crime

Truck driver arrested after hitting and killing girl at intersection

42 Comments

Police said Friday they have arrested a truck driver after his vehicle struck and killed a 17-year-old schoolgirl on her bike in Moriya, Ibaraki Prefecture.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 11 a.m. on Thursday. TBS reported that the girl, identified as Miku Usui, was on her way home from school after taking an exam. The traffic light turned green at the intersection and as she was riding on the pedestrian crossing, the truck, driven by Toshiki Fukuhara, 47, turned left and hit her. Usui was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Fukuhara was later charged with negligent driving resulting in death.

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42 Comments
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RIP. there must be a better way to manage intersections so these accidents happen less. Not sure which but it seems to be heavy vehicles with big blind spots.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Sad. As the story says, the girl crossed the road on a green light, the truck driver turned left, would also have been on a green light. Yes he should have looked, but the logic of pedestrians and vehicles having green light at the same time has always puzzled me here.

Not difficult to change that, surely would save lives, just a little time lost for someones journey.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Often the green pedestrian crossing light is not visible from inside the high cab of a truck turning. Recently after a run of such accidents here outside a nearby hospital they moved the pedestrian light way up the pole to about 15 feet high. How such truck drivers can see pedestrians beats me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If you can't see, you must stop or slow down to a speed such that an accident won't occur.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

a very unfortunate accident, the girl was riding a bicycle and therefore the reaction time for the driver was even shorter. a moment of negligence and two lives are destroyed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Pedestrians should never have to compete with vehicles for a piece of real estate that can be managed by traffic lights.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

in a country that has 2 or 3 guys waving flashy light sticks telling you you can walk around a highly visible, coned off area on the pavement, the lack of road safety at pedestrian crossings and intersections here totally baffles me. RIP

3 ( +4 / -1 )

RIP :( So unfortunate... i've been on the receiving end of this too, with taxi.. they stopped almost hitting me and yelled at ME for crossing the pedestrian road on a GREEN LIGHT and he was turning left..

this should be addressed properly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm not sure she should have been in the pedestrian cross walk area. A bicyclist is required to ride on the road with the flow of traffic and obey all the traffic rules. Only elementary school-aged children and those 60 and over may ride on bicycles and then they must "walk" there bicycles across the pedestrian crosswalk. Still, this is a very sad story. Yes, two lives destroyed. I feel sorry for both of them, but I must say, at least here in Okinawa, truck drivers are mean and vicious! I will not comment on this case because I was not there and did not see what happened. Wow. Rest in Peace young lady.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Correction "Only those 60 and over may ride on "sidewalks" ...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Riding a bike across a pedestrian crossing? There's your problem...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

this happens way too often, drivers looking at the light only, not the road

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I don't know what the heck the rules are like here in Japan (after all, this is a country which has zebra crossings and yet hardly any cars stop for pedestrians), but where I come from, drivers ALWAYS have to look when they're turning left, even when the lights are green - and they only have the right of way if the traffic light is specifically for turning left (ie arrow, not a round light).

A bicyclist is required to ride on the road with the flow of traffic and obey all the traffic rules.

In my country too, but that's not what I see here. I was nearly run over by a cyclist when crossing the road because he thought the red light only applied to cars and that I had no right to cross, even when the pedestrian lights are green. I wish I was a brick wall at that time.

they must "walk" there bicycles across the pedestrian crosswalk.

The girl would still be dead.

Often the green pedestrian crossing light is not visible from inside the high cab of a truck turning.

Most Japanese drivers DON'T CARE whether the pedestrian crossing light is green or not. This comes from personal experience, over and over again.

This is just one of a long list of problems with Japanese drivers - they think it's perfectly fine to stick a baby or dog's head out of the window, or to carry a baby on the lap while driving, or letting small kids stand up from the front seat (forget about seat belts), or ignore stop signs, or use a mobile while driving and turning. I've seen it all, and more.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I've read a lot of news like this here on JT, and makes me wonder as to why these happen. Well, I live here in central Tokyo, and I always ride my bicycle everyday, on early mornings and late evenings at that, and not once did I ever see a car driver turning left or right on ANY kind of intersection prioritizing him/herself over the pedestrians. They would turn but would really slow down and would completely stop until the very last pedestrian makes his/her way across. I know that there are a lot of people in Tokyo and the streets are always filled with people that is why it would be impossible not to notice pedestrians/cyclists crossing, but as far as my observation is concerned, drivers here are way too cautious on intersections, always assuming that there are pedestrians. I really feel sorry for this girl for having to cross paths with such an irresponsible driver.

