crime

Truck hits bike carrying woman, 8-month-old son; infant dies

53 Comments

An 8-month-old boy died after the bicycle he and his 37-year-old mother were riding on was hit by a truck in Tokyo on Thursday.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. in Setagaya Ward. The truck, driven by Akinori Mimura, 54, was turning left at a T-junction when it hit the bicycle crossing the road, Fuji TV reported. The woman had her son strapped to her chest in a baby sling and both were flung from the bicycle by the impact.

The baby was taken to hospital in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest but died on Thursday night. His mother suffered serious injuries but is in a stable condition.

Police have arrested Mimura on suspicion of dangerous driving resulting in death and injury.

© Japan Today

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53 Comments
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I pity the driver, in many cases bicycles are ridden at high speed onto cross walks in Japan not giving the driver a chance to react.

Bicycle riders need to dismount when crossing roads here or the loss of life will continue needlessly.

18 ( +32 / -14 )

Was there a marked crossing? Were there streetlights? If so, who had the red and who the green?

Motor vehicles should have little to no place in urban areas,

How would the businesses and residents in such areas get supplies like food, water, merchandize, etc? Employ human porters to carry the goods on their backs? That would be quaint, in a medieval kind of way.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

I never blindly trust cars when crossing. Always watching if someone is really stopping or yielding

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Yet another left turn where both pedestrians and cyclist going straight have a green light while vehicles turning left also have a green light.

The reason is to give the former more time to cross. All it does is get more of them killed.

So much for the "safety country with four seasons."

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I'm fairly certain it is illegal to cycle with a baby in carry bag.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Vehicles should not be allowed to go through the crossing when the pedestrians are crossing regardless of if people are there or not, that is the rule in the UK. It's crazy here that cars are weaving around people crossing the road. I live in Setagaya-ku and it is very dangerous. This is a direct result of that rule.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

I never trust being so close to cars driving far too quickly next to pedestrians, I don’t get the impression drivers care enough about the potential for accidents..

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I don't know all the facts, but I have seen how cyclists just turn from the pavement and cross the road without checking the traffic. And, it takes time for a truck to stop.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Mr KiplingToday  05:34 pm JST

Yet another left turn where both pedestrians and cyclist going straight have a green light while vehicles turning left also have a green light.

The reason is to give the former more time to cross. All it does is get more of them killed.

So much for the "safety country with four seasons."

Does that junction have traffic lights or a light controlled crossing? Were you there to see what happened?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I never cross the roads until I know the vehicle will stop. Crazy how much cyclists just rush across with no cares in the world.

Tokyo-m:

Motor vehicles should have little to no place in urban areas

What planet are you living on? Planet Lliliput?

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Many people are writing about pedestrians but this unfortunate woman was not a pedestrian, she was a cyclist. There is not enough information in this article about the junction to make any suggestions as to what may have happened or who was right or wrong.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Tragic. But I'm also surprised it doesn't happen more often. The amount of reckless behavior I see from both drivers and cyclists in Tokyo is astounding.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Without commenting on this case specifically, the cavalier bicycle riding I see in Japan is shocking, and it amazes me that a country that loves rules so much is so lax about rules surrounding bicycles and safety.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

@Fuzzy,

Couldn't agree more.

The recklessness on display here is insane.

It is a surprise,and I mean a real surprise,if a cyclist even looks left or right while joining a flow of traffic even going with the flow or facing oncoming vehicles.

Nowadays with all of the power-assisted bicycles that parents are riding nowadays I feel that the number of accidents will quadruple.

Faster and heavier bikes with a lack of awareness for road safety is a disaster waiting to happen.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Recklessness on both sides, I gather. I've seen the way cyclists ride their bikes here - no checking when they turn corners or cross the street. It's rather frightening actually, the lack of care and attention they pay to their surroundings.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Without commenting on this case specifically, the cavalier bicycle riding I see in Japan is shocking, and it amazes me that a country that loves rules so much is so lax about rules surrounding bicycles and safety.

