Japan Today
Image: Pakutaso

Foreign woman walks into bus at Tokyo’s Shibuya Scramble intersection

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

The Shibuya Scramble, the five-way intersection located right outside Shibuya Station, is Tokyo’s busiest crosswalk. But while it’s both a tourist-attracting landmark and a convenient way to get from one part of the neighborhood to another, the Shibuya Scramble is still, first and foremost, a street crossing, and so it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings in order to safely make your way from one side to another.

A startling reminder of that came on Tuesday at about 8:30 p.m. when, on what was otherwise a fairly typical evening, a woman suffered injuries when she walked into a bus that was driving through the Scramble, as seen in the video here.

The ground-level video was captured by the crew of Japanese TV news program "Mezamashi 8," who appear to have been at the Shibuya Scramble to record video of go-kart tours, which are back in the public discourse as increasing numbers of foreign tourists come to Japan. With a kart group stopped at a red light, the camera was initially focused on the video game-like vehicles, until shouts and screams cause the camera operator to swing the lens to the crosswalk, where a woman is lying on the ground in front of a bus.

However, with the woman lying right in the middle of the length of the bus, it doesn’t look like the bus struck her, and looking at traffic camera video, recorded from a higher point on the far side of the Scramble, shows that the woman herself did walk into the side of the bus, as seen in the point in the video cued up here.

The woman apparently walked into the bus with enough force that the driver noticed, bringing the vehicle to a stop and getting out to check on her. However, the woman spoke very little Japanese, and was only able to communicate, with much difficulty, using her smartphone’s translation function. Police and medical personnel arrived soon after, and the woman was able to communicate that she was by herself in Shibuya, and that her head, elbow, and lower leg were in pain before being taken away in an ambulance for further examination and treatment, although she thankfully appeared to be suffering no loss of blood.

It’s yet to be publicly confirmed how the woman managed to walk into the side of a moving bus, but zooming in on her in the traffic camera video (at the point cued below) shows that she looks to be holding some sort of light-emitting object in a partially outstretched hand as she starts making her way across the intersection, which, along with not seeing the bus until she made contact with it, makes it seem like she may have been looking down at her phone instead of keeping her eyes up while attempting to cross the Scramble.

Something that makes the incident even more surprising is that signal light systems in Japan are designed with preventing this kind of accident in mind. At controlled intersections, the walk sign doesn’t come on, nor does the light for cars turn green, as soon as the signal for crossing traffic turns red. There’s a second or two where all lights are set to red/don’t walk, just in case there’s any straggling traffic that isn’t completely across the intersection yet.

Taking one last look at the traffic camera footage, we can see that the bus just barely got into the intersection before its light turned red. At a more conventionally sized/shaped crossing, this probably wouldn’t have created any problems, but between how long the Scramble is and the slight kink that comes in the middle, the walk sign had come on while the bus was still moving across the intersection, even with the all-red/don’t-walk interval built into the system.

As such, the argument could be made that the bus isn’t entirely without fault in what happened. On the other hand, all of the other people who’d been waiting to cross the road, including those who were closer to the bus than the woman was when the walk light came on, were able to avoid colliding with the vehicle, so it seems like a little more attentiveness could have prevented the accident.

Regardless of how responsibility should be parceled out, though, the lesson remains the same. While crossing the Shibuya Scramble is a quintessential Tokyo experience, it’s one that also comes with all the risks of navigating a busy intersection, so make sure to keep your eyes up and stay alert as you make your way across.

Source: FNN Prime Online, Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Man attempts to set himself on fire in middle of Tokyo’s busiest intersection【Video】

-- Frightening video shows car speeding through Tokyo’s Scramble Intersection filled with people

-- Japanese YouTuber sleeps on a bed in the middle of Shibuya Scramble Crossing【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Accidents like these are prone to happen when 80% of people walking have their eyes on the phones and when japans traffic lights are not effective enough to give a few extra seconds of gap between stop vehicles and cross the road signs. But the most irritating is the phone zombies who are everywhere from train stations, walkways, streets, malls etc!

