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74,483 danger spots found on roads around public elementary schools


A safety survey of roads around Japan's public elementary schools has been carried out by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, along with the National Police Agency and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. According to the data collected, over 74,000 spots are currently unsafe for children going to school.

The survey was launched as the result of a traffic accident in Kyoto in which a youth, who had no driver's license, drove a minivan into a group of mostly children on their way to school. Two were killed and eight injured in the incident.

According to TV Asahi, the government ministries joined forces with the NPA to analyze the safety of streets surrounding 20,160 schools nationwide and discovered 74,483 spots in which safety measures, such as building sidewalks and installing pedestrian crossings, were necessary. In other cases, there are no guard rails on narrow roads, separating where pedestrians can walk from the road itself.

Work was already underway in 22,714 locations and the administrators of a further 1,122 stated that they had not yet decided which measures to take, the ministries said.

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As a mother whose child walked to school on such streets I needed no "survey" I could see with my own eyes the dangers. And we live in the countryside.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Glad to see them giving an effort to improve children safety since many kids travel without adult supervision.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I agree with sillygirl. Any parent walking their kids to school would see this. Cars go racing past many schools and daycare centers etc as drivers hurry to run red lights, talk on phones, watch TV on the navi.

They really need school zones at set times.

It is 2013, this should have been done 30 years ago.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Typical Ministry response will be to build more "Guard-Rail" and put up more Tobidashi Chui Signs, instead of doing the rational thing and reducing the speed limit around schools like other developed countries did decades ago. The general speed limit in Japan is 40k/hr , which means it's ok to do 60, this should be reduced to 20k/hr in school zones, and needs to be enforced otherwise what's the point.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They really need school zones at set times.

Many places already have them but are not enforced.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Speed bumps or traffic calmers would slow drivers down in areas near schools. No pavements or sidewalks, no guard rails just a white line which in many cases is no longer visible. Car is king and pedestrians must give way to vehicles, often with their lives.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why no speed bumps in Japan?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When my daughters enter Elementary school I won't be surprised if either me of my fiancee drop them off and pick them up from school.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why no speed bumps in Japan?

I've asked myself the same question many times. They do the job the police don't do! Sadly, too many drivers are irresponsible and only give a poop about themselves. In Oz the ones that speed through the back streets as shortcuts are called, 'rat runners' and those caught are fined heavily. I guess the problem is, nearly evry road in Tokyo is a back street.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes there are many dangers on the way to and from school. But in many cases - just like the one in Kyoto - accidents are also caused by people driving like idiots/illegally/both. By all means make the streets safer, but address this issue of bad driving as well. I see drivers regularly doing ridiculous things right in front of police boxes and the police turn a blind eye.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

For all the wasted billions of dollars they'll be spending on meetings and planning commissions and corrupt ridden construction companies that will eventually (like ten years from now) be building something like guard rails, they could simply just put a couple extra cops on the streets in each one of these areas with big flashing lights telling people to slow down during school hours.

They could even borrow a couple folks from the regular road crews. The ones where they have eight guys standing around while one guy is sweeping up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As always in Japan it takes death to bring about action. ANYONE could look at practically ANY street outside of the main cities, and even in them, and see that they are too narrow, have too small or non-existent walkways (which of course bicyclists and even scooters use), and often if there ARE walkways that's where they put the utility poles. The main street outside my apartment complex is traveled every day by hundreds of university and highschool students on their way to school and at some points (and I've measured), thanks to the utility poles and houses or shops coming right out to the streets the 'sidewalk' is less than 10 cms, forcing everyone to walk into traffic, and on that road there are large flat-bed trucks, cranes, buses, and normal vehicle traffic.

What are they doing about it? NOTHING! Sure, towards the end of March they often dig the street up on one side or the other, but then they just repave it -- no bike lanes or side-walks extended. It's not only around elementary schools, it's everywhere. You have narrow streets that were widened to accommodate larger cars, eliminating any safe area for people who need to walk or ride bicycles.