RIP young lady.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm so sick of seeing truck drivers doing everything but drive, - phones, nav system, stock updated on tablets, counting change, READING BOOKS, WATCHING TV, etc, they think red lights and traffic rules don't apply to them, at least on roué 6. I'm sure they got there licenses from a pack of 2 minute ramen.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Not a surprise the way some of these pedestrian trust on drivers to look after them. I do not cross until I make an contact with the driver and I can see that he or she saw me.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I really feel sorry for this girl for having to cross paths with such an irresponsible driver.

You've never driven a truck then, blind spots are called that for a reason.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I feel so sorry for her parents, they must have had a heart attack when they found out. Death is mankinds worst enemy. coming home from an exam and then this happens, soooooo sad!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is it legal to ride a bike across a pedestrian crossing? Why was the driver charged for negligence if the bicycle was illegally in the crossing? There are near misses like this daily in Tokyo...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Truck driver kills another child in Japan? Must be Friday...

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Avigator:

I do not cross until I make an contact with the driver and I can see that he or she saw me.

Has any driver stopped even if you had priority at a crosswalk and you made an eye contact? Because it has happened only once to me in three years and the driver was a she-gaijin!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As one who drives in Japan, I have very rarely seen a cyclist actually get off their bicycle and walk it across a pedestrian walk. Drivers have to be extremely careful. It seems that cyclists here believe they have the rights of both pedestrian and vehicle driver. That all being said, my heart goes out to this young girl and her family. How heartbreaking.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

May she Rest in Peace. Her family must be devastated. I hope the drive shows some remorse.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As a cyclist I see people crossing while playing on their phone. They hear the signal but don't even look up, much less both ways before they just step into the street. Do they not teach look both ways before crossing a street here ever?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why are so many of you so quick to blame the truck driver. Why do you assume that he caused the accident? The only one who broke the law according to the article above is the girl on the bicycle.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why are so many of you so quick to blame the truck driver. Why do you assume that he caused the accident? The only one who broke the law according to the article above is the girl on the bicycle.

USNinJapan2 - read the article again. She was crossing the street in the pedestrian crossing on a green light. He was turning left and didn't yield.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

RIP. The bike helmet laws should be for all ages not just 13 and under.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

hoserfella

The traffic light turned green at the intersection and as she was riding on the pedestrian crossing...

The girl was riding her bicycle on the sidewalk and across the pedestrian crosswalk instead of on the roadway with all other vehicles as stipulated by Japanese law. That's the only indisputably illegal act contained in the account of the accident as reported in this article. I suggest YOU read the article again.

Furthermore, this 17 year-old girl would have been required to ride her bicycle on the left side of the road outboard of vehicles, not on the sidewalk, according to the Japanese Dourohou/Road Law. When a bicycle comes to an intersection it is required to yield to pedestrians and ALL OTHER VEHICLES that may be crossing its path, coming to a complete stop if needed. In other words, had this girl been riding along the road as required by law, she would have had to yield to the truck making a left turn in front of her. Do you still not see that the root cause of this accident is the girl on the bicycle and that she would be alive and well today had she not chosen to ignore established road laws?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

USinJapan2 is correct.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

USinJapan2: if she would have been driven on the road, she would have never reached the age of 17th!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

USinJapan2 is correct.

No it's a stupid reasoning. The point is that the driver turned left and killed someone who was on the crossing, which was logically green lit too. Whatever she was doing, whatever she was riding is irrelevant. If you suddenly decide to stab to death someone and learn later that the person was shoplifiing something at that time, does it make your criminal act right ?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

USNinJapan - wrong. All traffic has to yield for pedestrians, cyclists etc. Thats the rules of the road 101 and thats why the idiot truck driver was arrested.

Fukuhara was later charged with negligent driving resulting in death.

why dont you make your way to Ibaraki and tell the cops there you know better?

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Bokatr No. Your analogy is ridiculous. This truck driver did not "decide" to hit the cyclist. He accidentally hit her after she put herself in danger by breaking the law. It's illegal to ride your bicycle across a crossing because it is sometimes basically impossible to stop your car when a bicycle appears cutting in front of you going as fast (or even faster) than a car. I am assuming you don't drive a car (in Japan). I have countless times been faced with this situation and am always shocked at the blatant disregard these cyclists have for their own safety. Cyclists are expected to get off their bicycles and walk across the pedestrian walk because it is the law and in in the best interest of their safety.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Disputing this in a legal sense...if you break the law which was established to prevent cyclists from using the pedestrian crossings thereby creating a "hazard" there should be a legal argument for the driver in this case. Cyclists should stop at the lights along with the automobile drivers to prevent the "chaos" that is negotiating a left hand turn in this country. Road laws were established for a reason, not so cyclists could pick and choose which rules to follow and expect the automobile drivers to acquiesce.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Horsefella

Rules of the road In Japan

Bikes can be ridden on sidewalks when indicated by the "Bicycles and Pedestrians" sign but pedestrians technically have the right of way.

