crime

Two boys on bike killed after being struck by car in Gunma

38 Comments

Police said Tuesday they have arrested a 52-year-old man after the car he was driving hit two boys on a bicycle, killing both of them, in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture, on Monday night.

The cyclists have been identified as Hiromichi Ito, 16, and Kota Hasegawa, 16, Fuji TV reported.

Police said they received a call from the driver reporting that he had hit the two boys at about 8:30 p.m. The two were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead. The driver, identified as Michio Ishikawa, 52, was quoted by police as saying that he didn't notice them.

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38 Comments
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In Ota, the sidewalks suddenly ends and there's no more sidewalk. The roads are narrow with no safe place to ride your bicycle, not even to walk. And at night the roads are pitch black dark. One more thing that I'm super scared from is those daiko cars. They drive like there's no speed limit and with not very bright lights (sometimes yellow). Do cops do anything about them? Never.

Ota, like many other places outside the big cities, is a scary place to ride your bike at night. Wait. What am I saying? Even day time it's scary!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This should be prohibited. It is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sad accident. But why did the two boys ride one bicycle. This should be prohibited.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I know in UK is quiet dangerous for cycling, but even being not safe, people is very much concerned about safety. Yes indeed cycling in Japan is not as safe as it could be. Perhaps if people wears the safety jackets and signalize with their hands it could be better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Glad this is not another "hit and run" story.

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tmarie - good point, well made about the mamachari brigade Vs proper cyclists. I was speaking generally though, as those guys are usually in the road, not tearing about on pavements recklessly darting through pedestrians. On your other point I wholeheartedly agree; it's difficult to fathom how a country with so many people, people on bicycles, and in cars haven't learned to "see" each other more. I mean, it's not as though seeing anyone at anytime in Japan is a surprise to anyone what with it being so densely populated.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a waste - gives me a sick feeling in my stomach. Roads in Japan are so dangerous, sharing narrow spaces with cars, bikes, pedestrian.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

2kids on a a bike...almost sure its not a drivers fault. Since they passed those side walks laws, absolutely nothing has changed. Its insane that with such a large cyclist population there is no mandatory cycling school / test. For myself, I ride road / TT and will never take a sidewalk just cause most people here cant even walk properly, constantly swerving, stopping e.t.c...

Police should be proper enforcing all bike related laws strictly, like they did that campaign 2 years ago...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just as most posters have already stated....there is alot of information missing in this story but sadly in Japan that doesn't matter because the way they look at it the driver of the car is at fault regardless!!! However in saying that by changing the law and saying that people riding bicycles must ride on the roads in lieu of the footpaths is basically giving some a death sentence without them knowing it. I am amazed every single day why kids going to school on their bicycles feel its needed to ride side by side (most times around my way 3 abreast) on roads that are so narrow they struggle to hold cars. And for the life of me don't even think about moving aside when a car approaches.

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One thing I've noticed about Japanese cyclists is that they just don't wait; safe or not

Not all. The guys who actually have decent bikes, are kitted in gear are pretty dam safe. It is the losers on the mamacheris that are not. The thing is, drivers hate "us" on the road because you have to go around us and complain about it. They are safe - most of them - and god knows how many people here try and scare the crap out of us for sport. Can't win. Can't ride on the sidewalk (ruins the bike and then we have to put up woth the people, the dogs..), nearly get run over by the drivers on the road...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I feel bad ffor iceshoecream.... they where your students? How sad...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AmericanForeigner

Surely this incident will spur the government into action?

I take it you're either being sarcastic, or that you're new to Japan?

As most readers have (probably correctly) deduced, I wouldn't be surprised if the stated scenario of 2 kids on one bike in black school uniforms lose control on the road and veer into the path of this vehicle. We've all seen it nearly happen countless times...

One thing I've noticed about Japanese cyclists is that they just don't wait; safe or not. Even on narrow paths with lamp posts and utility poles, they just won't wait and will try to squeeze through; only today I was bashed by some idiot woman as she tried to get herself through a gap that was much smaller than the space she required to pass me safely. Like many drivers here, she too fled when I called after her to remonstrate with her.

Anyway AmericanForeigner, the answer to your question is a big "No it won't".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It comes down to lack of common sense. This kind of accidents would never happen if there were road rules and people followed them. Surely this incident will spur the government into action?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Always felt safe with cars, but the bicyclists in this country really need mandatory training. Everyone would be better off.

I'm glad you've felt safe with cars. I, on the other hand fear everyone and everything I have to share the road/sidewalk with. The drivers are on their phones, the kids are bouncing around, they aren't paying attention, the bikers are coming at me and expect me to go around them, the pedestrians walk out of buildings without looking, cross right in front of me... How on earth there aren't more deaths here re beyond me.

And King, I agree with you on this point - the rules need to be changed as in terms of who is at fault. Two kids on a bike, no light in the dark, driving the wrong way? Sorry but that driver shouldn't be charged - if that was what happened. If it was daylight, they were on two bikes and follow traffic rules, charge the driver. The drivers shouldn't always be the one that gets faulted - not with the nutters walking/biking around.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry to hear about another tragic bike accident in Gunma. It was just back in December when the mom was hit carrying her two daughters on her bicycle.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/mother-cycling-with-two-daughters-run-over-at-crossing-youngest-daughter-killed

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've said it before and probably will write it again; I stopped cycling because I felt that the other bicyclists were just too dangerous. Always felt safe with cars, but the bicyclists in this country really need mandatory training. Everyone would be better off.

