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2013年2月 5日 (火)

自転車事故 厳罰で危険運転にブレーキを

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 5, 2013)
Use harsh penalties to stop dangerous bicycle riding
自転車事故 厳罰で危険運転にブレーキを(2月4日付・読売社説)

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office made a drastic change last month in its policy toward traffic violations involving bicycles.

Prosecutors will now deal strictly with cyclists who repeatedly violate traffic regulations, bringing criminal charges against them.

As cyclists cause accidents, such a policy shift is necessary. We hope the prosecutors spare no effort to make the new policy known widely, thereby curbing traffic accidents.

As driver's licenses are not needed for bicycles, violators will be given a red ticket notifying them that prosecutors will send papers regarding their case to the prosecutors office and begin criminal procedures against them, rather than a blue ticket informing them of administrative punishment.

Previously, prosecutors did not prosecute violators. Under the new procedures, those who violate regulations twice or more will be given summary indictments for violating the Road Traffic Law.


Violators will acquire record

If a violation is confirmed by a summary court, the perpetrator will be fined up to 50,000 yen. Like other criminal offenders, they will have a criminal record.

The prosecutors office in Tokyo will initially focus on summary indictments for those who run red lights, a major cause of serious accidents in Tokyo.

Prosecutors did not prosecute offending cyclists in the past because they considered criminal punishment too harsh, as automobile drivers got off with administrative punishments for minor violations.

However, the Tokyo office has shifted its policy at the request of the Metropolitan Police Department, to reduce dangerous bicycle riding and curb accidents.

In Tokyo, accidents involving bicycles account for nearly 40 percent of traffic accidents. The incidence is about two times higher than the national average.

Fatal accidents have occurred in which cyclists collided with pedestrians and automobile drivers tried to avoid cyclists making sudden and unexpected movements.

Accidents were caused by such factors as running red lights, failure to look ahead properly and erratic riding. Cyclists have been particularly to blame.

Recently, there has been an increase in accidents triggered by cyclists who were talking on cell phones. Many pedestrians have also been put at risk by sports bicycles speeding along crowded walkways.


Govts, police must spread word

Improving cyclists' riding etiquette is vital for enhancing traffic safety.

Local municipal governments in Tokyo will have an important role to play in making people aware of the latest change, as will the police.

We hope they will make such efforts as holding courses on the safe use of bicycles and distributing leaflets, with the cooperation of local schools and factories where there are many cyclists.

There was a civil court case in which a cyclist who caused a fatal accident was ordered to pay tens of millions of yen in compensation. Cyclists must be aware that dangerous riding will lead to their being held as responsible for accidents as if they were driving a car.

What measures should be taken against bicycle accidents is an issue not just for urban communities but for the entire nation.

The efforts taken by Tokyo will be helpful to other regions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 4, 2013)
(2013年2月4日01時39分  読売新聞)


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« 中国の海洋戦略 「強国化」は地域の安定損ねる | トップページ | 社説:安倍政権の予算 財政再建の道は険しい »