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Go-kart driver crashes into taxi after ignoring road sign in Tokyo

56 Comments
By SoraNews24

If you’ve ever visited Tokyo, you may have seen fleets of go-karts pass by you on the roads. These go-kart tours are so popular with overseas tourists that one of the companies that ran them almost went out of business when inbound travellers were banned during the pandemic, but now that foreign visitors are back in bigger numbers than ever before, the go-karts have returned to the roads, much to the chagrin of locals.

While visitors on holiday might view the go-karts as a bit of fun, many local drivers and residents see them as a nuisance, with the Metropolitan Police Department receiving over 100 complaints about them last year. In addition to the 12 accidents that were reported, there were numerous complaints related to noise and traffic violations, with many pointing out that go-kart riders often ignore road rules.

This disregard for road rules appears to be an ongoing concern, because on June 4, a foreign go-kart driver collided with a taxi on Hibiya-dori in Tokyo’s Minato Ward. According to the taxi driver, the accident occurred along the three-lane road when the go-kart came flying out of a side street, obviously ignoring the stop sign that was placed there. 

The kart that caused the accident appeared to have been trailing late behind the group, because it flew out after around five go-karts exited the side street, crashing into the taxi, which was driving along the middle lane of the road.

▼ This report explains the details of the accident, including an interview with the taxi driver involved.

Thankfully nobody was injured in the incident, but the go-kart caused damage to the taxi after crashing into its front left wheel. The taxi driver was initially annoyed, saying he immediately thought “kono yarou” (“you bastard”), but at the same time he was angry at the people in power, criticising the government that permits this type of thing.

As the report above shows, the staff operating the go-kart tours can be seen regularly stepping out of the karts at stop lights to take photos of the participants, while the participants also take photos with their smartphones while driving. TV commentators were critical of these actions, pointing out the potential dangers, and one pondered if the go-kart driver involved in the accident may have been unable to read the “止まれ” (tomare or “stop”) stop sign on the road, causing them to ignore it.

▼ Stop signs in Japan have “stop” written on them in Japanese.

Screenshot-2024-06-13-at-14.21.10.png

▼ In busy areas where the sign might be missed, the word “stop” is painted on the road.

Screenshot-2024-06-13-at-14.21.19.png

While it’s unclear why the go-kart driver ignored the stop sign, with increasing complaints against the tours, the government may have to step in with measures to regulate the industry or abolish it altogether. As one TV commentator mentioned, having fun is a top priority for visitors on holiday, so there should be some sort of requirement for operators to undergo training or keep to some standard before opening up a business.

Online commenters agreed, with some pointing out that because pretty much anyone can run a go-kart business, it puts a question mark over their validity as a company, especially when they display no signs out the front and have a shutter to conceal their existence. Regulation may therefore be in the best interests of both operators and the foreign tourists that use them, but sadly, there may have to be a bigger incident before the government gets involved.

Source: FNN via Hachima Kiko

Insert images: Pakutaso

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- Tokyo’s “real-life Mario Kart” go-kart rental company loses lawsuit against Nintendo

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

56 Comments

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Selfish, low-IQ kidults driving these karts on the streets of the world's biggest metropolis. What could go wrong?

The Tokyo government should show some intelligence and take these things off the streets, and make them drive in a closed off circuit.

13 ( +29 / -16 )

The resentfulness is building.

-4 ( +14 / -18 )

Obviously not a high priority story if this incident occurred ten days ago.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Go karts seem like a bad idea on public roads. Especially if drivers are fooling around.

22 ( +29 / -7 )

It's soooo difficult to get a driver's license in Japan, or costly (one or the other). And yet, these go-karts are allowed on the road with the rest of the vehicles, including big trucks. Make no sense these are still around. But hey! Can't ruin that cool Japan image in anyway, whatever the cost.

10 ( +20 / -10 )

Get rid of these go karts and all the jackasses who ride them.

