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More than 90% of vehicles don't stop at crosswalks without lights despite presence of pedestrians

96 Comments

Despite the presence of pedestrians on crosswalks without traffic lights, a recent survey showed that more 90% of drivers did not stop.

From Aug 15 to Sept 1, the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) conducted a survey at 94 pedestrian crosswalks nationwide where traffic lights were not installed, Fuji TV reported Wednesday.

According to results, among the 10,026 vehicles observed, only 757 stopped for crossing pedestrians — a mere 7.6% of the total.

The JAF said it will increase efforts “to educate drivers to always stop for pedestrians at crosswalks” by incorporating this message into a future campaign.

© Japan Today

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96 Comments
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This even applies to Japan's taxis and buses.

Japanese public buses in particular don't stop at crosswalks without traffic lights, and run red lights soon after they have changed to green with impunity. I see it all the time.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

And 99.9% of those same drivers do not even hesitate at stop signs.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

It's true. I've almost died (or got hit) few times. I walk a lot to my schools, and I usually have to dodge cars, trucks, and motorcycles when I'm crossing a street with a crosswalk, but no light.

But not only crosswalks. I'd say most Japanese people run red lights every day. 1 red light = usually 1 or 2 cars running it every time. I'm surprised the police don't give out tickets as much.

25 ( +27 / -2 )

Red lights, crosswalks, stop signs .... you name it. But this really ain't no news. It has been like this for decades.

If the police were a little more strict concerning this and showed more presence ... things might change.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

@ richaado - same here

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The JAF said it will increase efforts “to educate drivers to always stop for pedestrians at crosswalks” by incorporating this message into a future campaign.

Hell you'd better start with the cops as they don't stop all the time either. For as long as people have been driving here, and crosswalks painted lines have been on the roads, it's kind of laughable, in a sad way, that JAF has finally gotten around to this issue. While you are at it, PLEASE get people to actually STOP at stop signs!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I would be afraid of being rear-ended by one of the 90%.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Is it the law that they stop? If not, then how can you make them? If it is, then if I take a photo of the license plate and take it to the copshop, will there be repercussions for the driver?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I was pretty shocked when wandering around our neighborhood in Saitama, that no one stopped when I was waiting at a crosswalk. Presumably, a lot of the drivers are also occasional pedestrians, so when they didn't stop, I was pretty disappointed.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This dangerous and obnoxious driver behaviour used to surprise me when I first came to Japan. However, after a few years of witnessing it, it turned me into an obnoxious pedestrian. Now, I make a point of stepping in front of these expletives and making them stop. However, I must add, I have had a few close calls with cars that still refuse to stop and swerve around me and have been abused many times as well. The list of donkey's-butt driving is extensive in Japan. Not stopping at pedestrian crossings, running red lights, speeding, not using indicators, using mobile phones and headphones, watching TV, playing video games, reading newspapers across the steering wheel, putting on make up while steering with a knee, not wearing seat belts, unrestrained kids with their faces on the windscreen or babies sitting on grandma's lap in the front seat, child seats mounted in the front seat in front of the airbag and people driving around with two or three dogs on their lap. I drive every day and have seen it all too many times. Gambling is illegal in Japan, until you get on the roads. Then, you gamble with your life!

25 ( +26 / -1 )

I've only experienced this since moving to Tokyo. When I lived in Nagasaki it simply never happened. The drivers were so laid-back and considerate that they would slow down even if there was nobody at the crosswalk, just in case.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Crossing a street anywhere safely is an acquired skills. Unfortunately, it's one that doesn't seem to be taught in Japan. In fact, if anything is taught to school children, it's an unsafe method (raise your arm and proceed across without making eye contact). The keys are eye contact, initiative, and timing - and knowing when these aren't working! I've seen many traffic streams stopped this way. Of course, it requires focus by the pedestrian: no staring at a smart phone or listening to tunes.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This happens everyday at the crossing I use to go to work. It is 3 metres away from a koban, the police are standing out front, they don't even bat an eyelid.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

if anything is taught to school children, it's an unsafe method (raise your arm and proceed across without making eye contact).

