crime

Truck driver arrested after hitting and killing 6-year-old girl on bike

29 Comments

Police in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, have arrested a 73-year-old man on suspicion of dangerous driving resulting in death after the truck he was driving hit and killed a six-year-old girl riding her bicycle.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Kyodo News reported. The girl, Mizuki Yamashita, was with a group of friends on their way to another friend’s house when she was hit by the truck driven by Ichiro Sanpei, a company employee. 

A pedestrian witnessed the incident and called 110. Sanpei was quoted by police as saying he must have hit the girl’s bike as he was overtaking the group, which was riding on his left. Yamashita was riding at the back of her group of friends.

Police said Yamashita was taken to hospital where she died of severe head injuries about two hours later.

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29 Comments
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No helmet? What are her parents thinking now? And I'm not being callous about it! She died of serious head trauma. No one in my community, except the homeless (who for the most part ride stolen bikes) rides without a helmet. And in Japan, where I've had to dodge crazy drivers as a pedestrian, it makes no sense. Sad, indeed. Very sad.

-17 ( +10 / -27 )

A nightmare for her family, without details we can't know what made this happen, it may be because of terribly unsafe roads, or a driver that did not put enough attention, in Japan both things are unfortunately too common.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Police said Yamashita was taken to hospital where she died of severe head injuries about two hours later.

There's nothing in the article to prove she would have survived if she was wearing a helmet. However, the statistics state differently. It is actually law for children under 13 to wear bicycle helmets in Japan, not that you would notice.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

It is actually law for children under 13 to wear bicycle helmets in Japan

I believe it's more of an obligation than law since there are no penalties.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Sorry to say but the truck driver could have been doing everything right. The way people ignore traffic while riding their bikes here, especially in groups, is hard to understand. More rider education, starting from the top, is necessary.

RIP

4 ( +13 / -9 )

The death of a six-year-old girl on a bicycle is not an "accident". Did the street have a dedicated cycle lane separate from the road? If not, then those who plan and build this city are at fault. Did the road have traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps and chicanes? If not, then those who design these roads are at fault. Was the driver operating his vehicle at a speed low enough that he can stop for emergencies? If not, then the driver is at fault. The senseless slaughter of children and other vulnerable road users continues every day, but the blame is always shifted to them rather than placed where it firmly belongs.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

he must have hit the girl’s bike as he was overtaking the group, which was riding on his left

I witness this every other day. Most drivers take a great distance (even way more than the neccessary) when overtaking pedestrians and cyclists especially on those roads without sidewalks and that's awesome. But I also witness drivers passing inches from these people as if its nothing, in 99% of the cases there is plenty of space to swerve a little bit but these people are psychopats/sociopaths, they might even look in the mirror to check out if the pedestrian got scaried enough. This alone could justify an immediate license suspension for a few days to teach these people to respect peoples lives. Not sure if this is the case here, but the chances are pretty high.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

there is hardly any room to swing a cat in most Japanese urban areas. Odawara actually has a fair amount of pavements in the centre of the city but the suburbs are just as squeezed as anywhere else. I have no idea where in Japan you have been that can fit chicanes, speed bumps and cycle lanes that are separated from the road...

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Honestly, when I pass a group of little kids riding bikes on the street, I slow down and give extra room since they're unpredictable and swervy. This is what this truck driver should have done too. "I must've hit the girl," isn't a sign of someone paying much attention.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

I have no idea where in Japan you have been that can fit chicanes, speed bumps and cycle lanes that are separated from the road...

Simple, make the streets one-way. In my area the streets have no pavements, no cycle lanes, nothing, but each one is two-way. Everything is done for the convenience of the car drivers and their deadly polluting machines, and nothing is done for those walking and on bikes.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

If there is a law against passing people, then the truck driver is 100% to blame, although I'm guessing there was little space for the kids to ride. If not, though, it's hard to say without knowing more. When I'm in the car for my partner and we pass an elderly person or kids on bikes, even though we're going pretty slow and being careful, it can be nail biting because they ride like they are drunk; push down with the right foot, bike swerves a foot right. Push down with the left and they swerve left. And have you seen kids riding single file? I rarely do. It's usually a group of kids riding so poorly they sometimes crash into each other. It's entirely possible the poor little girl -- sans helmet -- swerved right in front of the truck at exactly the wrong time. But of course, the driver will take the blame.

Or, maybe the driver was being completely careless. We don't know enough.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Suspicion?

She's either dead or not dead

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I witness this every other day. Most drivers take a great distance (even way more than the neccessary) when overtaking pedestrians and cyclists especially on those roads without sidewalks and that's awesome. But I also witness drivers passing inches from these people as if its nothing, in 99% of the cases there is plenty of space to swerve a little bit but these people are psychopats/sociopaths, they might even look in the mirror to check out if the pedestrian got scaried enough. This alone could justify an immediate license suspension for a few days to teach these people to respect peoples lives. Not sure if this is the case here, but the chances are pretty high.