12 ( +22 / -10 )

I don't like those karts running around and should be banned from public roads.

That being said.... despite the ammount of karts running around on the streets of Tokyo almost every day... the number of accidents minor and major are very low (I may be wrong but I have not heard of accidents with major injuries or deaths).

That means that the business that are managing those business are fairly administrating and controlling the karts when running, and as for the drivers, generally speaking, they are abiding the road rules.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Why didn’t the taxi driver stop in time?

Definitely. Should take some percentage of the blame!

-20 ( +6 / -26 )

I have no idea how they are still on the road with all the rules in japan lol

14 ( +21 / -7 )

Same problem the world over - go-karts, e-bikes and e-scooters, e-rickshaws, they're all given the go-ahead, until people get hurt (usually innocent bystanders / pedestrians), and then the authorities try and reel them all in with rules and regs, but by then it's always too late. Common-sense never seems to get a look-in these days, people should be far more safety-conscious - life, good-health and well-being are the top priorities.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Looking at the video;it is obvious that the taxi driver ran over the cart.

Several carts exited from the side road and the taxi driver should have exercised more care and have anticipated another.

The taxi driver seems to be the one at fault for not stopping in time.

Also, the taxi driver is the one that is a ‘professional’ not the kart driver.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

kurisupisuToday  05:55 pm JST

Looking at the video;it is obvious that the taxi driver ran over the cart.

Several carts exited from the side road and the taxi driver should have exercised more care and have anticipated another.

The taxi driver seems to be the one at fault for not stopping in time.

Also, the taxi driver is the one that is a ‘professional’ not the kart driver.

Go kart driver blew a stop sign and the police confirmed it. Yet you say the taxi driver is at fault because he didn't stop in time? Maybe because he was expecting a vehicle to stop at a stop sign.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

How do you know the kart driver didn’t stop?

On the taxi driver’s word?

Where is the video of the crash?

If the kart driver had hit the side of the cab then it would be more clear cut but the taxi driver actually ran over the kart ie the kart was in front of the cab at the time of the collision.

Also, the kart is smaller than the taxi putting the taxi driver in a more responsible position than the kart driver.

The raxi driver therefore should take more of the blame than the kart driver.

Anything less than 60/40 or 50/50 would be discriminatory based in my time and knowledge of driving here.

-17 ( +4 / -21 )

And where is the interview with the kart driver?

It seems one sided to me.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

I keep singing that Instagram song.....Dumb ways to die.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

An accident waiting to happen.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

kurisupisuToday  06:40 pm JST

How do you know the kart driver didn’t stop?

On the taxi driver’s word?

Where is the video of the crash?

If the kart driver had hit the side of the cab then it would be more clear cut but the taxi driver actually ran over the kart ie the kart was in front of the cab at the time of the collision.

Also, the kart is smaller than the taxi putting the taxi driver in a more responsible position than the kart driver.

The raxi driver therefore should take more of the blame than the kart driver.

Anything less than 60/40 or 50/50 would be discriminatory based in my time and knowledge of driving here.:

Because the article mentioned several times that they didn't. That's what was provided. You can speculate all you want based on no evidence. LOL!

While it’s unclear why the go-kart driver ignored the stop sign,

7 ( +11 / -4 )

There are good reasons why go-karts are not street legal in other countries. One is that they are too low to the ground to be safely visible to other vehicles. That they are allowed in Tokyo for the sake of "inbound tourism" is utterly mind boggling. Go-carts belong in closed circut tracks with other go-carts.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Inevitable. Now maybe these stupid things get banned before someone dies.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

As much as I hate those carts, I don't trust taxi drivers either when it comes to accidents.

I have been in 4 accidents while driving in Japan in 30 plus years, all 4 involved taxis, in three (3) I was hit from behind while stopped 2 at a red light 1 at a stop sign, the 4th I was hit from the side into my rear passenger door while in the only lane for cars and like thec3 previous accidents the taxis driver's lied and tried saying I somehow hit them , yes stopped at a red light I supposedly backed up and hit on coming taxis.