27 ( +32 / -5 )

Wow,...usually it's the other way around. Considering the size of the bus the probability of スマホ歩きis pretty much a certainty.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

Glad to see at least two people went over to check on her... rather than just film her on the ground

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Imagine crossing one of busiest crossings in the world with your eyes glued on a smartphone.

To the extent of not being able to notice a massive bus right in front of you.

They walk among us.

30 ( +34 / -4 )

Considering the size of the bus the probability of スマホ歩きis pretty much a certainty.

have you watched the video? It shows the darwin award recipient walking right into the bus (1:58)

But the most irritating is the phone zombies who are everywhere from train stations, walkways, streets, malls etc!

Pedestrians in Japan are very patient, considerate and polite. Yes, I'm obviously excluding Tokyo area.

Simply walking a few meters from the parking spot to the office everyday is already enough for me.

I've seen people getting into/off trains during rush hour with their eyes glued to their phones.

I'd lose my patience in a week.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Funny you should mention Thunderbird, when I was hit by a car riding my bike, everyone, including the driver, left me laying in the street

10 ( +15 / -5 )

I think it's absolutely the bus driver's fault.

The bus didn't go through on a red technically, but it was a very late yellow - which means to stop at that light if you can safely. All of the karts being filmed had stopped. And in my experience, lights stay yellow here for quite a long time.

Also, she was aware enough to know that the pedestrian light was green, and she wasn't the only one to start walking. The bus driver should have just bitten the bullet and stopped in the middle of the intersection instead of running the pedestrian crossing against the green.

It's not like vehicles jamming up intersections because they've gone through late and the exit at the other side is blocked is uncommon. I see it almost every day on my morning commute.

1 ( +20 / -19 )

We have two eyes, two ears two arms and two legs, all work together in harmony but when you take away 50% of these magnificent systems and allocate them to something other than were they suppose to be you are asking for trouble.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Another mobile zombie walker. /facepalm

Despite what other posters said, the bus is 99% innocent. If it was at fault, don't you think that other people might have bumped into it?

There should be huge fines for those zombies walking on pedestrian crossing with their eyes on the phones. Big fines.

3 ( +17 / -14 )

I agree that while glued to your electronic brain is detrimental to your health (especially at an intersection), the bus went through the light, late

7 ( +14 / -7 )

She is lucky she survived without serious injury. "Strangers" went to help her.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

the walk sign had come on while the bus was still moving across the intersection,

The walk sign was green (or blue) for a full three seconds before the woman and bus collided.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

I just hope the bus was not damaged in any way.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

If (the bus) was at fault, don't you think that other people might have bumped into it?

I agree that she should have been paying more attention. However, there were other people crossing who had to stop; one of them even had to take a step back to avoid the bus. No, when your light turns green, you should reasonably be able to expect that all cross traffic has stopped. That's what the whole system is for.

The walk sign was green (or blue) for a full three seconds before the woman and bus collided.

It's also worth noting that she was on the far side of the crossing, furthest from the bus. The driver should have had plenty of time to see her.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

The bus did enter late but still within legal bounds. The woman was zombie walking focused on her phone. Under normal circumstances (ie; using your phone when stopped and not while crossing an intersection) she would have noticed that all the other crossing pedestrians had stopped when they saw the bus.

Vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians must all pay freaking attention. There will always be some cases of a vehicle or person still in transit when the light turns.

The use of translation apps and google map/gps apps on people's phones make this matter worse.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

Time to put up some of that black netting .......

Seriously, I have been shocked when cycling or driving across that junction, tourists taking selfies or videos continue standing in the middle of the junction after the lights have changed, only moving when vehicles are forced to a standstill and honk at them.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

The pedestrian is an idiot. But, the bus should most definitely not have entered the intersection, especially one as big as this, that late on a yellow light. Bottom-line, the bus didn't yield and caused a collision with a pedestrian who was crossing a crosswalk on a green light. I hope the bus driver doesn't get fired, but he is going to be reprimanded, fined, etc. Again, the pedestrian is an idiot, but it's the bus driver's responsibility to avoid idiots like her who fail to pay attention.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

In any other country it would be, “Woman walks into bus”. In Japan, we always have to know that it was a ‘foreigner’.