Sympathies to the families of all involved. Better education of safety may have prevented this and countless other accidents.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So much life to live, but withered in an instant. True, if he had kept distance he would not be in such a predicament. I pass by cyclists everyday and I wait for on coming traffic to clear so I can pass them with plenty of room in between both of us. Either they were not wearing helmets, or he really hit them hard. Very sad. Wear your helmets and never assume a driver is looking out for you. RIP.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would be nice if they reported if the cyclists were riding in the direction of traffic, were wearing helmets or reflective gear, had their lights on, etc.. Or else know one knows what mistakes were made.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think we all agree that cyclists, drivers and even pedestrians here seem to have no sense of road safety or common sense. Add to the fact that rules are not enforced and on some routes...one near my hoikuen, it's mayhem. Everyone seems to be as bad as each other, texting, headphones on, pedestrians walking in the middle of roads, folk cycling with no regard to anyone else, cars speeding down narrow roads... I could go on. It's definately got worse over the last decade. I am just surprised we don't at least ten major accidents daily. It's seriously insane during rush/school/youchien/ daycare time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

KingBasil: I'm actually in agreement with you for a change, on the first post, anyway. I'm willing to bet it was the kids' fault more than the driver's, but he's going to get thrown to the wolves regardless. On my way to work this morning I saw no less than 6 bikes with two highschool kids on them, and they were indeed going all over the road (or sidewalk).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

MaboDofuIsSpicy Feb. 07, 2012 - 03:58PM JST

Elduba:

What do you mean by very dead? I am stumped.

Very dead is just a figure of speech.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Again we have an incomplete story missing the vital information.

Did the bike have any lights on at 8:30pm?

Was it on the right or wrong side of the road or crossing it? Perhaps, it was running a red light.

Was anyone on the bike making a telephone call, reading email, texting or listening to music on headphones? These are all common practices while riding bicycles in Japan.

Thank you, however, for including the exact ages of everyone involved.

In answer to the question, "Who is wrong?", the driver of the car in this case as it happened in Japan. Here the car driver is always considered at fault in a collision with a bicycle regardless of how stupid and suicidal the cyclist is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No idea what happened in this particular accident, but it's usually the fault of the cyclists. Of all the accidents (and near accidents) I see on the roads, I'd say 9 times out of 10 it is carelessness on the part of the cyclists. Ironically, the drivers are usually liable for the mere fact that their vehicles are larger.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kudos to the driver for at least stopping and reporting the incident, instead of hightailing it like so many other cowards.

Running from injustice is not cowardice. My understanding is that even if the accident was totally not his fault, he is going to get railroaded. He is going to regret stopping.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Rather than saying "the car he was driving hit two boys on a bicycle", maybe, just maybe, it should read "the bicycle carrying two teenage boys swerved into a moving car".

I don't know which is true and I am not saying one is. Those facts are totally denied us. In fact, the only way to be accurate would be to say "A bicycle with two teenage boys on it and a car collided" until we actually get those facts. But, as always, the press semantically sets us against the driver of the car.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Isn't it against the law to have two people (aside from a young child in a child's seat as a plus one) on a bicycle? I see this all the time, and often the weight is so much from two people of this age that the person pedaling swerves all over the road as they have to push harder and have less control. I've no doubt that factored in. Police need to enforce bicycle laws more strictly. RIP to the kids.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They were both my students. R.I.P. kids :(

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not sure about the statistics regarding road saftey for the USA versus Japan but I will give the USA kudos in the bicycle helmet department. I hate wearing one myself but I always felt a lot better when my kids were required to wear them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mabo.

Not according to my US friends nor my experiences there. And I do recall a recent news and video about one cyclist showing how unsafe the Lanes in NY are. As well as many other similar news over the years.

Patriotism is one thing, being realistic another.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Elduba:

What do you mean by very dead? I am stumped.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It'sme

Florida does in the states as well as all the other states in the states. Much safer there on a bike than here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Most Japanese have zero common sense about bike safety, hence we have terrible accidents like, way too often. As Tmarie says, ride around Tokyo, at night, with NO LIGHTS on, wearing ALL BLACK clothes, make yourself almost invisible to those in cars, trucks etc..and guess what, you end up in a wheel chair for the rest of your life or very dead.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

As much frustration I feel in reading about these accidents, let's face it - it's a wonder there aren't more of them. The roads here are so narrow, and lighting is so sparse... There are no real bike lanes or sidewalks most of the time. It's just the way things are here. Gotta use waaaay more caution than in other countries.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Kudos for stopping - and not trying to blame the victims here at all but where were they biking and what were they wearing? I bike on the road and am lit up like an Xmas tree. I have had people on bikes coming the opposite way with no lights on all in black and I've nearly hit them - which would be painful but a car? Damn! Japan needs to start dealing with bike safety here - and drivers following the rules. Glad to hear this guy stopped.

RIP the two boys. That poor driver. He must be heartbroken.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

japan does not have the roads designed or wide enough for cyclists to be riding on either.

Which country does? Outside a few selected locales that is.

And I agree with Nicky.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Dont know the circumstances so dont know who was at fault, but kudos to the driver for at least stopping and reporting the incident, instead of hightailing it like so many other cowards. Even if he was at fault at least he is manning up and taking responsibility for his actions.

4 ( +5 / -4 )

Newly enforced law requiring cyclists ride on the road instead of the footpath, wondered how long it would take for them to get skittled.

Riding on the footpath is dangerous but japan does not have the roads designed or wide enough for cyclists to be riding on either.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

R.I.P to the two youths who died hope their families are ok.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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