I when to court all 4 times with the taxi drivers losing in each case!

So the video only shows the cart under the front wheel of the taxi so we are to take the taxi drivers word, right?

How do you know the cart wasn't making a legal lane change and the taxi just ignored and rand into the cart?

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Someone must have put FAT BROWN envelop the the pockets of the transportation ministry officials , city mayor, and the Tokyo police department and got the approval for these carts, NO DOUBT about it.

Very unusual by all Japanese standards to have such a HAZARD rampaging the streets of a large city such as Tokyo.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

So who is making money here, when you are done checking let us know, Guaranteed a big FAT CAT is behind this mess.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Only old people reported them. 100 reports. Sad little people who just upset foreigners have fun. As for the accident who cares. Happens all the time. More bikes run into other cars than these go carts. 1 crash out of how many? And like others mentioned it happened so long ago. Not even news.

-15 ( +5 / -20 )

WoodyLee

Today 07:52 pm JST

Very unusual by all Japanese standards to have such a HAZARD rampaging the streets of a large city such as Tokyo.

Actually it is very normal in Japan!

Not a single day goes by without seeing at least several dozen bicycle riders ignore every stop sign, ride on sidewalks zigzag through traffic, run red lights, ride against traffic (even in bike lanes clearly marked with one way arrows, etc...

So the idea of vehicles on the road not following the rules is very normal in Japan!

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I love how the news report begins with nice big labels for the taxi and the kart, just in case there's any doubt which one is which. Gotta love Japanese terebi!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

One go kart has an accident and it is news. Maybe he didn't stop at the stop sign, but how many taxis do not stop at a red light every day? I drive a lot and i would say the biggest dangers are suicidal cyclists and people who don't stop at red lights, and the majority of them seem to be driving taxis.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Comparing bicycles, and their riders' behavior is not comparable. While plenty of accidents occur involving bicycles, most are used by people in Japan to commute to work or school, and by housewives to go shopping. In contrast, driving a go-cart is nothing more than a joy ride for the tourists, and money in the pockets of the operators.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

OssanAmerica

Today 08:33 pm JST

Comparing bicycles, and their riders' behavior is not comparable. While plenty of accidents occur involving bicycles, most are used by people in Japan to commute to work or school, and by housewives to go shopping. In contrast, driving a go-cart is nothing more than a joy ride for the tourists, and money in the pockets of the operators

And what makes everything that is fun and makes money for operators any different?

Tour bus, amusement parks, rental bikes etc...

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

As a general rule, foreigners should not be allowed to legally drive any type of vehicle in Japan. Since many signaling systems are very much destinations from other countries.

A foreign driver who is not familiar with Japanese road signs. He might confuse a sign, which in his home country means a different thing.

I am a bus driver and have driven in practically every country on the European continent. Especially in the 90's. And I can tell you that there were very different signals from one country to another. And in former Soviet bloc countries I could tell you personal stories.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

So many places in the world are locked in to rules and regulations.

Go karting in Tokyo is not my cup of tea, but I have to hand it to the powers that be for letting it happen.

As for this accident: it could just as easily have happened on a bicycle.

Ban bicycles? No!

gary

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Perhaps there was confusion with the sign, even though "STOP" is written in Japanese. "STOP" signs I have seen in countries I have visited are Octagonal and "RED" universally and not "Triangular" which in most countries are yellow and means caution. Just my observation!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

And regarding my previous message. I wanted to specify that I was referring to foreign tourists visiting Japan. Those that come once in a lifetime, in the form of a vacation.

Not to foreigners who have their permanent residence or who have a Japanese driver's license.

I hope the above message was not misunderstood.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@MilesTeg

> Because the article mentioned several times that they didn't. That's what was provided. You can speculate all you want based on no evidence. LOL!

.

That they didn’t what?

