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53 injured in snow-related accidents in Tokyo region

44 Comments

Fifty-three people were taken to hospital between 9 p.m. Monday night and 10 a.m. Tuesday with injuries sustained in snow-related accidents, the Tokyo Fire Department said Tuesday.

NTV quoted Fire Department officials as saying that most of the injuries were the result of people slipping and falling down on sidewalks. Meanwhile, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police reported 393 traffic accidents in Tokyo due to the snow.

The Tokyo region received its first major snowfall of the winter on Monday night, causing disruptions to train services early Tuesday in suburban areas as well as Chiba Prefecture, JR East said. Parts of Tokyo recorded snowfall of 4-6 cms, the Meteorological Agency reported.

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44 Comments
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....amateurs.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I was a little bit surprised this morning to see motorcyclists flying down the road with ice and snow bits everywhere. Rainy wet snow = ice at best.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

crazy people, even with my subaruy legacy with awd and snow/ice tires i still slipped and slided across kanagawa this morning.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Walkin to work thought there was a sniper on the roofs, people just droppin...then watched a porsche cayenne slide down an icy hill backwards into a brick wall...salt on the roads is probably a good idea

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's amazing how many weekend warriors (morons) take their vehicles to the streets only on rainy and snowy days and expect a safe traffic free ride to work.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I believe the title is wrong. this morning I didn't see an inch of snow, everything was ice. That's why I left the motorcycle home and got the bus to work

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It's amazing how ill-equipped people here are in dealing with walking on snow and ice. You shift your center of gravity so that you're not putting your entire weight on the next step, simple as that. Of course, wearing high-heels or inappropriate footwear doesn't help, and needless to say riding a motorcycle, bike, and even driving is dangerous in freezing rain.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

People in the Kanto region really are not used to snow/ice and have no idea how to react unless it is shouted at them from the public speakers on the lampposts; but the worst must be those that are supposed to keep the roads clean, do they even have those big trucks used to put salt on the icy roads I wonder? Personally I am happy that it finally snowed, even Karuizawa had been cold and barren up to last weekend. Now it's blindingly white all around - and cold.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

injuries not helped by people using their hosepipes to spray cold water on wet snow at 6am this morning when the temperature was still near freezing which helped to turn an already bad situation into a more dangerous one. can someone please explain why people thinking putting cold water onto already wet snow/ice is a good one? i have lived here for 20 years and it happens every time it snows and still have not been able to figure it out...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

When the ground is frozen or slippery the best you can do is to go by train or subway. If you are driving a car and another car is moving in your direction there is very little you can do to avoid it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

all in all, I'd say 53 injuries in a city of 14 million is pretty good. Despite some of the macho posturing here (amateurs?), I wonder how many injuries there'd be in less populated Toronto, Montreal, Chicago etc. after a storm. Probably the same.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Many Tokyoites are not used to the snow, so this is not surprising. In the Kanto region alone , there were 1,260 skidding accidents resulting in 150 injuries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It happens every year...these hapless people in Tokyo must have a very poor learning curve!!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Snow in Tokyo is always hilarious. People are so ignorant... like living in a Buster Keaton movie.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

nsg79:

" can someone please explain why people thinking putting cold water onto already wet snow/ice is a good one? i have lived here for 20 years and it happens every time it snows and still have not been able to figure it out... "

Cracks me up, too. I think it is something the Tokyoites see in places like Niigata and then imitate it. Of course, up there, the hot water sprinkler are connected to a steady supply of hot onsen water, so that actually works to keep the roads snow free. Using a garden hose in Tokyo only creates an ice rink.... but try to explain that to them.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I had to drive my car this morning and it was very, very scary to see so many folk slipping, just walking, then idiots on their bicycles also SLIPPING and the worst, seeing fools on scooters also SLIPPING, what the heck are these people thinking?? ABUNAI YO!!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It was pretty treacherous out there this morning for sure. TBH I am surprised the number of injuries is that low. I saw people falling all over the place. Yes many Tokyoites aren't prepared for the snow but to be honest, why would thy be? This barely happens even once a year. Probably about 3 or 4 times in the 10 years I have been here.

What DID freak me out was thunder, lightning AND snow!! Never experienced that before! And in the middle of all this my friend delivered a beautiful baby boy!! VERY happy day for all of us! Must try very hard now not to slip and drop the champers on my way to the hospital!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"The snow chaos on the first snowy day happens also in Moscow" as I was told by a Russian friend. 53 injuries is a pretty small number. Probably there were far more accidents, which didn't end in injury for sheer luck.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Roads were treacherous this morning and will be more so tonight and tomorrow morning.