-6 ( +17 / -23 )

In any other country it could be, "bus hits woman" or "woman hit by bus".

8 ( +13 / -5 )

This is BS. Although she could have avoided the bus had she paid attention, that’s not the point. The bus should not have been there let alone moving in the first place. It’s irrelevant that she was not paying attention since she probably saw the green light and thought that she was good to go and didn’t pay too much attention to her surrounding afterwards because she thought it was safe.

The bus continued to move even though the green light for pedestrians was active and we can see many people starting to cross and stop seeing the bus coming at them. This is crazy that he continued to move instead of just stopping, actually he shouldn’t have engaged himself in the crossing at all. This is 100% the fault of the bus driver. This is reckless driving and he should be fired. There could have been kids crossing without paying too much attention too.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

id say the bus was going too fast to readily stop at the line preceding the bottom pedestrian walkway without braking too heavily - you can't even see the stop line, its off the bottom of the screen. legal entry into the intersection.

the signals definitely changed too quick for any vehicle to clear the intersection properly, and will likely be extended a second or 2 in the future because of this incident.

now if there was a way to do something to fix the idiots glued to their phones, but unfortunately being an idiot is legal too

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The woman probably saw another- or others - beginning to cross, so she may have casually started out crossing. She was on the inside left of the crossing. Didn’t notice that the pedestrian to her right had stopped. Bus coming across was not at right angles to her and, even out of the corner of her eye, might not have been visible to her as it came across the intersection. She was perhaps over-confident but it looked ( to me) like the bus should have been a little more careful.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

"As such, the argument could be made that the bus isn’t entirely without fault in what happened."

There is a scramble crossing outside of my apartment complex, about a block away. I've timed the lights, and it is utterly ridiculous and no surprise at all the bus sped through the red light -- or at least raced to make it into the intersection before turning red -- and this accident happened. At the aforementioned scramble near where I live, when the lights turn red before the walking light turns green, there is an interval of TEN SECONDS, more often than not when up to a dozen cars will speed through, or sometimes get stuck in the middle because they pushed their limits and decided it's not worth hitting all the people crossing. The interval after the walking signal turns red? ZERO seconds, and even the flashing only lasts two seconds. I've seen elderly people trying to rush across and nearly toppling over so they can make it in time to give the cars their preferential treatment. The driver is "not entirely without fault"? He is entirely AT fault.

Did you know if you ask a Japanese person what the yellow signal means at an intersection nine out of ten will say, with a serious face and true conviction, it means "speed up"? Not coincidentally many think the hazard lights are just a permission slip to illegally park somewhere for a while.

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

It’s yet to be publicly confirmed how the woman managed to walk into the side of a moving bus, but zooming in on her in the traffic camera video (at the point cued below) she looks to be holding some sort of light-emitting object in a partially outstretched hand as she starts making her way across the intersection, which, along with not seeing the bus until she made contact with it, makes it seem like she may have been looking down at her phone instead of keeping her eyes up while attempting to cross the Scramble.

Do these Soranews writers get paid by the word or something? These articles would be way more interesting if every sentence in them didn’t use five times more words to make its point than necessary.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I'm guessing back-to-back nomihodai's leading up to the main event.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Bottom line: She was looking at her phone instead of where she was walking. Period.

She walked full speed into a huge obstacle blocking her path. Everyone else stopped to avoid doing the same because they were paying attention to where they were going.

It's no different than walking into a tree, or a fountain, or off of a train platform while looking at one's phone instead of where they are walking.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

WAKE the F**KUP never cross any street looking down at a phone!