Many kindergartens teach them to run across the crossing holding hands in pairs. I've seen a huge pile up kids doing this when one pair fell over. It&s just plane stoopid!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Classic uchi vs soto.

The people in the car don't care at all about what the people outside think. Driving in Japan explodes the myth that Japanese are more polite or courteous than other nationalities. They are downright inconsiderate and dangerous to pedestrians.

I am British. I have had cars stop for me in the UK when pushing my daughter in her pushchair despite the fact that there was no pedestrian crossing and the car had the right of way. Here in Japan, I'd be risking our lives to step onto a crossing with a car approaching and assuming that it would stop.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

This isn't surprising at all. One of the things that surprised me when I moved to Hiroshima in 2003 was that drivers didn't stop at crossings. I now live in Yokohama, and it's the same. One evening last week, I was waiting at a crosswalk with about 4-5 other pedestrians. I counted four cars that passed by us without stopping before I stuck my arm out and stepped out forcing the fifth car to stop. He stopped but looked extremely annoyed.

There are so many traffic laws that get broken every day. The police could make a fortune in fines if they took the time to issue tickets!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I remember vividly in Japanese driving school that vehicle should stop and allow pedestrian to pass. An acquaintance told me that he got a ticket for not letting an old man pass, so I would really think it was a law. But we all notice that it does not happen.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

If the police clamped down on this for a month, and fined each infraction with ¥15,000, Japan could clear its national debt.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Wrembreck, why on earth don't you go and have a word with those police, as you see infractions, be there!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

JAPANTODAY, can you please answer Maria's question, above? We would like to know! I will gladly write down license plate numbers and submiet them if there will be some notice taken by the police in my area.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I forgot to add "not using indicators when turning" or they would use as they turn, in Singapore you can see several placards along the street that would say BE POLITE, USE SIGNAL LIGHT AHEAD something like that as I remember.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm teaching my son (10 years) to do as I do: arm up and out, make eye contact, make a step onto the road, wait for the traffic to slow, look both ways, and if cycling, WALK the bike, and proceed. I've already had a couple of close calls, however. But some drivers will stop, especially if I'm crossing with my son.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

run red lights soon after they have changed to green

How do you run red lights if they are green? Aren't you suppose to drive away after they turn green?

Anyway, lol at all the horror stories about the behavior of Japanese drivers. I was just in Fukuoka and I'll have to say, the drivers are fairly aggressive, nothing like small town drivers in North America, for example. But if you think that's bad, I hope you make it out in one piece if you ever have to deal with drivers in say, Indonesia or China.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese public buses in particular don't stop at crosswalks without traffic lights, and run red lights soon after they have changed to green with impunity. I see it all the time.

Really? I have had no problems with them in Osaka or Kyoto, they stop nicely in front of pedestrian and let you take your time crossing the street. Cars however, pedestrian crossing or not, traffic light or not, wont stop.

However, after a few years of witnessing it, it turned me into an obnoxious pedestrian. Now, I make a point of stepping in front of these expletives and making them stop. However, I must add, I have had a few close calls with cars that still refuse to stop and swerve around me and have been abused many times as well.

Same here, the glares I get even though they are in the wrong....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Forget JAF, it's the COPS who should be doing something about this, and the flagrant disregard for red lights. I actually tapped on the window of a police car that had stopped at a red light (having been behind at least two cars that had ignored it right in front of them) and asked why they didn't do anything. They told me something to the effect that they were on a routine drive-around, and not out to ticket anyone.

They do like to drive around the city with their lights flashing, but it is yet another example of the 'Look how hard I am working (while not actually achieving anything)' behaviour which is so popular here.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Definitely agree with above comments about being an "obnoxious pedestrian" and just walking out anyway! And always at a leisurely pace to show the driver that you know you have right of way.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Definitely agree with above comments about being an >"obnoxious pedestrian" and just walking out anyway

I suggest anyone doing this keep a wary eye on the cars. It's your limbs and life at stake here.