Had to run a few errants and took my trusted bicycle out. Road was in bad condition black ice, frozen snow and even with my mountain Bike tires it felt slippery at times. No way would I have taken a mama-chari out. Even though I planned 1.5 times that it would take me to get to my destination. Roads were defiantly safer than the sidewalks today as most were cleared.

Didn't help that most people started walking in the centre of the roads, etc.

Also 53 injuries might sound a lot but less if you know how they classify injuries here, a broken bone is a heavy injury, etc. In short any ambulance that is called out is for an injury.

Saw a few guys on the road today that had dropped their bicycles and were helped by passer-by's and drivers behind them.

Didn't help that car, bicycle, etc drives drove like on a sunny day.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hi Nicky. Bizarre, I too could not understand why we had thunder. It was a first for me too. It felt kinda strange at first because I could not understand what was making all the noise. The last thing I was thinking of was thunder...

Spooky :)

Also, I agree... I saw many people outside their homes this morning trying to turn the streets into ice skating rinks with their garden hoses.... Why? Are they really that dumb? Do they not understand that cold water will turn into sheets of very dangerous ice. (shaded back streets at 6am in the morning)...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You shift your center of gravity so that you're not putting your entire weight on the next step, simple as that.

Simple as defying the laws of physics? Like it or not, your entire weight is going on your next step unless you slide both your feet. All you can do is tread lightly so as to not put extra downforce on your foot (downforce effectively increases your weight) and make sure your weight is centered on that foot with no pressure or force going off to the side. Its also good to keep your knees slightly bent, so can lower your center of gravity, and keep your knees relaxed. This helps you get your balance back if you slip a little, or in the worst case, ease your fall and let you fall downward (the short trip) rather than splayed outward (the long trip, harder and possibly into something, like a moving car).

I am well experienced walking in icy conditions, but even I slipped a bit this morning and bumped into my car, but did not actually fall. The road was slippery driving as well, but I saw no accidents.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There are many ways of walking.

Ask any MA about how many different types of walking they use depend on surface conditions.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

saw my wife on her bicycle sliding this morning...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@tokyokawasaki - yeah, thunder lightning and snow - VERY weird! I actually texted my friend mid-labout at one point to ask her if she was delivering the second Messiah or something with all these freak conditions! I was going to take her some gold, frankincense and myrrh just in case, but Gold is so expensive these days and frankincense and myrrh are right up there with marmite and liquorice allsorts on my impossible-to-find-in-Tokyo list so it had to be plain old champers instead ;) !

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

labour that should be - not labout!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yeah, to add - I seriously for a moment thought a bomb had gone off or something. It was just so unusual to see snow and hear thunder - please any meteorologist correct me if I am wrong but it seemed strange to me and I come from the UK, world capital of weird weather!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

All you can do is tread lightly so as to not put extra downforce on your foot (downforce effectively increases your weight) and make sure your weight is centered on that foot with no pressure or force going off to the side. Its also good to keep your knees slightly bent, so can lower your center of gravity, and keep your knees relaxed

So pretty much how Japanese women walk down the street in platform heels all the time then?!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"amateurs"

"Snow in Tokyo is always hilarious"

I saw people attempting to scrape snow & ice ( mainly ice ) off the sidewalk with shovels at an intersection. They were making slow progress. If they had some sand or salt they could have quickly spread that over the sidewalk so that people could walk safely.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would just love to see a freak snow flurry activity here on Okinawa. They can't even drive on a warm summer day let alone icy roads.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I saw people attempting to scrape snow & ice ( mainly ice ) off the sidewalk with shovels at an intersection. They were making slow progress.

I always laugh inside when I see people going at ice with a plastic snow shovel! I tend to use a regular shovel even for snow, because snow is just too heavy for those plastic things anyway. I think they should be renamed slush shovels, because clearing away slush is about the only use I have for them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

then watched a porsche cayenne slide down an icy hill backwards into a brick wall

That's the best place for one of those ghastly vehicles.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Grown up in a european winter side and get used to drive cars and motorcycles in the snow (but not doing it on icy days) I'm pretty glad to spending my days now in warm South Kyushu without winter tires... 4 AWD's on snow = great, on ice = same like 2WD's (except you are using spiked tires)... Ahhr, going to the beach now and enjoy the sun...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hoserfella: "all in all, I'd say 53 injuries in a city of 14 million is pretty good."

