Truck driver arrested over hit-and-run death of motorcyclist


Police said Friday they have arrested a truck driver after his vehicle hit a motorcyclist in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward, killing him.

According to police, the incident occurred just after 7 a.m. on Thursday. Witnesses said the motorcyclist, identified as Nobuaki Suzuki, 35, swerved to avoid a taxi stopping suddenly on National Route 17 and fell off the bike. He was then hit by an 11-ton truck driven by Kenji Atsukawa, 58, TV Asahi reported.

Atsukawa kept going and about one hour later, he appeared at a police station in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, saying that he may have hit someone.

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Yep, sounds like an accidental hit followed by an intentional run. Terrible for all involved.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I hope this bastard TAXI driver is also arrested, since many of these taxi drivers here in Japan are just the most careless, pathetic excuse for drivers, and this bastards ALWAYS pull out into heavy traffic with out any warnings, as in this case getting the motorcycle driver killed by the 11 ton truck which had NO WAY to suddenly stop. I feel very sorry for the truck driver, no way for a huge truck to avoid a person falling in front of you, this was all caused by the bastard taxi driver, but let me cool down here, I also know how stupid many of the people riding motorcycles in Japan are, if this motorcycle guy was riding way too close to the taxi and the taxi suddenly stopped?? Then this guy was asking for it since we all know how stupid taxi drivers in Japan can be.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

11 ton trucks take a long time to stop, however he probably would have felt the bump and should have stopped.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Agree with Elbuda in the main, but if it was a motorcycle and not a scooter... Well, what I mean to say is a 35 year old motorcyclist, not scooter rider is probably one of your best road users out there, for two reasons - one, they've probably got a decent bike and don't want it totaled, and more importantly, two, because a 35yr old motorcyclist no longer has that recklessness of youth, and is very aware of how vulnerable a road user they are. Just look for yourselves next time you're out. It's only young guys on sports bikes and (woefully untrained) scooter riders who ride so recklessly. It is peculiar that he was in a position where he couldn't brake properly, nor had room to merge safely.

Taxi "drivers" in Japan need taking to one side and given a good hard shake by the scruff of the neck. They SHOULD be the best drivers out there with there advanced training and experience, but somehow they are the worst. When out on my bike (motor & push) I hang back from taxi drivers as they are so unpredictably reckless.

The truck driver here panicked. He probably had no chance of stopping in all likelyhood, especially if he was adjacent in the next lane. However, that's not to condone his initial fleeing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I feel bad for the truck least he did the right thing and turned himself in.

I agree that the taxi driver should share in the responsibility. He should at least be charged for reckless driving.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The truck driver should be charged for not reporting the accident immediately and for leaving the scene, but there's no way any sane person can blame him for the motorcyclist's death. Trucks take a long time to stop and the motorcyclist swerved directly into the path of his vehicle. There's nothing the truck driver could have done to avoid the accident.

My bet is that the reason the truck driver didn't stop is because of the idiotic law that assumes that the driver is automatically responsible for everyone else'actions (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, etc). If the law was different and allowed for drivers to be cleared of charges where there was nothing they could do to avoid the accident then perhaps people would stop after accidents.

The law needs reform.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Mirai, he didn't do the right thing - the right thing would have been to stop, get out and check on the biker!

Japan really, really needs to do something about their hit and run issues.

And yes, taxi's suddenly stopping... I get they have to sometimes but all too often I have seen it happen and accidents have just been missed.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@Elbuda Mexicano this is the ONLY time I have agreed with ANYTHING you have posted on this site. and you are 100% right, but it will never happen. I am an avid motorcyclist and have toured the entire country. Every wreck I have almost been in is because of something like that and on top of that TAXI drivers are the WORST drivers in the country. They have one of the hardest drivers licenses in the world to get, but you would never know it from their driving. This is how the majority of Japan drives: a turn is coming up, break EXTREMELY hard and fast, turn, then turn your blinker on.

