Depending on how you commute, you might have very strong feelings about cyclists. If you’re a regular cyclist, you might think that bicycles are the greatest thing since sliced bread and wish all those obnoxious, dangerous drivers would just get off the road. On the other hand, if you’re a motorist, you might think that bikes are a constant annoyance and cyclists are all obnoxious, dangerous jerks who should just get off the road. Meanwhile, everyone getting packed into a Tokyo subway is just wondering who–or what–is getting shoved in their butt crack.
But regardless of how you feel about cyclists or drivers, I think we can all agree that nothing is more important that safety on the road–as this heart-stopping video proves in a matter of seconds.
The video is from a dash camera in Japan–not Russia, where many of the crazy dash cam videos online originate. The video shows a group of three school girls riding their bicycles down the street and coming to a crossing with 止まれ, which means stop and is pronounced “toh・mah・rei,” clearly written on both the street and a stop sign. Rather than following traffic laws, the girls continue straight ahead without even pausing. Unfortunately, that just happens to be the exact moment a scooter comes barreling down into the intersection. The scooter, unable to stop in time, smacks into one of the girls’ bicycles. As the girl loses control of her bicycle, the scooter topples over and the rider hits the ground.
Fortunately, it looks like neither of the parties involved were seriously injured, and a few seconds later, the video shows the driver of the car getting out. Here’s his description of the scene from the YouTube video:
Around dusk, a group of high school girls were riding their bicycles in front of me. The moment they were starting to go through an intersection without stopping, a scooter ran into them, coming from the right.
While I do think the girls were in the wrong in terms of traffic law for not stopping, right after hitting her, the scooter rider did nothing but shout at the girl about how he had the right-of-way. He didn’t care at all about whether or not she was hurt.
I couldn’t just sit there and watch, so I got out of my car and shouted at him, “Hey! What the hell is wrong with you?”
We have to say, we can understand what he’s saying. While the girl was definitely not obeying the traffic laws, all drivers also have a responsibility to be constantly aware of their surroundings.
But some things need to be seen to be understood. Here’s the video–the gasp-inducing crash is only a few seconds in.
Japanese netizens had some pretty strong feelings about the video.
“I feel bad for the guy on the scooter.”
“This is so freaking dangerous. We need to make people get bicycle licenses too. There are way too many cyclists who just go through crossings without looking or who ignore signs.”
“It’s not like she couldn’t read the sign. They’re high school students after all!”
“The girl was wrong to go through the intersection like that, but I’m glad it seems that no one got hurt.”
“There’s a lot of people taking pity on the guy on the scooter, but he was going far too fast on such a narrow road.”
“Invincible high school girl!”
Maybe she has a secret supply of those invincibility stars from Super Mario Brothers…
Either way, it’s a good reminder to look both ways and obey the rules of the road regardless of whether you’re driving, cycling, or just walking. Having the right-of-way won’t stop a car from crushing you!
Finally, for those of you in Japan, here’s a quick guide to some of the country’s signs. They’re mostly self-explanatory, but it never hurts to refresh your memory!
Finally, we just want to remind you to be sure to look both ways when crossing the street. A few months after I first came to Japan, I was late to meet some friends and dashed across the street, looking right–forgetting that the traffic was coming from the left.
Like the girl in the video, I survived mostly unscathed, but there’s nothing quite like blinking and suddenly finding yourself laid out on the ground!