"...and the administrators of a further 1,122 stated that they had not yet decided which measures to take, the ministries said."

Ie. They have no idea what they can do without costing a fortune. Like I said, in many of these danger areas houses have been built RIGHT up to the roads, and many of those are not wide enough for two-way traffic even though they are two-way streets. Short of demolishing the houses, what can they do?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

There is a bollard on a dangerous curve, just outside of the block of flats I live in. Late night boy racers have hit and bent it several times and all the council do is put up a new one, which in turn, gets hit and damaged. Why can't they make speed bumps instead ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is hardly an around school only issue. Most of the roads here need improvements. Many look as if the were originally design for only foot and horse traffic and merely paved when cars came around. Many with no sidewalks as well where the kids need to walk in the road. Until the can enforce some kind of eminent domain laws to repair roads many of these problems will remain.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Chibachick hits the nail firmly on the head. Drivers lacking due care in such road situations. They're told to be mindful of pedestrians, especially young children & the elderly in driving school, but still pass at speed within inches of pedestrians on narrow streets with too much "street furniture". And yes, the police are as useful as a paper raincoat in enforcing the law.

Speed bumps do exist in Japan; I've seen them - on the uphill lane of a mountain road, which about says it all really...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Anyone who thinks that Japanese drivers are aggressive and inconsiderate towards pedestrians can't have spent any time in the UK or USA, that's for sure.

Round my neighbourhood (including a primary school) the roads are narrow with no pavement. Not much you can do about that when there is no space. Better to have a shared space, the cars generally crawl around.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan_cynic. I'm from the UK, and I can't recall ever seeing a pedestrian having the horn blared at them for having the temerity to cross on a designated pedestrian crossing there. Nor could I see cars tearing through intersections everyday when the light for pedestrians had already turned green... I could go on.

In Japan however...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I've always said that parents here never bother to take their children's best interests seriously, instead ignoring statistics like the one in this article in favor of negligible dangers that the news uses to get ratings. Sadly, those injured and killed in the accident aren't the only victims, and the real casualties are never mentioned.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

They should have saved the huge cost of doing a survey of that size and spent it on putting up guard rails and widening road in places where children (and adults!) are forced to walk on roads, mere centimeters from cars that go whizzing by.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why no speed bumps in Japan?

Depends where you live. There are speed bumps all over the back roads in my neighborhood, which is less than 1 kilometer from a local ES.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fantastic. More surveys.

Must be wonderful to be a bureaucrat here: "Hey, guys, I have an idea. How about a s u r v e y !!? That way, we don't actually have to do any work, but it appears as though we are concerned" And all the other paper shufflers can scream banzai!

It's quite easy to make it safer for pedestrians. What you have to do (unfortunately, since Japanese drivers repeatedly show that they are unable to understand the concequences of driving fast on narrow roads where people walk) is inconvenience drivers. You do this by making it impossible to go faster than say 20-30km/h on roads close to schools. This might mean speed bumps, or other hindrances ad it works because most drivers care enough not to damage their beloved car. What is missing, though, is action. Japan can, when it wants, build and construct things quite fast. Look at Tokyo Midtown or Roppongi Hills. Up in a flash.

This leads me to believe that all this pretty talk about unsafe enviroments for school children is just that. Talk.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I saw a girl at a JHS down here in Okinawa who last year gave an English speech regarding traffic safety and the narrow roads that have no guard rails and the pedestrian paths that are just marked with a narrow strip of green colored paint. The cars that speed by are literally inches away from the young ES and JHS kids that are forced to walk these roads to go to school.

Long story short, her point was, look adults, you tell us kids to follow rules, stay in the lines, watch out for traffic, be aware, etc etc etc........put your money where your mouth is and do the same. Who is the adult? Who is the child?

She won the speech contest!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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