This. All of this.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Pedistrian safety have to be nr. 1 priority even they make mistakes. But in JP is very sick mentality that cars are god of the streets and pedistrians are just try to survive around.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

There are too many pedestrians and cyclists who are too lazy to enter the crossings correctly. I have been driving in Japan for 30 years and every day someone will take a short cut before the actual crossing when I am turning left. It never happens when turning right as you can see a person actually on the crossing and in your line of sight. It is straight out laziness not to walk a few more steps and start crossing on the actual marked crossing.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

HarryGatto...

Does that junction have traffic lights or a light controlled crossing? Were you there to see what happened?

No I wasn't there but 35 years driving in Japan has shown me that virtually every junction in Setagaya has traffic lights and they all have the same sequence, green man on for pedestrians and bicycles while its also green for vehicles turning left. Green does NOT mean go. It means proceed with caution. But as so often happens cyclists and pedestrians meet a vehicle turning. Guess who comes off worse? Easy remedy, when one is green the other is red. The UK has this system and far fewer junction accidents of this nature.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Very sad and tragic, at 37 chances are she may not be able to have a child again after this accident, I wish her a fast and full recovery, as for the baby a very short life is a heartbreaker , RIP little one.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Absolutely tragic for all involved. The terrible grief and PTSD the mother will suffer for years. The regret & remorse the driver must have for this presumed accident. - “Rest in Peace, little one” and “Condolences” offered to the grieving families.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It doesn’t say anywhere in the article that she had right of way. For all we know she woman decided to ride across the crossing after the signal to cross had turned red. There is no indication on how exactly he hit her. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for them, many Japan today posters have magic esp that allows them to use their ‘ mind’s eye’ to see what us mere mortals cannot. We have , with reference to this article, not enough evidence to point the finger of blame at either party.

we all know, however, how badly cyclists here disregard traffic laws that apply equally to them.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Anyone aware of any formal training students in Japan receive about basic rules of the road ? -

It appears Japan’s avid ‘cycling enthusiasts & athletes’, like in most developed countries, take significant precautions to keep themselves & others safe when riding near or within traffic, and make significant efforts to purchase & maintain the proper equipment.

In contrast, it appears the average Japanese junior student and errand-running mothers ‘on bicycles’ seem to forget/no longer care about the basic navigating & crossing rules they are so obviously taught in their primary school years.

Also of note here, motorized scooter riders are the most aggressive in all kinds of traffic and the absolute worst offenders of all traffic signs and signals.

The only riders that still earn respect are those elderly women that routinely dismount, look both ways, cross only when it’s allowed/safe and then remount their bikes to continue on the way. (Must be the generation and/or the focus of social education in the past.)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Every single morning I see kids cycling to school wearing headphones (and no helmets) - and it makes my stomach turn.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is really tragic.

I in no way want to seem like I am blaming the mother, but this really does illustrate why you absolutely must not carry an infant that young while riding a bike. They are too small to wear helmets and their necks are extremely vulnerable. Even without the truck crash just falling off your bike while carrying an 8 month old in a sling poses a serious risk of death.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

As a driver it frightens me when I see a mother with two and sometimes three kids on her bicycle hurrying to some urgent destination. Many seem to believe they are in some magical bubble of safety and very often seem to be oblivious to the danger they place their precious children in.

This mother is certainly distraught over the loss of her child.

The truck driver is also most likely distraught over the result of the accident.

It's a very tragic situation all round.

As a pedestrian (that includes cyclists), always make eye contact with the drivers when crossing an intersection.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

In any modern country: Pedestrian first

In Japan: why these lazy careless pedistrians and cyclists are existing?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Easy to blame the driver, and he'll definitely get all of the blame based on the stupid traffic laws here, but without knowing more we can just as easily imagine the woman was darting across the junction without any regard for her cargo (and can you carry a baby in a sling like that on a bicycle??) and the driver had no time to stop.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Mr KiplingToday  07:52 pm JST

HarryGatto...