This.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Not being there to see what happened and seeing no evidence from a credible witness I'll reserve judgement and not even speculate. The article doesn't even define "truck"; K truck or 10 ton tipper?

This arrogant ignorance is to be expected:

El RataToday  09:20 am JST

Why is a person over the age of 60 still driving let alone professionally?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Who leave a baby of 6 y.o. ride the bike near the street or road ?

Who drive a car or truck doesn't respect the people walking or riding a bike , nobody care !

Don't stay near the road . R.I.P.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

to be Pedestrian in japan is a survival game

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Terrible tragedy. The cars and trucks in Tokyo often speed up when swerving around pedestrians or bicycles to avoid oncoming traffic. Also, when there is an illegally parked car blocking my way as a pedestrian or on a bicycle, I notice that cars in both directions often assume that the pedestrian or bicycle should stop and wait and will not give any extra room when the pedestrian or bicycle is forced out into the street to go around a parked car.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Terrible tragedy. The cars and trucks in Tokyo often speed up when swerving around pedestrians or bicycles to avoid oncoming traffic. Also, when there is an illegally parked car blocking my way as a pedestrian or on a bicycle, I notice that cars in both directions often assume that the pedestrian or bicycle should stop and wait and will not give any extra room when the pedestrian or bicycle is forced out into the street to go around a parked car.

Some of these sociopaths can only remind me of those horses with blinders, I don't think you need advanced maths to figure out the bicycle/motorcycle in front of you is going to turn around the parked car blocking their way, but I think this is asking way too much, some even honk as if they got caught by surprise. Again, horse blinders.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Is there no proper law in Japan? Arent all people who get their driving license taught the rules and laws before they are permitted to drive? Cant pedestrians/bikers call the police and sue car drivers for a dangerous ride?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The cars and trucks in Tokyo often speed up when swerving around pedestrians or bicycles to avoid oncoming traffic. Also, when there is an illegally parked car blocking my way as a pedestrian or on a bicycle, I notice that cars in both directions often assume that the pedestrian or bicycle should stop and wait and will not give any extra room when the pedestrian or bicycle is forced out into the street to go around a parked car.

Its about this

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Accidents happen. I see them once or twice a week. Just be careful. Helmets are like vaccines, caregivers choice. But 38 degrees ridding a bike with a face mask, helmet and school backpack the same weight as you…

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I witness this every other day. Most drivers take a great distance (even way more than the neccessary) when overtaking pedestrians and cyclists especially on those roads without sidewalks and that's awesome. But I also witness drivers passing inches from these people as if its nothing, in 99% of the cases there is plenty of space to swerve a little bit but these people are psychopats/sociopaths, they might even look in the mirror to check out if the pedestrian got scaried enough. This alone could justify an immediate license suspension for a few days to teach these people to respect peoples lives. Not sure if this is the case here, but the chances are pretty high.

100% agree, finally rich. There are definitely a noticeable number of drivers (especially taxi drivers, in my personal pedestrian experience) who seem eager to drive as close as possible to pedestrians while speeding up. Whether to scare them or possibly hit them, I have no idea, but it seems sociopathic indeed.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

First thing I noticed about Japan was the lack of sidewalks. how many unnecessary deaths has that caused? Another thing I noticed was that the cars didn’t really slow down even though you’re walking on the side of the road. I thought they must have some amazing depth perception.

this is the difference between the US and Japan: U.S. drivers are more careful because of the tort system. Just a feeling I got as a pedestrian and as a cyclist in both countries

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The driver is 100% responsible for killing the little girl. No details of the accident and no witnesses are needed. A driver has the obligation to keep a distance of at least two meters from a pedestrian or a bike on the road. Moreover, If you see little riders ahead of you slow down or stop and be extra careful. The driver said ''I thought I hit a bicycle'' Yes bloody old jiji you did.

Now spend a few years in jail and never drive again.

RIP little one.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Sad to say the little girl is dead and the old man 73 years old can't remember!

"Sanpei was quoted by police as saying he must have hit the girl’s bike as he was overtaking the group, which was riding on his left".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Kids under 4th grade aren’t allowed to ride their bike alone without an adult supervision!! The no helmet although isn’t mentioned, but I see kids mostly not wearing a helmet.

We don’t know whose fault it was exactly and in Japan it’s always the driver who is arrested, guilty until proven otherwise.

I would also question the parents though. Where were they? Letting a 6yo ride without supervision?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I see kids on a bicycle and I slow right down-why not?

The constant desire to be on time in Japan does not bode well on the streets where there are vulnerable people.

The cops need to to do more in Japan than hang around stop signs and begin to enforce other road laws!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Maybe a 73 years old company employee should be first, able to retire with decent pension, or at least not assign to a truck driver position...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some of the comments here are so stupid. The driver is ALWAYS at fault. Drivers should be vigilant all of the time, because they are the ones operating deadly machinery. Especially when they are driving near a group of children. Of course, the girl should have been wearing a helmet, but the truck driver should have been taking every single precaution at every single second of their journey to ensure no accidents happened. Unless the little girl was cycling into traffic in the middle of an expressway there is no excuse.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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