I've done this a few times, only to have the driver swerving or slamming hard on the brakes. Fact is, right or wrong, the drivers are not expecting this, and this kind of surprise only ends in raised blood pressure or injury/death/destruction.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

and yet japan has a lower fatality rate than most industrialized countries at 4.7 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is lower than australia (5.4), canada (6.0), finland (4.8), etc. this is even true if you calculate it per 100,000 cars. so although it may appear reckless to you, it obviously works for this country.

Moderator: You're on the wrong thread.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What if the driver is distracted or having a medical condition? I made it out of Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka alive and well because I have the basic common sense to not expect cars will ALWAYS stop for me, even in a country where they almost always do. If it looks like they won't, I let them pass first.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are some activist / protest sites on YouTube, such as:

https://www.youtube.com/user/MYAWNK/featured

Pretty shocking stuff!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Brent Hine My school HAS spoken with the police, many times. Our students cross there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Gaijindesu

I've done this a few times, only to have the driver swerving or slamming hard on the brakes. Fact is, right or wrong, the drivers are not expecting this, and this kind of surprise only ends in raised blood pressure or injury/death/destruction.

Great point. I have often thought about faking a driver out and pretending to step in front of them to give them a fright, but I am concerned that the driver may swerve into oncoming traffic or pedestrians on the other side. Now I content myself with carrying my phone in my hand while walking, and pretending to film cars as they ignore me at the crossing. I am pretty sure it doesn't achieve anything but it makes me feel a little less powerless.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I never, ever walk without waiting for the driver to actually slow down. But, other cars come around corners while I am already crossing, etc. There are also many times I am walking on a sidewalk, and drivers turn into driveways, or pull out of parking garages right in front of me.

I made it out of Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka alive and well because I have the basic common sense to not expect cars will ALWAYS stop for me, even in a country where they almost always do.

I am alive too, in case you didn't notice. I have survived 8 years in a country where MOST drivers do not stop, see article for reference. Sounds like you are not a resident of Japan, so I am not sure why you think your experience is more valid than the report cited in this article.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I always assumed cars don't have to stop since they NEVER do so. It is logical and safe therefore to expect them never to stop, and to act accordingly. Of course that does raise the issue of why these pedestrian crossings exist in the first place, but I'd rather be safe than right on this issue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Correction - good YouTube crosswalk activist site at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/MYAWNK

Rude / criminal driving documented in over 200 videos.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One of the biggest problems I have when stopping at crosswalks while driving is that car(s) coming from the other direction or cars in the lane next to mine won't stop.

The pedestrian trying to cross will start walking since I stopped but then almost get hit by those other cars that don't stop.

Same when I'm the pedestrian. It's a dangerous situation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In Japan it's fine to run a red light, but not if speeding! Strange but true! Selectively choosing which laws to enforce and which not to,have turned the Japanese motorist into a danger! People are being slaughtered and it is all rectifiable!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yeah, this is a critical problem in Japan, it's so damn dangerous. Coming from Australia, it's basically illegal to not stop for pedestrians at crossings so this poses an especial risk to Aussies used to just walking out. I do hope they change this poor behaviour before the Olympics

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Everyone saying the police need to get in gear is right. According to the Japanese article I read on the issue, by law you are supposed to stop at crossings for pedestrians and apparently the penalties for not doing so are a (max) 3-month jail term or a 50,000yen fine.

Reading the comments section on another website, it seems most Japanese drivers give the same kind of excuses that 'Speed' (above) does. 'Cars in other lanes won't stop, so I don't stop', 'traffic will build up behind me if I stop', 'I'll get rear-ended if I stop', 'I can't tell if the pedestrian really wants to cross or not', etc.