Give me a proper sentence to work on,please…?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

getting a drivers license isn’t that hard, like someone said it is. read the book, take the test, pass the driving test.

some folks are just unlucky. never had an accident during 25 years in japan. or i’m the lucky one?

go karts? meh. but people like different things.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Allowing people who think they are playing "Mario-Kart" on public roads seems like a terrible idea. After all, who hasn't died in that game?

Don't get me wrong. Go-Karts are fun on a track, in a nice spring day at lunch time. Take a few friends and have a fun time racing for 30-60 minutes - it will really break up the day. At a prior job, we did this once a week during the 1 month in spring and fall where the weather was beautiful. Then, we'd get back into a full-sized cars and drive back to work, disappointed with the performance. Compared to a Go-Kart, normal cars just don't have the acceleration or turning grip. I'd recommend AGAINST wearing a white shirt, since the rubber flakes off and the shirt will be speckled the rest of the day. Or bring a fresh shirt for after?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

First and foremost those “ GoKarts “ shouldn’t be on the public roads especially in city areas of Tokyo! They should be banned from all public roads and designated parks be created for those things!

Secondly, in this case the taxi driver is also to share part of the blame.

Thirdly, as a foreigner if you get into a road accident you will be charged and prosecuted regardless of it not being your fault! If you don’t believe me than just check out the road accident case in Nagoya where the foreigner was arrested, put in jail detention for the duration of his case even though video footage clearly showed the other Japanese driver on a scooter who ran a red light and hit the foreigner drivers car at the intersection was to blame! But the Japanese police arrested the foreigner driver on the spot and put him in jail and the Japanese prosecutors charged him. Luckily he got a good decent judge who tossed out the case instantly after reviewing the video footage!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Probably being the only person on her who has actually ridden these go-karts before, basically, all you need is either a Japanese drivers license or an international driving permit and pay about Y10,000 - Y20,000 to rent one. I've rented about a dozen of them in my years here (with friends as well) and we never had to take any road tests. Luckily, I've lived here long enough to know what they mean but my post is just to highlight the process of renting them and how easy it is for anyone to get into one of these things and for stuff like this to happen. I've gone to three of these companies and not one of them gave me a road test or anything. Just a short video and lecture about wearing seatbelts, watch out for other cars, etc;, what route you're allowed to drive, you pay, choose your costume and then you're off to do whatever you want for the next hour or two. I think these companies should be required to educate everyone on traffic signs and test them before letting them out on the roads but they just don't so you can't fully blame the driver in this situation. You've gotta blame the rental agencies, too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Did anyone bother to watch the attached video? As a Japanese speaker, I can tell you right away that the amount of racism and xenofobia on that video, from both news casters and taxi driver, is uttter ridiculous. I mean just watch it, don't need to take my word for it...

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

They need to be banned asap.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

AntiquesavingJune 13  08:36 pm JST

OssanAmerica

Today 08:33 pm JST

Comparing bicycles, and their riders' behavior is not comparable. While plenty of accidents occur involving bicycles, most are used by people in Japan to commute to work or school, and by housewives to go shopping. In contrast, driving a go-cart is nothing more than a joy ride for the tourists, and money in the pockets of the operators

And what makes everything that is fun and makes money for operators any different?

Tour bus, amusement parks, rental bikes etc...

Go-carts were never designed to be used on the streets with other (larger) vehicles and pedestrians because they were made for designated or closed tracks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Comparing is not comparable? It seems that comparing bicycles with go-carts is. . .comparing? You can compare practically anything to something else. Here, bicycles and go-carts seem comparable. Of course, I could be wrong. But I don't think so.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The video is full of criticism and vies to find ‘legal opinion’ to put the kart drivers in the wrong.

Clearly, a large part of this is just due to the resentment against free spending tourists sparking jealousy amongst the locals.

Unlike most posters here, I drive regularly and drive all over.

I get to see the mostly good level of driving but there are complete fools on the road here too.

