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88-year-old woman in coma after being hit by cyclist

33 Comments

A 13-year-old boy riding a bicycle hit and seriously injured an 88-year-old woman in Chita, Aichi Prefecture, police said Tuesday.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 6:30 p.m. Monday on a sidewalk along National Route 155, Fuji TV reported. The bike hit the woman, Mitsuko Funabashi, from the front, knocking her to the ground. She was taken to hospital where she was in a coma on Tuesday, police said.

The boy told police his bicycle light was on but that he was looking into the distance and did not see the woman right in front of him until it was too late.

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33 Comments
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The boy told police his bicycle light was on but that he was looking into the distance and did not see the woman right in front of him until it was too late.

Sorry but this excuse does not fly in my book! What else were you doing?

Feel sorry for the parents of this boy, they are going to have to pay for this, and if she dies, the kid is going to have his short life pretty much ruined.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

All the blame can't be placed on the boy. All of us have seen extremely elderly people wandering around the streets at all hours seemingly in a daze.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Many bikers zoom right past inches away. I see it everyday and it scares me personally.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Walking the sidewalks requires as much vigilance as driving. I try to remember to do shoulder checks before shifting direction. I never use my phone while walking but "pull over" to the side of a building. Very occasionally a cyclist gives a vocal warning or bell. However, with all the noise, jingle and jangle that is Japan, would any pedestrians notice?

My empathy with both the woman, the boy and their families for this accident with such dire repercussions. It could happen to any of us at any age.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I can't freaking believe it. Not 10 minutes after my last post, after dropping my granddaughter at the bus stop, a guy on his bike traveling at speed through the crowd, swerved at the last instant to miss hitting me. I could feel the wind caused by his passing. I confess right now, if somebody doing that hurts me or my family, I'm going to put that bike where the sun don't shine. I don't care who it is.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Drivers, riders, walkers... people here have a tendancy to operate vehicles or their own legs for that matter, as if they have blinders on.  Completely oblivious to their surroundings.  I can count on one hand how many times I have not witnessed a complete disregard for others while commuting.  And I drive every day... unfortunately.

S

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Not much detail to go on but; it can be pretty dark at 6:30 pm in Japan (daylight savings,anyone?) and if the area was anything like my neighbourhood, the street lighting would have been completely inadequate. Still, it was a head-on collision, so pretty hard to believe the rider 'did not see the woman right in front of him,'

6 ( +9 / -3 )

13yo smacks down a 88yo, at 13 was maybe going too fast, 88yo walking like a zombie.

disaster. Yesterday one of these zombies suddenly veered onto the road right in front of me. I was driving,... skid marks on the road and on my pants. As society ages have to expect more of these stories.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Every morning I have to run the gauntlet on the nearby bridge during rush hour.

The cycling etiquette over here is poor to say the least.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Can anyone confirm or not if bicycles are allowed on the sidewalks or not. I thought for sure that they weren't, and are considered the same as a vehicle. If that is the case and he was riding on the sidewalk, then he is completely at fault. I would bet he was also checking his smartphone while riding, not seeing the old lady and smashed into her.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

MarkX

From memory, it depends on the sidewalk. If there is a sign saying that bikes can be ridden on it, then it's fine but I think there is a speed restriction. I think the sign is a blue circle with pictures of a pedestrian and a bicycle in white. If there is no signage, then you may not ride a bicycle on it.

http://japaninfoswap.com/bicycle-japan-know-the-laws/

I'm happy to be corrected on any of that. I find the rules confusing. And they are barely enforced anyway.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

MarkX

RiskyMosaic is correct. There are places with designated bicyclist paths, but they are not all that common. Riding on the sidewalk in most areas is not permitted, but allowed if road is deemed unsafe. So, with that one statement a bicyclist could always claim that the road was unsafe to ride on.

That said, the only time I have ever seen anyone stopped for riding on a sidewalk was on a very busy sidewalk where signs indicating bicycles were not allowed were present. People were told they had to walk their bikes.

It might be different in the area you're from, though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tragic accident. Just saw a photo of the area where it happened. No street lighting at all so it must've been really difficult to see. Just tragic for both victim and boy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The boy told police his bicycle light was on but that he was looking into the distance and did not see the woman right in front of him until it was too late"

Read: My phone light was on and I was looking into the distance to find some pokewotsits.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Only 2 people knows who is to blame and 1 is in a coma.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is no blame, he is 13 ridding his bike that's normal, she is 88 ambling along that's normal. Dimly lite road that's normal. It's the planners fault. No side walks, I don't consider a painted line between myself and traffic as a force field. There has been for some time a thing called "illumination" something that continues to elude town planning. I feel sorry for both, yet blame neither. It could have been me? In a coma or crashing into a pedestrian.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The sidewalk 'rule' doesn't apply to children 14 and below.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Unfortunately, accidents happen – but might be minimised if rider education was taught, even with the very poor infrastructure for pedestrians and riders alike. I have watched police ignore the bicycle law too – riding where only walking is allowed. Bicycle safety simply is not a priority.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Only 2 people knows who is to blame and 1 is in a coma.