What if she'd been looking left? Or up? Would that still be her fault, or is it only phones that are the problem? The bus approached her from about 3-4 o'clock, perhaps in her blind spot even. Certainly it was in her peripheral vision. I'd even argue that she'd put her phone away before the hit. Hard to tell but it looks that way from the high shot.

It's no different than walking into a tree, or a fountain, or off of a train platform while looking at one's phone instead of where they are walking.

Except that those are stationary. The bus moved into her path, in a place it shouldn't have been in the first place. The green light was on well before the bus entered that part of the crossing.

No, I think the negligence was all the driver's. You're driving a bus into one of the most famous and busiest pedestrian crossings in the world? Yeah, you might want to give way to pedestrians.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Why did you have to specify the mobile zombie walker was "foreigner"??

In any other country the title would have been just "A woman..."

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

The video which shows the bus driver stopping and running to the downed pedestrian also shows that the bus driver is also female. I say this only because every poster refers to the bus driver as "he".

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Upon further review, the bus driver is toast. It's 100% his fault and I can't see the bus company condoning this kind of aggressive and risky driving from one of their employees. He needs to be ticketed and fired. She's still a Class A idiot though...

2 ( +7 / -5 )

the 'foreigner' also probably had earbuds in livestreaming or something and she didnt hear the bus coming

also bus driver looks female as mentioned above, or a very 華奢 male

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

The bus entered the crossing on amber and at the slow speed it was going, had no chance to clear the crossing before the pedestrian signal turned green. Bus driver’s at fault, she could have stopped safely encroaching the crossing only slightly. The pedestrian could just as easily have been hard of hearing, poor or no eyesight, elderley, or had some other disability, once the crossing light goes green, there’s a reasonable expectation of it being safe to cross the road.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Not a legal precedent, but natural law: "the bigger heavier object has the right of way."

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I know it costs money but I'm a fan of the elevated walkways.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I feel weird defending them, but this has nothing to do with the karts.

It looks like the bus went through the crossing on the last millisecond of amber. Given the distance to clear the far side pedestrian crossing, this does not give enough time to clear the junction before pedestrians are actually crossing the road. There may be pedestrian crossings where last millisecond of amber is okay, but this one certainly isn't. The green for pedestrians comes on far too quickly.

Lets be glad this wasn't as bad as it could have been, i.e., if the lead-off pedestrian in the video hadn't noticed the bus and stopped....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I wouldn't be surprised if the bus driver gets fined and/or loses points for this accident - Japanese law will not take into account the woman wasn't paying attention. I mean, if the pedestrian has been blind, we'd all be condemning the bus driver, so this is not so different (under the law).

I had a friend who reversed into a gate by mistake. The gate broke and fell over. An old guy standing a good 5 meters away was startled by the NOISE of the gate hitting the floor so he fell over and injured his arm. My friend lost points and had to pay a fine.

My point is, in Japan when a vehicle and pedestrian are involved in an accident, the vehicle is in the wrong.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Cellphones can kill you, people.

Don't be stupid and stare at them while crossing the road.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

In any other country it would be, “Woman walks into bus”. In Japan, we always have to know that it was a ‘foreigner’.

Because she is a foreigner..

Get over it..

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Lesson learned, she won't do that again

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Some people are not used to right-side driving lanes and tend to look left as they did back home - this happens in Thailand, London as lot as well among tourists

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Honestly, how is this major news?

She walked in to a zebra crossing when she shouldn't have and into the side of a moving bus. Big deal.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