Even my local area is full of traffic violations.

If I walk 5 minutes to my nearest main road then I can see drivers running red lights 24/7.

And yes, I’ve personally witnessed several accidents at the nearest junction.

Funny how these incidents don’t make the news?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

kurisupisuJune 13  05:41 pm JST

Why didn’t the taxi driver stop in time?

Definitely. Should take some percentage of the blame!

No doubt he will. In road accidents in Japan, it's very rare for any 1 driver to be assigned 100% of the blame.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kart racer thought he had a flashing star?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Stop that circus..

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

OssanAmerica

Today 05:24 am JST

Go-carts were never designed to be used on the streets with other (larger) vehicles and pedestrians because they were made for designated or closed tracks.

Using that logic then we can't compare anything!

Look at the standing e-scooters, new contraptions basses on kick scooters for children never meant as road vehicles and now as big a hazard as any go-kart, but again you and others (including myself) don't like these go-karts, so you and others will dismiss anything said just because you don't like the idea!

Like it or not, just like e-scooters, these go-karts were modified to be road complient, so that is how things are!

But like @kurisupisu

Today 05:46 am JST

Pointed out, watch the video and look at all the past articles in the last month and this is just another dog pile anti-tourist xenophobic hit piece, if the drivers were mostly Japanese, this would not be news and anyone that is honest knows that!

I live near Ueno/Akihabara and have had to deal with these things for years but they are still far less a danger than the daily and every time I drive problems with bicycles.

I may run into these karts one a week in the area, but old ladies and housewives on a bicycle running a stop sign or cutting into traffic, nearly running me over on the sidewalk, well that is a daily thing, just walking out my front door that like many homes in Tokyo is only a metre off the road means often dodging someone on a bicycle going the wrong way on a one-way street and not paying attention!

At least these go-karts have someone trying to keep them in line to try and follow the rules and at least all the drivers have licenses.

Bicycle riders for the most part are clueless of the road laws.

When in Meiji-dori with bike lanes I see several bicycles going opposite to the traffic in a bike lane with giant blue arrows pointing in the opposite direction they are riding, I would say this is far worse than these karts, and boy oh boy if I as a gaijin have the misfortune to hit one of these bicycle riders going the wrong way that would be headline news "foreigner hit old lady, etc..." they won't care if she was actually in the wrong.

What bothers me more isn't the Japanese news because this is expected, it is the foreigners here willing to ignore and make excuses for the behaviour of these so-called reporters and news organizations!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Stop writing painted on the road as writing. That really sucks. So it’s the fault of city council and authorities who are unable to put a sign. How bad the road is not to be able to put a traffic sign? That road should be closed to traffic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Stop signs in Japan have “stop” written on them in Japanese.

Actually in most of the areas these karts go, the signs now also have stop!

In busy areas where the sign might be missed, the word “stop” is painted on the road.

And on a rainy day or when the paint has worn away, then we have only the often "I spy" stop sign that can be anywhere on the left, right, behind a tree, 3 to 4 metres high attached to a building 2 metres from the road, it is often anyone's guess as to where a stop sign is actually located!

We have one on the next road over that is attached to the school building at the 3rd floor level behind the trees on the sidewalk, and take a guess what is on the other side of the intersection nearly every day?

Yes the police, and they just hand out tickets like it is Christmas as 90%bof drivers not from the local area miss the sign, and the writing on the street is about half gone!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

kurisupisuJune 13  09:45 pm JST

@MilesTeg

Because the article mentioned several times that they didn't. That's what was provided. You can speculate all you want based on no evidence. LOL!*

.

That they didn’t what?

Give me a proper sentence to work on,please…?

Connect the dots. A child can do it.

kurisupisuToday  05:46 am JST

The video is full of criticism and vies to find ‘legal opinion’ to put the kart drivers in the wrong.

Clearly, a large part of this is just due to the resentment against free spending tourists sparking jealousy amongst the locals.