When crossing the road (where most bicycle accidents happen) It is illegal to ride a bicycle through a pedestrian crossing even if that crossing connects two pedestrian walkways, both of which permit bicyclists. Pedestrian Crossing Zone By law, one can not ride a bicycle on a pedestrian crossing even if that crossing connects two pedestrians walks both of which permits bicycle riding. You must get off your bicycle and push it across. Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing Zone You can either walk or ride your bicycle across. Bicycle Crossing Zone Crossing only for bicycles.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

bokatr

No it's a stupid reasoning.

No, it's simply the law.

The point is that the driver turned left and killed someone who was on the crossing, which was logically green lit too.

No, the point is that the girl on the bicycle should not have been in the crosswalk to begin with. Under the road law a bicycle is treated the same as a motorcycle. If a motorcyclist had been hit by the truck while crossing in a crosswalk we would obviously agree that he was doing something illegal, riding where he was prohibited by law to ride, and was the cause of the accident. This is no different.

If you suddenly decide to stab to death someone and learn later that the person was shoplifiing something at that time, does it make your criminal act right ?

Bad analogy. Because the location of the bicycle is the critical factor here, a more apt analogy would be if you shot someone who you found on your property without your knowledge or consent you may still be deemed liable for his death but it doesn't change the fact that the individual was trespassing illegally and his very illegal and unjustifiable presence at the scene was the cause of root cause of his death.

Look at it another way. IF the girl had survived the collision with only injuries, in addition to charging the truck with negligence (because vehicles in Japan are always partly at fault for ANY collision with pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.), the police would have been obligated according to the Road Traffic Laws to also charge her with improper operation of a vehicle. In this case she unfortunately didn't survive so the driver of the truck is left responsible for it all.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

According to Japanese Road Traffic Laws, the girl on the bicycle should have:

1) First and foremost, been riding on the left had side of the road alongside vehicles. 2) Come to a complete stop at the intersection and yielded to the truck turning left before crossing the intersection in the vehicle lane, not the pedestrian crosswalk.

In the improbable case that the sidewalks there were designated as shared-use for pedestrians and cyclists, she should have gotten off her bicycle at the crosswalk and pushed it across on foot at the same general speed as pedestrians.

If she had followed the law and done these things it's highly probable that this accident would not have occurred.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

USNinJapan2

Good posts. basically under-passing a turning vehicle is illegal. Doesn't matter if you are riding or driving don't underpass on corners.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The traffic light turned green at the intersection and as she was riding on the pedestrian crossing, the truck, driven by Toshiki Fukuhara, 47, turned left and hit her

Oh, But Full Speed Ahead on Bicycle Riders... Never Mind Wanton Reckless Trucks, Buses and Cars!

Here Reason Number 10,025 WHY Motor Vehicles KILL, NOT Bicycles..

RIP Little one...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

1) First and foremost, been riding on the left had side of the road alongside vehicles. 2) Come to a complete stop at the intersection and yielded to the truck turning left before crossing the intersection in the vehicle lane, not the pedestrian crosswalk.

What the xxxx you talking about...? PEDESTRIANS (Including NON-MOTORIZED Bicycles!!!) ALWAYS, REPEAT ALWAYS Have The Right Of Way...!!!

This is something that gets Lost in the Japanese Drivers Head...

They Need to start Putting these Fools in Jail... You steer Clear of Pedestrians... PERIOD!!!

Of Course, Of Course and Of Course It's ONLY GOOD Common-Sense, if you are Walking or Riding a Bike, to Look Both Ways Before you Cross a Street, BUT The Driver Is Bound BY LAW To Yield The Right of Way to The PEDESTRIAN... This Doesn't Mean You can Just walk out into the Street and expect all lanes of traffic to come to a Screeching Halt, of course NOT, but if You are walking or riding near an Intersection, Roadway, I.E... Anywhere, that Pedestrians are Authorized (Except where Pedestrians ARE NOT Authorize I.E ... Highways, Freeways, ect...) Motor Vehicles MUST Yield the Right Of Way to Pedestrian Traffic!!!

This isn't Law of the Open Seas where the Largest Vessel gets the default Right of Way...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Chin4Sailor

According to the Japanese Road Traffic Law, a bicycle ridden by a 17 year-old is considered a vehicle which must be operated on the road and not on the sidewalk/crosswalk. Furthermore, such a bicycle on the road, as a vehicle, must come to a complete stop at an intersection and yield to all other vehicles, particularly those making left turns in front of it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

USNinJapan

Except there are other laws which make it quite clear that pedestrians and bicyclists in Japan have the right of way regardless of whether they are following road rules or not.

A bicyclist could be rolling up a one way street in the wrong direction with no light and if the person hits a car...The car driver gets the burden of the blame. No questions asked.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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