It's just inconsiderate and against the law. Again if the laws were actually upheld, behaviour might change.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I've also noticed that the Missouri Stop (rolling through a stop sign or signal without coming to a full stop) is quite common among many Japanese drivers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I was in Gaienmae a few weeks ago when one night, a guy crosses the street even though the pedestrian light is red and cars are coming and going. He slowly and calmly crossed the street making the cars stop or swerve around him. The drivers did not use their horns or gesture (no equivalent of the bird) or yell. All just gave him an evil stare! I thought the guy was lucky as I know if I pulled that stunt, I would be flattened!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yeah intersections with lights, without & cross walks are all DANGEROUS to both pedestrians & to those driving cars.

Cops are no where to be seen until an accident happens, so the result is VERY POOR behavior by ALL concerned, those walking & drivers, combined its made the nightmare we all witness day in day out.

When I first started driving I stopped at crosswalks only to nearly rear ended honked at etc, to me it appeared that cars aren't required to stop.....

Pedestrians, & I am one as well, also have habits to cross streets etc all over the place, on red lights etc. THATS why I say BOTH groups are as bad as the other

And if you don't drive, let me tell you the worst is coming up to a light that's about to change with someone right on your A$$ that you can see isn't backing off & maybe accelerating & if its a truck, well you need to go through the red light, I am ALWAYS conscious of vehicles behind me as they are a clear & present danger!

Bottom line is its a damned nightmare, big reason for it is that lack of cops out working PERIOD!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Local government , national road safety commision; the responsibility has to be shared by installing lighting over EVERY zebra crossing, not randomly as they are now. Cyclists wearing dark clothing/winter plunging out of the dark onto crossings, that's a crap shoot right there, even if the car's stopped

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Bad, dangerous driving is a cultural problem that's ingrained in some societies, Japan being one of them. In my experience Scandinavian nations had the best drivers (read "tolerant and respectful of pedestrians, bicycles etc"), Oz and NZ doing ok too at least much better than South/West or Eastern Europe.

In countries like India, Pakistan, Thailand (well all SEA), China and yes, Japan, pedestrians are seen as 'sub-humans' who do not deserve as much respect/attention on roads. They are at the bottom of the pyramid, whereas big and expensive vehicles top it. It would take drastic measures to change attitudes and driving etiquette. And yes as Tony says, big fines.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Pedestrians have right of way on crossings, but police will do nothing unless you're actually injured.

big reason for it is that lack of cops out working PERIOD!

Policing is purely reactive: investigating after the fact, or following orders to target a specific misdemeanour.

If you're injured (人身事故), the cops will prosecute, but don't expect any action on near-misses.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

dcog9065SEP. 29, 2016 - 10:50AM JST

Yeah, this is a critical problem in Japan

Almost all Japanese, both pedestrians and drivers, see it non-issue. You will not risk yourself by walking in front of a moving car anyway. Why bother? Maybe the only ones who are complaining are foreigners form certain countries. Tax money is better spent elsewhere.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Enjoying these comments! I don't believe that it's a cultural thing or that all Japanese drivers are bad though. I’d be interested in hearing where in Japan people are having these experiences.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Brent Hine: Hurrah! The same instructions to your son apply to many things in life. Think for yourself!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've wondered why they even bother painting pedestrian crossings on the road in Japan. Most cars ignore them giving pedestrians at best a false sense of security.

In some countries if you stand near the side of one cars will stop, but if you do that in Japan cars keep driving through. The only way is to step onto the road and hope the approaching cars stop.

I would like to see statistics for how many people are hit or killed at pedestrian crossings in Japan and compare with other countries where the laws are enforced.

A "public awareness campaign" won't be enough. People know speeding is against the law but they do it anyway because they know they won't be charged for it. People drive straight through pedestrian crossings for the same reason.