True, but you have to reckon that a whole lot more accidents than this happened. I mean, who takes the time to go to the police and fill out a statement that you slipped on an icy sidewalk? Unless they were all traffic accidents I don't know how they came by this number.

"Despite some of the macho posturing here (amateurs?), I wonder how many injuries there'd be in less populated Toronto, Montreal, Chicago etc. after a storm. Probably the same."

Maybe, maybe not, but like I said it would go unreported. And anyway, it wouldn't be the same number, in all likelihood, because as I also said people in nations where snow/ice storms occur frequently are usually better equipped to walk in such weather -- be it physically or mentally. That isn't a diss at all to Japan, or praise of people in relatively snowier nations, it's just a fact, same as how a Japanese family might be a whole lot more equipped to deal with an earthquake or typhoon than people in a nation or location where they rarely occur.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how many injuries there'd be in less populated Toronto, Montreal, Chicago etc. after a storm. Probably the same.

Doubt it. You have to keep in mind these are the reported numbers. I am sure the numbers of injured are much, much higher. You gave three examples of cities used to snow and with the equipment (and brains) on how to deal with it. Tokyo? They don't stand much of a chance. Just like the three cities above would be panic strickened in an earthquake.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Icy roads are hell when you have summer tires. Tokyo just isn't equipped for cold weather and girlies should realise to leave the high heels at home on days like this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

girlies should realise to leave the high heels at home on days like this.

How dare you suggest women change how they dress to avoid trouble! Its the ice thats in the wrong, not the women!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hey, it's no different than Atlanta (or even Richmond) after a snowfall. People think they can drive like it's dry pavement. Better to take the train and the company bus.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Short of chaining up, there's nothing you can do on ice. Studs help a bit, but if its freezing rain on top . . .

Compacted snow shouldn't be much of a problem with FWD, provided the hills isn't too steep or long, and should be pretty easy with AWD.

Never should deicer be used. It just starts a freeze-thaw cycle that makes condition worse, and if the snow is deep enough, it creates slushy ruts that are more hazardous than compacted snow. Sand is more beneficial all around.

Has anyone been anywhere on the Japan Sea side in a town with "road sprinklers"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nicky WashidaJan. 24, 2012 - 03:46PM JST Yes many Tokyoites aren't prepared for the snow but to be honest, why would thy be? This barely happens even once a year. Probably about 3 or 4 times in the 10 years I have been here.

Yep. Global warming? What global warming?

It used to snow more frequently in Tokyo than it has over the last 30-40 years. The city itself is part of it becoming a big heat sink - makes it more unbearable in the summer and not quite as cold in the winter. That being said, I remember at least one decent snow storm every winter in Tokyo back in the mid-90s when I lived there and the same for Nagoya back in the mid-80s.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Makes me glad I grew up in Finland. Walking around I'm fine. Driving I would cope too though I dare not to however cos of the other people around me who don't know how to drive in snow/icy conditions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wanda-kun:

" Has anyone been anywhere on the Japan Sea side in a town with "road sprinklers"? "

I have seen them in plenty of towns. The system makes sense, if you have an unlimited supply of hot water. Otherwise, it is stupid.

Most bizarrely, I have seen these sprinkler systems used on parking areas off the highway... the same place where the cops direct you to stop and put on chains. A proverbial pain in the behind... apparently they want everybody to drive on with wet pants.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

More than 600 were injured by the snow/ice.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

wearing high-heels or inappropriate footwear doesn't help,

Quite - I was half asleep the other night when they were doing the warnings on NHK & I swear they gave out footwear advice! Something about being "suberiyasui" . Obviously there are people who can't figure this out for themselves. Was it last year that wellies were in fashion? With heels, probably...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hoserfellaJan. 24, 2012 - 01:52PM JST

all in all, I'd say 53 injuries in a city of 14 million is pretty good. Despite some of the macho posturing here (amateurs?), I wonder how many injuries there'd be in less populated Toronto, Montreal, Chicago etc. after a storm. Probably the same.

Oh hell ya, I agree with you. My comment was a joke hoserfella. Just something I felt I had to say as a Canadaian. When ice (not snow) is involved, it doesn't matter how you walk, or if you have 4wd, abs, or snow tires, there's no way to travel safe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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