Sometimes, neither person is to blame. It is entirely possible that this street, where kids on bikes and old people walking are forced to share space, was an accident waiting to happen - in which case, the city should be liable for negligence.

Cities that provide, safe and separate space for all road users - but especially the most vulnerable(I.e cyclists and pedestrians) don’t have problems like this.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

DiscoJ_2

I think it is 13 and below.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Oops, below 13. Sorry.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Rules concerning riding bicycles on sidewalks

●Cases when riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is allowed:

1 - Within an area with road signs or other signposts indicating permission to do so

2 - If the rider is under 13 years old

3 - In unavoidable circumstances due to roadway or traffic conditions

Even in the above cases, a policeman or a traffic warden may restrict bicycle riding on the sidewalk in order to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

●Pedestrians should:

Avoid walking on “Specified lanes for bicycles” as much as possible

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thanks to LEDs, super powerful bike lights are now available at low cost. There is no need to be relying on those old-fashioned tyre dynamos you get on mama charis. They aren't very bright and some people won't use them because they slow you down. A kid in a black or navy school uniform on a bike with a tiny dynamo light low and on the right side of the bike is not going to be very visible.

There will be hundreds of thousands of school kids cycling in the dark, so perhaps schools could do more to ensure that bikes are better equipped. Mama charis are good in that they are cheap and make cycling accessible, but there are many improvements that could be made without upping the price. They still use antiquated "English" valves with rubber tubes that need replacing every few years.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He cycled into her but didn't see her? Don't believe it. Even when it's very dark I can see people and objects when I get close enough, and that still give me enough time to either swerve or stop. He had his light on, he must have seen something. I can only assume he wasn't looking straight ahead.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Thanks to LEDs, super powerful bike lights are now available at low cost.

To be honest, I really dislike those lights. The design is horrible as they don't shine down but directly in the face of oncoming traffic. Blinding!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What was she doing outdoors at that age?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

An 80 something relative of mine falls over 2-3 times a week in the care home. I can’t imagine her walking on the street in the dark, especially wearing dark clothes with no touch.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hard to make too much judgement without more details.

I can see both sides, bicyclists can be kind of scary especially on narrow sidewalks or streets, they travel so fast, and swerve all over the place it’s hard to predict where they’re going, Sometimes if I move over to give them more room they swerve back over in my direction, not expecting me to move over I guess, and almost hit me.

But elderly people can also be scary to drive around, So many randomly wander into the middle of the street, or walk right through the center of the sidewalk or narrow road totally oblivious of everything around them, not moving to the side for cars to pass.

They typically don’t use cell phones, but I’ve had a lot more elderly people randomly walking around aimlessly suddenly changing their direction and not looking in front of themselves smash into me while I’m walking than I have cell phone users

2 ( +3 / -1 )

According to posters on here elderly people;

should not be aloud to leave their homes at night, one poster even implies there is some kind of curfew in place already

are 'zombies' and 'wander'

fall over several times a week

are 'scary' and 'oblivious'.

Apart from the victim blaming going on here, there is a lot of anger and dislike direcetd towards older people. It shows a distinct lack of understanding, and assumes anyone on a pension is some kind of weak and feeble social problem.

Most of you will be old one day.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

 The design is horrible as they don't shine down but directly in the face of oncoming traffic.

It is not the design, it's how the person who uses the lights set them up on their bikes. Cars are the same, the lights are adjustable and there is no need for them to shine in the face of incoming traffic.

I have LED lights on my vehicle and they are a hell of a lot better than the old yellow lights, in fact I dont think I would ever go back, and they are literally "light years" better than halogen lights!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

To be honest, I really dislike those lights. The design is horrible as they don't shine down but directly in the face of oncoming traffic. Blinding!

It's because a lot of (mostly middle-aged) cyclists here point their lights up instead of down to the road where they are supposed to be pointed. I am reeeaaally sick of being blinded by such extremely bright LED bike lights. It's quite difficult to bite my tongue sometimes and not give them a serve.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Something to notice : risk of injury is heavily multiplied by weight difference.

I know well the area there and old women that age are usually tiiiiiiny, wearing dark clothes, slow to say the least and looking at their feet only when moving, with total absence of reaction with their environment and as silent as local education requires.

As pointed to, there is usually no much city light, very dim.

Point is they are prone accident by definition and injuries are bound to be of importance like knocking a small kid in fact.

I mean some accidents are bound to happen.

Indeed , no one should put himself/herself in danger. At that age, you should take necessary measures (eady solution, light colored clothes) because kids are kids, and no solution of well separated lane for bikes hardly exist in Japan !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I caught my friend's son's 10 year old son zooming down the sidewalk thinking it was funny and blessedly she is not one of those ignorant mom's who feels her son does no wrong and warned of what happen.  I told her I did not want to see her son and her family in whole lot of legal trouble over him hurting someone by riding his bike carelessly.  She thanked me and now her son does not ride his bike without her and or her husband and or without their consent.

My son who just entered grade 3 was told he could ride without an adult true enough but not a chance and even in grade 4 he will only to get to ride with my knowledge of where he is going and ground rules and I hear everything so if he breaks them and I get wind it will be taken from him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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