Solution is to fine and jail for people who don't stop at pedestrian crossings and back it up with an aggressive enforcement campaign by police.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Indeed it sometimes feels like signs and signals are optional here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The police do absolutely nothing about cars parked on the side of the road, children not wearing seatbelts, cars going through red lights, cars not stopping for crosswalks...But They seem them very busy asking cyclists for their licenses. Priorities.....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As a driver in Tokyo, 2 occasions:

Stop at crosswalk, and pedestrian proceeds to cross. Car approaches fast from behind, and pulls out to pass not considering, or caring, why I am stopped. Pedestrian was oblivious until I blasted warning. It was close.

Stop at crosswalk in heavy traffic, with large truck stopped in the traffic around 10 m ahead of me. Pedestrians cross, but pay no consideration to other lane opposing traffic - especially considering visibility restricted by truck, perhaps assuming since I stopped everyone will stop. Fast car from other direction while pedestrians chatting and walking. Again blast from my horn to alert them all to the danger. Another close call.

I have become very nervous stopping to let pedestrians cross. I would hope that the other drivers were on the same page, and the pedestrians also payed attention, not to be lulled into some sense of security by my action.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have even had the feeling that some cars speed up when I walk across the street to threaten me for inconveniencing them,,,

In any case, I feel Tokyo is safer than NYC or Florida. Florida has the highest pedestrian death rate in the US, and you can turn right on a red light making it even harder for pedestrians. In NYC I was almost flattened by a black SUV running a red light with blaring horn. It was either the feds, or the Russian mafia.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Road accident is the biggest cause of accidental deaths among children. About 60% of pedestrian accidents occur while pedestrians are crossing the road." Deaths are much higher at crossings where there no traffic lights. From K. Okamura, S. Ito, Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis, Tokyo, Japan, "Pedestrian Road Accidents in Japan"

"In Japan, where pedestrian deaths account for a third of road traffic fatalities, 7.4% of victims die from hit-and-run accidents" from a research paper "Factors contributing to driver choice after hitting a pedestrian in Japan".

Japan: If you want to protect your children order police to strictly enforce the pedestrian crossing law.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I like Japan and hate being a complaining gaijin, but two things completely baffle me.

This not stopping at the crossing, and adults encouraging their kids to ride on the wrong side of the road.

In any other country, adults would rebuke their kids for riding on the wrong side of the road, but half the time I see kids riding on the right hand side here even when there are wide sidewalks, their is an idiot mother in a bike behind them telling them where to ride.

As for stopping - I always stop. Just remember those of you who said the cops don't care - one day they will give you a ticket for it, and saying everyone does it won't matter.

I always stop. And then if cars coming the other way don't stop, I hold out my hand showing them they need to stop, and blow the horn at them.

Terrible I know. But someone has to educate these people. It's ridiculous seeing people wait for ages.

And then it leads to another problem. People think there's no point to waiting at a crossing so they just cross anywhere - especially old people. Road fatalities are mostly older people.

And the ultimate irony? It costs more to get a license in Japan than anywhere I know so they THINK they are better. Except of course for the 70% of people who are "paper drivers" who assure me they can't drive anymore.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In my hometown in California, if police notice a "problem" crosswalk (one where cars don't stop), they'll send out a plainclothes policewoman to walk back and forth all day while a patrol car observes nearby, ticketing all who do not stop. Since the same people generally drive the same road each day, one day of this generally solves the problem.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"The JAF said it will increase efforts “to educate drivers to always stop for pedestrians at crosswalks” by incorporating this message into a future campaign."

Enough of this "we'll try to educate/get you to understand" BS that will just be walked all over. Start ARRESTING people who break the law, and by law cars must stop if pedestrians are crossing at a zebra crossing, and needless to say they must stop at red lights. No more excuses -- no more saying Japan is safe when there are constantly accidents because cars don't stop and people expect them to. Why do pedestrians have to wait at pedestrian crossings or risk being hit?

How about police start doing their jobs? Next time they conduct such a survey get the permission of the authorities to monitor license plates and take pictures of those speeding and/or ignoring the laws, and charge each and every one of them according to the law. Second, when the inevitable whining by people about how 'inconvenient' the laws and safety are, DON'T buckle to public pressure and not enforce laws because it might lose you points in an election.