For the most part I feel safer driving in Japan, but the laws here and drivers are still terrible. I was hit going straight (in my car) on a street, and someone ran a stop sign and hit me. I had to share 20% of the blame becuaes my car was in motion. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? how was that my fault at all? They will give you a 10man speeding ticket for going 11mph over the speed limit, but how many people get tickets for holding their babies in their lap, letting their kids stand up in the seat, reading a newspaper while driving, watching TV or using a cell phone while driving? whats the fine? nothing because they never arrest you for any of those things. the things that acutlly cause wrecks. (do I even have to bring up drunk driving. There are half as many drivers in japan as the USA. do you think the number of drunk driving deaths is half as well? nope! is more like 30% less. which if you take into account the lower avearge speed in japan as well, this statistic is APALLING! Japan should FAR FAR less per capita drunk driving deaths and they dont!)

What happened to this guy is basically my worst fear on the motorcycle, beucase its so common. When I tour, and do about 400km a day. I average about 10 to 20 close calls A DAY!!! All of them are because because someone just stops with out warning, pull out into traffic with out looking, run red lights, merge with out looking. The ONLY saving grace in japan is they drive slower than snails stuck in a pile of salt. IF you ask me the TAXI driver is more to blame than the truck driver. I can totaly sympathize with him waiting an hour to turn himself in. I am sure he would be freaked out. He was probably in shock, and it took him and hour, but he did the right thing. That taxi driver doesnt even realize he didnt anything wrong, and even if they tell him, he wont even care.

lets not forget, they dont use their lights un less its past 7pm. I have driven in fog and typhoons and people dont use their lights because it isnt night time. its amazing.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

It's certainly true that there are wild drivers of all sorts here in Japan. Scooters, motorcycles and vehicles of all sorts. As a scooter rider and car driver, I see all sorts of dangerous moves on the road evey day. However, it seems like a Japanese standard to avoid checking if the person hit on the road could be helped or not. And by turning oneself over to the cops later, you can avoid punishment or some sort. If the truck driver thought he'd hit someone, why didn't he stop to confirm whether the person needed an ambulance? All that being said, Japanese traffic is conciderably heavier than in the US generally. There are good drivers here and the worst as in every country. There are more traffic lights than may be necessary and this can in itself cause frustration to drivers who want to make the light before it changes. One more point to think about. I wonder if anyone who had witnessed the accident called the cops to report the truck barrelling away from the scene.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very happy somebody agreed with me, but that is not my point, we do not have to agree or disagree with each other, even though that just comes with the territory, but back to this accident, Japan, many of it's drivers are in too much of a hurry, to distracted by their cellphones, stereos, tvs, DVD etc..all while trying to drive from point A to point B and, it is only a matter of time before going from point A to point B will get you in a horrible accident, dead or wishing one was better off dead than being in a wheel chair for the rest of one's life, so better for us to look both ways and always be ready to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by some idiot fool taxi driver etc..RIP motorcycle dude

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mirai, he didn't do the right thing - the right thing would have been to stop, get out and check on the biker!

Yes, he shouldn't have fled the scene, but at least returned which is the right thing to do. I have been a victim of hit and run before, and it took months to hunt down the suspect. The natural reaction is to take your chances and run, but most likely you will be found, so its always best to be courageous and stay at the scene.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I also ride a bike and have had hundreds of close calls, mainly because of taxis suddenly pulling over and stopping. They are the bane of the road. Inevitably, when you see an accident has happened you can bet your bottom dollar there will be either a scooter or a taxi involved, usually both; young scooter drivers drive recklessly, as do taxi drivers, and ever the twain shall meet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everyday I drive around Tokyo, and every day I am surprised at just how stupid some people can be, crappy little scooters trying to catch up to traffic so they ride as CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to a truck full speed, so when this car, truck etc..STOPS, the idiot fool on his crappy little scooter will smash into that vehicle, this must be illegal and the Japanese POLICE need to catch these fools and take away their driver licenses or just BAN all these crappy little scooters off the roads of Japan. I know this accident was not a scooter and the guy that got killed was on a bigger bike, but if you do drive in Japan, for god's sakes keep your distance from these fools on crappy little scooters and many of these fools do not even bother to turn on their HEAD LIGHTS AT NIGHT in heavy rain, just perfect to get hit and killed, what are these idiot fools thinking??

