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Signs put up to discourage elderly from jaywalking


Following a number of accident-related deaths involving elderly people jaywalking across busy streets, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has started erecting signs detailing the illegal nature of jaywalking as well as pointing out the potential dangers of doing so.

Along with a drawing of the bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, who is the guardian of travelers, the sign also features in large letters the words, "Jaywalking is illegal," and, "Please go back immediately," TBS reported Friday.

According to police, there has been an increase in accidents caused by elderly pedestrians attempting to cross roads where no crosswalks existed.

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Tokyo to hobble jaywalkers? A jay is a bird of the crow family, which can be found in fields and meadows. A jaywalker, on the other hand, is a bird of the schmo family who can be found in traffic jams and morgues.

-8 ( +4 / -11 )

It seems that most pedestrian deaths occur IN the crosswalks, so I doubt people trust those zebras. I rarely see any vehicles stop for PedXing.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It would be difficult to enforce since there are no fines or penalty for pedestrians.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Since many of them don't bother to look for oncoming traffic, or at anything but the ground, when they attempt to cross I don't see how a sign is going to do anything. If it's "illegal", why don't the police simply start enforcing the law? They could put one police officer near a supermarket entrance and he or she would catch enough elderly (or otherwise) jaywalking to fill the national coffers and in no time. I'm not for imposing huge fines on jaywalking or anything like that, but at the very least a verbal warning from an officer and then a fine for repeated offences might deted things a little better than a sign that no one will see.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Since many of them don't bother to look for oncoming traffic, or at anything but the ground, when they attempt to cross I don't see how a sign is going to do anything

Then it would be an epidemic of grand proportions if that were true. We're talking roughly sixty of these a year for 65 and over so your suggestion is completely unrealistic. I managed to find the link and it's quite visible, IMO. I trust you haven't.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

smithinjapan Nov. 15, 2014 - 09:06AM JST If it's "illegal", why don't the police simply start enforcing the law?

Unfortunately, police must focus on criminal activity and therefore can't focus solely on jaywalking. Police have better things to do than ticket pedestrians. They know that distracted walking, whether young or old has become a growing problem. The law should concentrate on reducing vehicle speeds on some areas and more red-light cameras at intersections. It's more about expanding pedestrian safety education and enforcement efforts.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Here in Kansai jaywalking is part of the culture. When someone waits at a crosswalk when no cars are coming, it is a little weird.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Some sympathy for the elderly jaywalkers here - walking whatever distance it takes to get to the nearest crosswalk may not seem so far to you, but if you are old and infirm, and walking is difficult, the most direct route across the road is probably very tempting.

We should remember that roads haven`t always been the exclusive domaine of automobiles, and the term "jaywalker" was a class-loaded derogatory term invented and used by the auto-industry to help clear the roads of regular users for those wealthy enough to afford an automobile.

"The term was also mentioned in a 1915 New York Times article where they stated they found the term “jay walking” “highly shocking” and “truly opprobrious” (shameful). This was in reference to the way it was used at the time, akin to a racial slur, but in this case more of a pejorative “class” term. Specifically, a derogatory term against poor people by people who were wealthy enough to drive. Automobile related companies popularly used this term in various anti-pedestrian campaigns. For instance, John Hertz, president of Yellow Cab, even went so far as to say, “We fear the `jay walker’ worse than the anarchist, and Chicago is his native home.” Chicago is still noted today for rampant jaywalking among the populace.

In order to counter the automobile interests who were trying to get pedestrians off the road, for a time the term “jay drivers” was used as a derogatory term for people who drive cars in such a way as to hog the road or pose a danger to pedestrians. This obviously didn’t catch on and, in the end, the automobile companies won the fight for use of roads."