Honestly... Japan is NOT a safe country when lives are at risk because 90% of people don't follow the laws, and police, if they know the laws, don't bother to enforce them. In Europe and other countries they most certainly stop at crossings, and if they don't they are punished. When will Japan get with the times?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If the police clamped down on this for a month, and fined each infraction with ¥15,000, Japan could clear its national debt.

Actually the money would be used for more alcohol and cabaret visits, and then we'll be reading more stories about cops taking pictures up skirts or stealing women's panties from wash lines.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

New Zealand used to be similar to Japan in this respect. Something changed in the last ten years though. Every time I've been back to NZ in this period, I only need to get near the crossing and cars come to a screeching halt. Whatever they did with enforcement there, it worked because drivers there seem to take it very seriously now and stop anytime someone is waiting. Maybe Japan could take a leaf out of NZ'Sbook here. I hope so coz I'm tired of waiting for someone to stop at the crossing near my place. Funnily, my inner city place in the past was way better for drivers letting pedestrians cross. My place in setagaya is terrible though. Something to do with setagaya, nouveau riche types, expensive cars and an over inflated sense of entitlement perhaps.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Of the 10,026 vehicles, how many hit pedestrians crossing the street?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Another expat: "he 10,026 vehicles, how many hit pedestrians crossing the street?"

So, it's okay to break the law as long as you don't injure and/or kill people?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Here in Kobe its more like 99% How about the police enforce the law buy issuing fines, sure we would see a big change then!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Maria; to answer your questions 1.yes 2.you cannot 3. nope.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Finally! something about this. I was starting to think it was the law so many people do it. I even had a police car go through when I was on the crossing (I am not joking). I really think that drivers think it is 'a place people should cross the road when there are no cars' rather than 'a place at which cars must stop to allow people to cross'. One of the things I tell people who visit from OS is do not trust that drivers will stop. When driving I stop but really worry that the car coming the other way will not or that a scooter will go through. Sometimes the pedestrians will not cross - maybe they think I will pick them off if they do. There is great confusion. A simple prime time traffic ad campaign on TV would help educate, but, as with new bicycle laws which most ignore or are not even aware of, they do not do that here.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In all my time here, I've never once had trouble crossing a street. Cars always wait for the pedestrian. Now, concerning red lights & the such, that's another story altogether.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Is it JAF's job to educate the public about this? I guess it's better than nothing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Improved street lighting crosswalks could have positive impacts. Around the schools, speed bumps should be installed near the crosswalks. Decrease speed limit by 5km near dangerous crosswalks. More cameras should be installed to catch the violators.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm from the Netherlands, and the fine for not stopping here equals to almost 5 man. People don't even dare to not stop. Also, you'll be fined when not stopping when someone nearby a crosswalk even shows the intention of wanting to cross. When someone doesn't stop people even kick the car, or glare the driver in the eyes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I find it very confusing. Here in the UK you wait at a zebra crossing (or pelican, depending on the traffic lights being present or not)... when clear you walk across... cars HAVE to stop while you are crossing. Where there are lights traffic MUST stop when the lights are against them. Pedestrians can keep walking until they are on the other side of the road, then traffic can move on.

When I'm in Japan it's chaos. Lights aren't synchronised so there is basically ALWAYS traffic moving, never a pause to allow for passengers to cross with sufficient time. I've nearly been run over a few times... taxis and big cars are the worst.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Back home, there were orange flashing lights over the pedestrian crosswalks. When activated, all cars must come to a complete stop. Install the same lights here and a couple of days of the patrols that @Laguna mentioned....problem solved. Or is that too harsh on everyone's driving "wa"?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

photo radar that issues automatic tickets has been in use for years elsewhere in multiple countries. Japan can curb behaviour, but it has to want to

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan should have speed humps and chicanes, especially before pedestrian crossings. They work well in Australia and people are taught to slow down at a crossing even if it looks like there aren't any people around.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

same in Canada, you stretch your arm out and try to make eye contact before walking across. If I time it right the car slows down enough and with my walking there's very little delay versus a full red light. We're all taught this in school at a young age

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thunderbird2SEP. 29, 2016 - 03:54PM JST

I find it very confusing. Here in the UK you wait at a zebra crossing (or pelican, depending on the traffic lights being present or not)... when clear you walk across... cars HAVE to stop while you are crossing.

