycle along a road as he headed to his part-time job. The cyclist then collided head-on with the woman in her 50s who was knocked out of her wheelchair. She suffered injuries requiring required one month to heal.

The teenager is being accused of gross negligence resulting in bodily injury. Police quoted him as saying, “When the accident occurred, I was looking at my smartphone and wasn’t aware of my surroundings.”

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39 Comments
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Why do they have to "consider" this? Can't any of these people make a decision?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I was looking at my smartphone and wasn’t aware of my surroundings

that describes at least half the people I see on the street and almost all on the train.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

@ Bertie - they are considering it a waste of their time because he's a minor and the only thing that will happen to him as his parents will have to pay

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I’ve been hit a couple of times by idiots on bicycles staring at their phones. It’s ‘supposed to be’ illegal, not that anybody would know. Just like kids under 13 years old are ‘supposed to’ wear helmets.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Is using your smartphone, umbrella, etc. while riding a bicycle illegal? Then freaking charge him for the crime and dangerous act he committed. Unless laws are finally enforced and zombies shown that they're responsible for their irresponsible actions, the "smarphone" zombies will continue being, well, that. Zombies.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

why consider? i dont understand... whats going on, dont prosecutor office have oversight , these shouldnt be "considered" , he should be charged with attempted murder.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Yes, cycling with umbrella, phone or headphones is illegal... they were actually following up on that few years back... but nothing in last few years... , oh and if any cyclists collides into you on pavement.. drag em by the hair to koban and demand prosecution... I am a cyclist but when i walk on a pavement there is absolutely

0% chance i would ever move for a cyclist on the pavement... regardless of how many bells they ring.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Alex Einz

I used to cycle 40 kms a day work and back for about 7 years in Kobe, build myself a nice road bike too.

I agree that bicycles are sometimes ridden ridiculously and yeah I dont move for teenage boys that are flying around on their mama charis either, I simply gesture that they get out of my way.

Buuut I think you should move for the mums with kidz unless shes really being awful as Japans roads can be very dangerous for cyclists. :)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

And no he should absolutely NOT be charged with attempted murder, that is a false charge.

He was negligent and caused bodily harm. It put her in the hospital! He should apologize, pay, and pay the price for that.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

no, cyclists are not allowed on pavements, moms with kids should yield and stop before anyone walking their path on pavement, that is the law especially since these are motorized and heavy bikes. by moving for them you are encouraging dangerous and irresponsible behaviour.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@theperson

I very much doubt that anyone in a position of authority, or with an ounce of common sense, would be entertaining such a childish, hysterical notion as “attempted murder”.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

try get hit by a mamachari at full speed one day,its pretty much same as getting hit by a motorbike.. I did have the pleasure, luckily a cop was seeing all that and offered a choice of direct damages payment or prosecution.. I was lenient enough to accept 2000$ worth of yen apprx and let her go cause she was with kids, but it took me a month recovery and i am a runner .. so in retrospect it was a mistake... next one is getting the jail.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

he should be charged with attempted murder.

Say what? Murder requires intent.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

cyclists are not allowed on pavements

Yes they are. They changed the law a few years back. But if you are riding on the sidewalk (which I assume you meant when you said 'pavement'), the right of way is to pedestrians.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

try get hit by a mamachari at full speed one day,its pretty much same as getting hit by a motorbike

No it's not. Force is the product of weight and momentum. Bicycles do not go as fast as motorbikes, nor do they have the weight, meaning that bicycles cannot generate the same force as motorbikes.

That's like trying to say that if someone walks and bumps into you, it's like getting hit by a car.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Bicycles are legally allowed on pavements in Japan but cyclists should yield to pedestrians and stick to the side nearest the road.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Bicycles are legally allowed on pavements in Japan

This is an international site, and 'pavements' is a term used in the UK (I think) to mean sidewalk, but for the rest of the world, 'pavement' refers to the road. The term invites misunderstanding.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Strangerland

for the rest of the world, 'pavement' refers to the road.

By the 'rest of the world,' do you mean America? I'm more familiar with the term pavement.

The term invites misunderstanding.

For you, possibly.

Anyway, bicycles can be ridden on the pavement, if there is a sign indicating such. If not, cyclists must ride on the road. But so what? Cyclists should also stick to the left and not carry open umbrellas, but we all know how strictly they adhere to those regulations.