Does that junction have traffic lights or a light controlled crossing? Were you there to see what happened?

No I wasn't there but 35 years driving in Japan has shown me that virtually every junction in Setagaya has traffic lights and they all have the same sequence, green man on for pedestrians and bicycles while its also green for vehicles turning left. Green does NOT mean go. It means proceed with caution. But as so often happens cyclists and pedestrians meet a vehicle turning. Guess who comes off worse? Easy remedy, when one is green the other is red. The UK has this system and far fewer junction accidents of this nature.

Not wishing to get into a pissing contest about time in Japan, you win that one, I've only done 24 years, 18 of those in Tokyo driving practically every day. I know Setagaya, a big ward, and you say "virtually every junction" has traffic lights, that's a ridiculous claim.

Like you said, you weren't there so are not qualified to judge what happened in this case. I agree that you need to remember that all pedestrians and cyclists are potentially brainless and if one is coming up fast on your left side when turning left, no matter how careful you are, you'll be very lucky to see it in time.

I'm also from the UK and I know it has more than its share of brainless cyclists and pedestrians.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

fxgaiToday  06:52 pm JST

Without commenting on this case specifically, the cavalier bicycle riding I see in Japan is shocking, and it amazes me that a country that loves rules so much is so lax about rules surrounding bicycles and safety.

The rules exist but the police are too lazy to enforce them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Easy to blame the driver, and he'll definitely get all of the blame based on the stupid traffic laws here, but without knowing more we can just as easily imagine the woman was darting across the junction without any regard for her cargo (and can you carry a baby in a sling like that on a bicycle??) and the driver had no time to stop.

Even you are not allowed to carry a baby it should be not possible that a truck kills a baby. If an engineer design a machine, he or she have to make sure to prevent any kind of injury. "Any kind" include even worker intentionally want to hurt himself it should be not possible.

But in this archaic traffic world of Japan a truck driver kill a baby and you guys almost would say it is babys fault. And this during knowing that the driver turning at the intersection in Japan did not care about pedestrians or cyclists at all. Shameful.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

From six months you can strap a baby to your back - having one hanging off your chest will interfere with your ability to control a bicycle.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A person driving a truck hit a woman on a bicycle and killed her child and destroyed her life forever. There wasn’t a protected bicycle lane here that could have provided some protection but she had every right to be riding where she was. Blaming her, the victim, for what happened is beyond disgusting.

A HS girl in Ibaraki was also hit today by a left turning truck driver who admitted he wasn’t paying proper attention.

https://www.fnn.jp/articles/-/269054

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

WOW what a triple loss. The mother losing her 8 month old child, the child never getting a chance to experience and the poor driver who is the son of a mother who will now perhaps go to jail. There is no winners here, death is sad and always final.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Problem is cyclists mostly have no experience driving a motor vehicle and don’t understand traffic. They surf the sidewalk, make turns anywhere, cycle on the wrong side and worst of all - they think that if they can see a car, the car driver can see them.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

When piloting what can be, and here is, a deadly weapon, ALL responsibility is YOUR responsibility. It is your responsibility to keep the Humans around you safe from YOU because YOU are the deadliest thing in their context. And if, as some have testified, the 'unexpected' is common on Nihon streets, the unexpected must become the EXPECTED and all caution directed to THAT. This woman who clearly has waited to have children and for whom that child was probably her whole life will NEVER recover from a careless driver, presumably a highly experienced operator familiar with the streets and their variability, crossing a pedestrian pathway without the ability to adequately control his [weapon] nor pay attention to changing conditions has caused death and profound loss. That this is an almost unspeakable tragedy for ALL involved is unnecessary to note. But when the issue of 'responsibility' is raised, they who have the power to cause death and do cannot be excused.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I’m not defending the truck driver but I’ve seen the way some of these women on momma chariots ride. I had one pull out of a side street right in front of me onto a main road without even looking. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting her and her two kids. I’ve seen them flying along the footpath weaving in and out of pedestrians with two kids on the bike holding an umbrella in one hand. Did you know it is law in Japan for children under 13 years old to wear a helmet?