So, in the UK, pedestrians have to wait at the crosswalks till the cars are gone.

In Japan, the law says, pedestrians do not have to wait at the crosswalks without traffic lights. They can walk at any time and cars must stop. Most of the Japanese think the law unrealistic.

In reality, pedestrians wait at the crosswalk till the cars are gone. Then, they start walking. Once they start walking, cars stop. What is the difference between the UK and Japan?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

CH3CHO, in the UK, cars will generally stop if you are waiting at a crossing. It's not a 100% stop rate but it's way better than Japan's ridiculous 8%.

It's not even required by law to stop at a crossing in the UK unless the pedestrian has already stepped out. It's just a courtesy that many many drivers will grant you out of politeness and consideration.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@noirgaijin

I would be afraid of being rear-ended by one of the 90%.

Such a good point, if you get read ended here its your fault, go figure?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, in the UK, pedestrians have to wait at the crosswalks till the cars are gone.

Where there are traffic lights you press the button, wait for the green man then cross. On zebra crossings where there are no traffic lights you wait until there are no cars THEN you cross. These are normally marked by big orange lights on striped poles.

In Japan it would be helpful if at a cross junction with 4 exits that the lights ALL stop to allow pedestrians to cross, then one set left to right, up and down then changed to allow those cars to move. Instead one set changes to red, the crossing has a green man and yet the traffic at the green light are trying to move while people are crossing the road in front of them. It's chaotic!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder what it will be like when there are driverless cars on the road. Eye contact? Nods or hand signals between pedestrians and ... sensors? I can't help but think that it will be people who will be required to change to accommodate the introduction of a technology that will make a few people rich.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Disco

You're quite possibly confused after spending time in Japan (I know I am), but the law in England definitely requires the driver to stop at zebras.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

DiscoJ wrote: "It's just a courtesy that many many drivers will grant you out of politeness and consideration." ... ... You nailed it. I experienced that in the North just a few weeks ago on a trip to the UK. A delight. It's ironic because Japanese people - out of their cars - are often quite polite and helpful. I suppose it might have something to do with power stemming from the anonymity vehicles offer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

DiscoJSEP. 29, 2016 - 08:06PM JST

CH3CHO, in the UK, cars will generally stop if you are waiting at a crossing.

Actually, I am wondering if it is good for the pedestrians.

Which is faster for the pedestrians, to wait for the car to go by, or to wait for the car to gradually slow down and finally to stop in front of a crosswalk? The science says the former is faster for the pedestrians. So, why bother them by stopping? It is a lose-lose situation. Why not go for the the win-win by passing by.

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CH3CHO: "In Japan, the law says, pedestrians do not have to wait at the crosswalks without traffic lights. They can walk at any time and cars must stop. Most of the Japanese think the law unrealistic." "In reality, pedestrians wait at the crosswalk till the cars are gone. Then, they start walking. Once they start walking, cars stop. What is the difference between the UK and Japan?"

Cars stop? No way. See: https://www.youtube.com/user/MYAWNK

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In this country the norm precedes the law.

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My policy is to stride out fearlessly and glare - they usually stop!! Brave? Or maybe foolish.... By law the cars should stop even if someone is just waiting at the side. That's what I learned when I took my driving test here. It was an eye-opener!! On the other hand, if the green light starts flashing and you are less than halfway across by law a pedestrian should turn back. It's in the book!! Who does that now?

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Even at crosswalks in shopping mall parking lots there are fat white lines with a big "とまれ” painted on the road and people drive like its a highway. I have a baby in the stroller and holding the hand of my toddler and not one single person stops.