Attempted murder,' certainly not. 'gross negligence resulting in bodily injury,' sure.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Pavement:

noun

a paved road, highway, etc.

a paved surface, ground covering, or floor.

a material used for paving.

Atlantic States and British. sidewalk.

Link: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/pavement?s=t

It invites misunderstanding with people not from Atlantic states and Britain, as it means pretty much the opposite of sidewalk.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

people not from Atlantic states and Britain

That's me, and I know exactly what the term means. And a quick google search gives the definition as; (British) a raised paved or asphalted path for pedestrians at the side of a road. Let it go.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

 'pavements' is a term used in the UK (I think) to mean sidewalk, but for the rest of the world, 'pavement' refers to the road. 

No, sidewalk is a North American term for what the Rest of the World calls a pavement.

The term used by the Rest of the World to refer to the road is the road.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

What is there to consider? He was looking at his phone when riding a bike, he is culpable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cyclists only allowed on the pavement (american sidewalk) at sections where its indicated as such, not in any other setting.

Still even when indicated as bike section , then HAVE to yield to any pedestrian.

Mamachari, with engine weights close to 30kg , they also reach 32kmh speed - so yes the impact is pretty much same as slow 50cc .

Maybe not intented murder but certainly negligence with gravely injury or homicide in few recent cases., there is no reason for lenience here.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Using a smartphone while driving or riding a bike should be punished by confiscating the smartphone. It should be held for three days and then returned for a 50,000 yen fine or wiped and sold off by auction.

I bet that would lead to a huge drop in smartphone use.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

using a smartphone when driving or cycling already illegal and need to be changed to jail, not fine as it is now.

500usd is not enough fine for driving while staring at phone.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why does this need to be CONSIDERED? I can see it if he had one of those stands on his handlebars for a cell phone but was NOT looking at it, as the rules on such things are vague, but since he admits to having been looking at the phone at the time of the collision, and doing so is illegal, what's the problem here with charging him?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Strangerland: You lost this one, bud. Face it and move on. Non of the usual backtracking.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Is it really worth debating?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Alex Einz - Yes, cycling with umbrella, phone or headphones is illegal..

Actually, that's two out of three correct. They tried to make holding an umbrella illegal, but it was overturned by an overwhelming amount of complaints from mothers and old ladies.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Will the police "consider" doing their job?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You can cycle on pavements if they are more than 1.5m wide. Still, I think powered, or power-assisted bicycles should be banned from pavements as they are very heavy and can move quickly. There is a good chance you will be killed if one hits you when it is going at full speed.

Also, it is illegal to hold an umbrella whilst riding. It is also illegal to ride on the wrong side of the road, but I'm still shouting at people almost every day to ride on the left.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

using a smartphone when driving or cycling already illegal and need to be changed to jail, not fine as it is now.

Yest but it being illegal is not working as a deterrent. Using a mobile while driving a car is a pathetic fine of something like 10,000 yen. For a phone addict, a policeman taking the phone away would be much more traumatic.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Disillusioned

They tried to make holding an umbrella illegal, but it was overturned by an overwhelming amount of complaints from mothers and old ladies.

Can you provide a link to that? I don't know if it's true.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is also illegal to ride on the wrong side of the road, but I'm still shouting at people almost every day to ride on the left.

Me too. It's shocking how many people come hurtling towards you on the wrong side of the road, often while looking at phones, and expect you to get out of their way. Yes, of course I'm going to suddenly turn into traffic that is behind me because you are a rude and ignorant moron.

I was almost hit by a car when I had to swerve to avoid being hot by a woman on a bike who shot out of a side road without looking. She was staring at her phone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Alex Einz

Well yes I think the same but I think I have a little more empathy than you.

Like I mentioned teenagers or adults flying by on bikes I make them move, but a mom pedaling her two little ones doesn’t make me aggressive or make me wanna punish her. Even if she hit me, Id be worried about her children initially.

Cell phone use while driving? Take away the license I say and retake it!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ strangerland et al - admittedly I don't know how the law is written in Japan. But in the states, if a person acts with "reckless disregard", and that recklessness results in a death, they can be charged with murder even if there was no intent. It would be up to a jury to decide if his actions amounted to reckless disregard

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@luca brasi

I agree. I didnt say that actually I was responding to Alex’s comment above.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In this case, disregard yes, but reckless disregard unlikely

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police quoted him as saying, “When the accident occurred, I was looking at my smartphone and wasn’t aware of my surroundings.”

This sounds like something he was told to say.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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