id guess, in this case, neither of them yielded and the bike road straight into the turning truck. I’m not saying the truck driver did the right thing, but playing chicken with a truck on a bicycle is just plain stupid.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I'm going to sound like a jerk. But it is incredibly unsafe to ride a bicycle with an infant in the first place. And second, I've seen countless moms riding with one kid in the back and another strapped to their chest and go through red lights. I'm not even sure the driver should be to blame.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Every single morning I see kids cycling to school wearing headphones (and no helmets) - and it makes my stomach turn.

This hits home because this is how my cousin in-law was killed. She was listening to her smartphone with her ear buds when a truck (who had the right of way) hit her. At first, her dad blamed the driver, but according to the truck's camera, she crossed the street without looking and it was red on her side. The truck was high, so it was difficult to see her.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Vehicles have no place on a pedestrian crossing.

A bike is a vehicle. If she was using the road properly, this simply would not have happened.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

MatToday  09:11 am JST

Vehicles have no place on a pedestrian crossing.

Agreed but, was she on a pedestrian crossing? Article only says that she was crossing the road.

KartalNov. 12  09:42 pm JST

In any modern country: Pedestrian first

In Japan: why these lazy careless pedistrians and cyclists are existing?

Pedistrian safety have to be nr. 1 priority even they make mistakes. But in JP is very sick mentality that cars are god of the streets and pedistrians are just try to survive around.

Have you ever been outside Japan?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A vehicle has no place on a pedestrian crossing? All crossings are for pedestrians. Where is a vehicle supposed to cross? That's what traffic lights are for. For the pedestrians and drivers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Obviously I wasn't there, nor have I any more information to go on than this article, but I'm betting it was the cyclist's fault. I've lived in Japan more than 12 years, and I can't even count the number of times I've seen cyclists hurtling around or darting across crossings dangerously. The driver probably wasn't given enough time to see her if she'd just suddenly darted across the crossing from a blind spot as he turned.

I'm British, and honestly the system of allowing both pedestrians and turning vehicles to cross doesn't make much sense to me, but the risk can be minimized by making sure you are visible when you're a pedestrian and checking that the vehicle has seen you before you step/cycle out in front of it. That's my opinion as both a frequent city driver AND a mother of two who takes them to hoikuen every day by bike.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

TV Tokyo showed the accident scene this morning. It was a a traffic light controlled crossing but not many details of the accident. Seemed to be either hit by truck turning left or just hit by truck. Regardless of which the truck driver will be at fault in Japan. Even if she rode out without looking on a red light, the driver would be partially "at fault". Rules are not the same in Japan as the UK or US. So watch out when the careless cyclist suddenly jump down off the sidewalk, if you hit them, you will be liable.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Whether you ride correctly or not, people out there driving a vehicle will KILL you.

I’ve ridden in North American for more than 40 years, you’re just as likely to get killed here TOO, especially in Florida. Ride as you would a motorcycle, NO one SEEs you, you are INVISIBLE. Maybe you’ll live to ride another day.

My, at the time, pregnant wife was hit, luckily wasn’t knocked off her bike.

Oh, I was hit the first day I tried to ride my bicycle to work in Tokyo, clear day, no rain. Good Luck out there

2 ( +2 / -0 )

2 PEOPLE DIED.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A tragedy. And hopefully both drivers of motor vehicles and bicyclists will learn to ride with more caution.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Everyone else has said it; stop the stupid turn-left policy while pedestrians are corssing.

Green should be go with absolute minimal chance of hitting anyone. Red should mean 'Stop'. Period.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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