interestingly, at the Scramble, a couple of years ago or so, 'they' introduced the recorded message that 'the signal has turned blue (sic)'.... so now people don't even have to tear their eyes from their window-on-the-world long enough even to check the lights (and why so many people trust the lights rather than checking out the traffic activity is always gobsmacking to me)... have been thinking, whenevr I'm there, that this is an accident waiting to happen. and that's only taking into consideration normal traffic conditions/behaviour... then there are the occasional nutters who drive through crowded intersecttions on purpose! personally, I prefer to take responsibility for myself in such situations....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Requiring an ambulance? Seriously? The fool walked into a bus who has the right of way. Had the bus hit her in front I could see fault but the woman walked into the side of a BUS people. It’s not a little car. It’s a bus. Takes a special kind of person to not see a bus in front of her. She was not paying attention at all. She should have gotten up and left out of embarrassment not sit there and milk it for all its worthy.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Too many drivers in Japan rush through lights, and don't pay attention to others. With rainy season coming soon - as a pretty much full time pedestrian - I know I have to be alert for my fellow pedestrians carrying umbrellas while staring at their phone, and also bicycle riders doing the same thing, on top of watching out for drivers staring at their smart phones. Before I left Abu Dhabi I had to pay a fine around US$750. for running a 'pink' light. I was nailed dead to rights by a camera. Local governments here could pay for the camera system quickly, and safety could be improved by installing a camera system to nail the, car, truck and bus drivers I've seen run pink and even bright red lights.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Cell phone-related mishaps are basically a dog-bites-man story.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Foreigners poking holes in net fences to take photos! Foreigners taking photos of Geisha in Kyoto! Foreigners walking into buses in Shibuya! What is the world coming to? And what next? Foreigners dropping plastic onigiri wrappers in a combustible garbage receptacle? Japan needs "Foreigner Police" in all "touristy" areas to keep Japan safe!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

As a Cyclist I HATE people who walk around reading Manga on their Keitei's.

You can generally see them, and you know that they will be totally unpredictable on purpose, until the last moment.... they do it on purpose, and want you to crash into them, so that they can sue you for money.

it's a bit like seeing a mother with a Hyperactive kid who she doesn't want to control...

You basically have to give them all a wide berth, or simply stop and let them pass, they're the slugs of Society these days... trying to feed off the rubbish that we've in general, adopted.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Nah, if you actually live in Japan then you know that a lot of drivers constantly push the limits too far. I consistently see drivers speed through pedestrian green lights with no regard to the people who are already walking. Most Japanese pedestrians know they have to wait before they can start crossing, even when they have the right of way and sometimes even when the light has already been green for several seconds. The woman here was foolish for not looking where she was going, but the bus driver is very clearly in the wrong, especially in a crosswalk as crowded as Shibuya Scramble. It’s made doubly worse that this was not just a regular civilian driver, but someone driving public transportation as well, putting the passengers at risk. I think there should definitely be some punishment that fits the crime.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I passed through Shibuya at around 4:00 p.m. yesterday. In addition to its usual congestion there is construction going on all over the place, and vehicles were barely able to move even after two or three traffic light changes. So while it's a tough call, I would be inclined to give the bus driver a pass on this one.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I don't blame her so much as everyone else waws crossing while a vehicle was going through. So did the bus driver go through a red light??!

Also, 'Foreign' woman? How do they know - she looks Asian. If they know she is not Japanese, why not state their nationality or include the location they came from since it's kind of irrelevant ?!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

WAIT....so let's point this out!

Mezamashi TV goes there to get video of the Mario Kart Tours. They are there to put the company in a bad light. Then out of nowhere....a "professional bus driver" goes through a red light at the busiest crossing in the world, and hits a foreigner due to overtourism. The irony is laughable.

We don't need to focus on the Mario Karts. We need to focus on the taxis and bus drivers who think they own the road! Poetic Justice indeed.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

That intersection has a much much too short timing for pedestrian crossing for the volume of people there every day. It's barely enough to get across if you're at the front of the sidewalk when it changes and it's busy, let alone someone a few meters back. The timing on the pedestrian signal should be significantly increased and the delay before traffic lights turn green increased, as some taxi drivers there get quite aggressive with stragglers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Smaho-aruki is possible, however legally the bus driver is entirely at fault. I have just been fined 7000 yen and got 2 points in that traffic register because I did exactly what the bus driver did... cross a zebra crossing while a pedestrian was walking towards me. And that was without any red traffic light....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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