1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pfft! Jay walking can be a lot safer than using a pedestrian crossing cos the bustards never stop! I cannot count the amount of times I've approached a crossing and stepped on the road only to have some donkey's butt accelerate to get through the crossing. I've also had many cars actually swerve around me on a crossing. Addressing the elderly is not the issue! Addressing the donkey's butt drivers that speed and disregard the refuge of a pedestrian crossing is the issue!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Who knows? Maybe one day the use of police radar detectors will become illegal in Japan and drivers will be expected to follow the rules of the road. Or maybe speed bumps will be accepted for usage even though they damage the bottoms of customized fast cars whose bottoms are illegally close to the ground. Probably not though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I very often see people walking in the road, even when a perfectly good pavement exists. They are not crossing the road either, just wandering along in the middle of the road oblivious to everything. It's people of all ages too, not just the elderly. The budget deficit could be eliminated if all the illegal, road-related activities were punished with large fines.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Then it would be an epidemic of grand proportions if that were true. We're talking roughly sixty of these a year for 65 and over so your suggestion is completely unrealistic. I managed to find the link and it's quite visible, IMO. I trust you haven't.

Smithinjapan is absolutely right. I almost hit an elderly on two different occasions. They didn't even bother to look for traffic even after I almost hit them. Makes me mad considering what would have happened to me if I had hit them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Problem solved!

Next: signs at supermarkets emphasizing the distinction between accelerators and breaks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Exactly how many is "many?"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Works in Singapore. There jaywalking is illegal and enforced.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mitoguitarman is right. Where I am, in Yamaguchi, cars never stop for adults at crossings even if I step onto the crossing. Drivers seem to be unaware, or don't care, that pedestrians have right of way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually cars do stop at the zebra crossings, but usually right in the thing. This causes pedestrians to either cross in the street or behind the vehicle IF there is room between the car behind them.

When I lived in Miyazaki never had trouble, most drivers would stop BEFORE pedestrians even began to cross. Nagoya on the other hand is a game of points for hitting pedestrians I think. Drivers here either ignore the pedestrian and at least 3 cars will ignore the red light.

Red light violations are so bad here in Nagoya that pedestrians are greeted with signs "Please double check before crossing with the walk light".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am sure they will just ignore it. Where I live there is a small shopping street and the senior citizens come out of the shops and just cross, without even looking to see if a car, cyclist or pedestrian is going to run into them. Also on the main road, people just climb over the barrier and cross as well. I doubt signs are going to help them to not do that. But if it does, great. If it saves a few of them great. But they might want to consider fining or ticketing them just like motorists. Cyclist need to be ticked to as well. That is the only thing that is going to get them to stop doing that. When I was a 15 in the San Diego, I put my right foot on the street just before the light changed and a motorcycle cop who had too much free time on his hands came and gave me a ticket. There were no cars. I was only a second ahead of the light. He gave me the ticket despite my complaints. I never did that again. Try that here. It could work.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Talking about this phenomenon, has anybody noticed that foreigners here are doing that too? E.g. in the fast food joint the other day there was an Indian (I think) girl at the counter who insisted in speaking heavy Indian English to me, which is really hard to understand. I answered in Japanese, until she got the point. Her Japanese was at least better than her English (although probably in Bombay that might pass as native...)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The pedestrian has the right of way and it is the job of the professional driver to avoid them. If they cross the street at a moments notice then SLOW DOWN. Keep an eye out for them and no the laws are Japanese not your home countries laws.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How about installing traffic cameras to catch all the drivers who run red lights for a start? For me, there are far more dangerous things to worry about than jaywalking. (I see little point in waiting at traffic lights during quiet periods) Texting-cyclists for one are a greater issue. However, having said all that, many Japanese - the elderly among them - lack peripheral awareness. So from that point of view- I can understand the reasoning behind the move

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ummm, why would you say such a thing Yuri? It does matter if they are the laws of someone's home country or not. That has nothing to do with anything. Yes, the pedestrian has the right of way and we should be careful. But pedestrians need to pay more attention then just accepting that they have the right of way. Can not just ignore some rules as you go along. Unfortunately motorist here get punished too harshly when someone darts in front of their car and gets hit. That is something that needs to either stop or pedestrians need to be trained to look where they are going.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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