Unlike most posters here, I drive regularly and drive all over.

I get to see the mostly good level of driving but there are complete fools on the road here too.

Even my local area is full of traffic violations.

If I walk 5 minutes to my nearest main road then I can see drivers running red lights 24/7.

And yes, I’ve personally witnessed several accidents at the nearest junction.

Funny how these incidents don’t make the news?

I think a lot of posters here drive including myself. That you say this as some proof that you're right is laughable. Get off your high horse. You're nothing special. Sounds like you have an issue with taxi drivers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

MilesTeg

Today 09:28 am JST

I think a lot of posters here drive including myself. That you say this as some proof that you're right is laughable. Get off your high horse. You're nothing special. Sounds like you have an issue with taxi drivers.

I don't know about that first part!

The fact I pointed out that there doesn't seem to be any convention on where a stop sign is located in Japan (basically any place they can fit it) got quite a few down votes, makes me wonder if anyone does drive!

You tell me, is there a consistency in stop sign location?

I out right now in my looking at a stop sign, it it on a 2 direction road, I would say 3 metres high on the opposite side of the road ( car drives on the left the sign is 3 metres high on a telephone pole on the right side) and yes there is a stop line but no 止まれ written on the road.

But point this out and Soo many here don't like it!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

AntiquesavingToday  09:56 am JST

MilesTeg

Today 09:28 am JST

*I think a lot of posters here drive** including myself. That you say this as some proof that you're right is laughable. Get off your high horse. You're nothing special. Sounds like you have an issue with taxi drivers.*

I don't know about that first part!

The fact I pointed out that there doesn't seem to be any convention on where a stop sign is located in Japan (basically any place they can fit it) got quite a few down votes, makes me wonder if anyone does drive!

You tell me, is there a consistency in stop sign location?

I out right now in my looking at a stop sign, it it on a 2 direction road, I would say 3 metres high on the opposite side of the road ( car drives on the left the sign is 3 metres high on a telephone pole on the right side) and yes there is a stop line but no 止まれ written on the road.

But point this out and Soo many here don't like it!

What are you rambling on about this time? You tell me...did I make a comment on stop sign locations? I don't care that you're crying about others not liking your obsessive posts or your hypersensitivity about stop signs. You're arguing by yourself, alone.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

To the people here claiming Japanese language understanding and that xenophobia occured in this video -really?? It seems to me you didn't understand a word from what was being said - especially the comments around 9:50, etc. It was a pretty objective analysis of the dangers posed by having tourists doing this activity. In the end it was clearly said that Japanese themselves aren't respecting the driving rules carefully, thus can't suddenly start blaming foreigners just because they're foreigners and must look deeper into reasoning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MilesTeg

Today 01:21 pm JST

What are you rambling on about this time? You tell me...did I make a comment on stop sign locations? I don't care that you're crying about others not liking your obsessive posts or your hypersensitivity about stop signs. You're arguing by yourself, alone.

If anyone is hypersensitive I think it is you.

Read the article! Look at the photos!

The stop sign thing is right there but I guess you didn't go that far.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

AntiquesavingToday  03:33 pm JST

MilesTeg

Today 01:21 pm JST

What are you rambling on about this time? You tell me...did I make a comment on stop sign locations? I don't care that you're crying about others not liking your obsessive posts or your hypersensitivity about stop signs. You're arguing by yourself, alone.

If anyone is hypersensitive I think it is you.

Read the article! Look at the photos!

The stop sign thing is right there but I guess you didn't go that far.

So what? I didn't post anything about nor discussed locations of stop signs. Sounds like you're frustrated and mad that everybody who you tried to argue with about this is ignoring you and I understand why. Get a hint....nobody cares about the location of stop signs except you.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No more bickering please.

Anyway, these carts should probably be restricted to private roads. Sadly, Japanese drivers are clearly incapable of accommodating them on their roads.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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