What I don't get are the men driving with their significant other and/or family yet they are able to drive through crosswalks, red lights or go at a high speed. I have yet to meet a woman who didn't complain or panic about my driving and that includes my mother. How are these men able get away with this?

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Which is faster for the pedestrians, to wait for the car to go by, or to wait for the car to gradually slow down and finally to stop in front of a crosswalk? The science says the former is faster for the pedestrians.

This logic is ridiculous.

Often/usually there are multiple cars approaching the crossing.

If you wait for all the cars to pass you will be waiting for a long time.

At busy times, if you wait for all the cars to pass, you might be waiting an hour.

On the other hand, if the first approaching car kindly stops for you, you can walk across quickly.

I think the behavior of drivers at crossings in Japan is poor.

The drivers generally seem selfish, unkind and bad-mannered.

Some Japanese friends who have visited the UK have commented to me on how they were pleasantly surprised at the "kind drivers" who stopped for them at zebra crossings, and also remarked on how often it seemed to happen.

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As a driver I stop, but I always reflexively look into the rearview mirror as I suspect one of these times I'm going to get rear-ended by the car who won't be expecting me to do it.

Also, having spent a lot of time out running/jogging on the streets I know the rule is don't make eye-contact with drivers. It seems counter-intuitive, but in Japan this seems to mean that I have somehow acknowledged the existence of the car, and therefore have given it the right of way. It still makes me nervous, but cars will stop for me if I deliberately don't look at them.

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On zebra crossings where there are no traffic lights you wait until there are no cars THEN you cross.

That's not correct. Highway Code Rule 195: you MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing

I was always taught that placing a foot on the crossing indicates you are about to cross, and that cars must then stop.

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Here in the UK it is illegal not to stop at a zebra crossing if there is someone on the crossing; and most drivers here are able to anticipate when a pedestrian is about to cross and stop anyway. As far as I know, it is not illegal not to stop in Japan. And the anticipatory skills necessary to observe/rationalize/decide/act when someone is about to cross at a crossing are sadly lacking in Japan.

And as @Mike L observed above -

Driving in Japan explodes the myth that Japanese are more polite or courteous than other nationalities

Japanese people are only polite when they have to be polite. When you are in your car you are cocooned from the real world and normal behaviour, hence the huge amount of untypical, unfriendly, selfish, offensive, aggressive behaviour from drivers everywhere.

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I never said what Japanese drivers do is right. It is against Japanese law. All I'm saying is that Japanese drivers are probably no worse than drivers in many other countries.

And really, no matter how well behaved drivers are in your area, NEVER assume a car will stop for you at a crosswalk. A lot can go wrong and make you another statistic.

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you effing moron? why was that considered off topic? you are such a wanker. get a real job you english teaching faggot.

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When I'm driving and stop to let someone cross (and I always do) I flash my brights numerous times until an oncoming driver finally gets the picture and stops. This works pretty well (although it can take a while). Of course, sometimes a jerk behind me will honk, or just go around me and race past the hapless pedestrian. But when I walk across a crosswalk, I get a lot of glares (and sometimes honks) from angry drivers who think I shouldn't be in their way. There are some serious misunderstandings about the meaning and function of crosswalks. Basically, the cops need to crack down. Each time a pedestrian gets hit (or even frightened) on a crosswalk, it's the cops' fault. They should fine (or arrest) themselves.

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In 10 or 20 years all these problems will go away as self-driven cars take over the roads.

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Tell me abt it!

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When it comes to drivers attitude, Japan is bad. US and Canada is the best. (except NYC) They have the strong philosophy of "respect the weak" such as walking people, school bus, ambulance.

I hope Japanese drivers learn to drive nicely as they do.

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For many years I have asked my mature students about the pedestrian crossings and have never known one who knew that pedestrians have a right of way. They all said that a pedestrian has to wait until no vehicles are approaching. So what is the point of the crossing? I would ask. Blank expression as response.

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