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The natural reaction is to take your chances and run, but most likely you will be found, so its always best to be courageous and stay at the scene.

Um, perhaps in Japan it is because of the rules. Hit and run is rare in many other countries and I think the natural reaction is to stop and get out to check and see if whatever you hit it okay.

Excellent post Robert - why moms will babies on laps, non-seat belt wearing, watching TV... people aren't fined is beyond me.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@ Robert Dykes... I offed my bike because of this very thing! Here it's women drivers on cell phones in a hurry! Everyday I witness close calls! Get it? I have been cruising down a street and see a woman looking straight at me with a phone to her ear! Waiting and then deciding she can make it! I'm already on the brakes! A several hundred pound bike is no match for any auto! I've lost 2 friends and an Aunt from just such stupidity! Many drivers don't understand the force of a ton or so hitting something at even moderate speeds! Or getting hit in the side by a motorcycle at 40 mph! Geez!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Motorcyclists have told us there are 2 types of motorcyclists: those who have fallen, and those who will fall off their bikes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Even if he didn't run, just the same he would be done. Fly away or be a man, makes no difference in Japan. The one who hits gets the guilt, from end to end, tip to hilt. Even though he could not dodge, witless cops are on the job! He will get a jaily jail, and a jobby job as well. Thus we endeth the lesson, when in Japan run run run!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had to share 20% of the blame becuaes my car was in motion.

I was parked in a metered parking slot on a street when some lady hit me from behind while she was trying to pass another car on the wrong side. I was awarded 10% fault for being there. Go figure!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have a solution for this taking the blame for someone else's dumb driving. DONT. Tell your insurance company you will deal with it yourself. And then tell the insurance company of the driver at fault to take a long walk off a short pier. They will back down. It has happened to me twice.

First time my car was parked in a parking lot and DB1 (Dumb bitch 1) tried to rip my bumper off by pulling out in full steering lock. She ended up wearing all the bills plus a loaner. Second time DB2 pulled out of a parking lot and hit my rear bumper from the right side. This time was not as easy as both she and her insurance company tried really hard to screw me. I had shouting matches on the phone with these idiots and eventually after it became apparent I would not back down they took the full blame.

So my advice is just not to take shit. And dont believe the "IN JAPAN WE DO IT THIS WAY" crap. Tell them to get stuffed. If you are lucky like me and have a camera in the car at the time TAKE PICS AND VIDEO as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I agree - the taxi driver needs to be held accountable for too. I feel sorry for the truck driver - there was really no way of avoiding it.

While I can see how some of you are saying the truck driver should have stopped to check to see if the guy was alright, given that he was driving a 11-ton truck, maybe he didn't see the guy. That could totally be a possibility and the reason why it took him an hour to "turn himself in" after debating in his head if he hit someTHING or someONE.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I feel sorry for the truck driver, it would be very easy for him to miss seeing the rider after he came off. Yes maybe he should have stopped straight away, maybe he didnt even realise that he had hit a person. who knows but no doubt this being Japan he will be charged with some totally ridiculous manslaughter charge and all because the cab driver had a smidsy moment and caused the rider to come off.

That being said, scooter and motorcycle riders here in Japan are absolute lunatics and its a wonder more arnt killed. And l say that as a motorcyclist and driver myself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lucky for him he hit a full grown man who fell of his bike, because if he hit a 9 year old girl who fell off her bike, many would accuse him of speeding, drinking, texting, not paying attention, being epileptic etc.

The gender and age of the victim seems to change everything. I just have no idea how!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry Namby, but it is just natural to feel more sorry for younger victims, right?? Small children, etc..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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