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Survey finds only 23% of vehicles stop for pedestrians at crosswalks

70 Comments
By Shannon, SoraNews24

The Japanese Automobile Foundation (JAF) conducted a nationwide survey to see whether or not cars would stop for passengers wanting to cross the road at crosswalks without traffic lights. The survey observed the habits of just over 9,400 vehicles at two crosswalks per prefecture in Japan for a total of 94 areas.

The sad but true results: only 23 percent of vehicles stopped for pedestrians.

Less than a fourth of automobiles stopped for people trying to cross the road on average. Surprisingly, the number has actually risen four points from last year, but you could still argue that it’s pretty unsafe for citizens.

Nagano Prefecture took the gold in this survey; an astounding 72.4 percent of vehicles stopped for someone waiting to cross the road. If you fear for your life, you may want to consider Nagano as a place to visit on your next Japan trip.

Japanese netizens reacted to the news with a mixture of grim acceptance and passion, with some even calling for change.

“No one stops if the car in front of them hasn’t stopped. I get why it’s only 20 percent.”

“I often used to cross the road at crosswalks without traffic lights, and the vehicles that stopped most often for me were police cars and firetrucks. Next was large trucks. It’s regular cars that won’t stop, sometimes even if you raise your hand. It makes sense that it’s only 21 percent.”

“Drivers say that they don’t stop because it’s dangerous when no one else is stopping, but if you enforce rules like this more strictly for about three years, people will learn to stop. Everyone has come to obey seatbelt and drunk driving laws since they cracked down on them, after all.”

“I don’t really care what your situation is. Stop! It’s the rule!”

While it’s not clear whether traffic laws like this will be more strictly enforced, JAF is calling for more awareness of the situation on both the part of drivers and of pedestrians.

Sources: Nico Nico News via My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Driver who killed cyclist in crosswalk accident found not guilty, causes controversy in Japan

-- Harrowing video sees reckless drivers ignore pedestrian crossing in Japan【Video】

-- Simulation shows the chaotic consequences of walking in Shibuya while staring at your phone

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

70 Comments
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23%? I would have said less than 10%.

I've had cars swerve around me on pedestrian crossings, even on ones with signals.

Japan is quite famous around the world for politeness, kindness, generosity and ‘omotenashi’. However, none of these exist on the roads.

30 ( +33 / -3 )

Look both ways, look again, look again, and keep looking as you cross. The amount of stupidity on the roads here is astounding.

31 ( +32 / -1 )

In the topsy-turvy world of uchi/soto, this isn't necessarily an aggressive act.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

I was going to say the same as the first post- seems high to me

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Only 23%? Ha! Yeah, I call bs on this, I'd wager around 2%. Where I live virtually no vehicle will stop at a crosswalk unless you throw yourself on the road or the driver is foreign. Even if you do throw yourself on the road the driver will be up in arms and blame you. I think it's a combo of selfishness and tunnel vision.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

I live in NZ where in my experience 99% of drivers stop (often smile and wave) at pedestrian crossings. When living in Japan I could not understand why the cars do not stop for pedestrians (or red lights for that matter).

Can anyone explain?

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Vehicles?! Should be ‘drivers’, vehicles are not autonomous. Yet.

it’s the constant ‘taking your life into your own hands’ feeling I have when driving on or walking near a road here that reminds me that I really live in an Asian country. The complete disregard for the amber, and often red, lights; the backwards law that enables cyclists to swerve all over the road knowing that if you so much as graze them, your in trouble up to your neck; motor scooter riders that ‘wear’ their helmet on the back of their head with unfastened straps flapping; and this. I was nearly cleaned up by a car turning onto the pedestrian crossing (with a green man!) once. He/she had no regard for me or the law.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Th reason is that the J-cops don’t enforce the law like they do at stop signs, for example.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

There’s no point stopping at a pedestrian crossing if the cars coming the other way won’t stop, also. It could cause an accident if the pedestrian crosses because you’ve stopped, and other cars don’t.

In Japan, I used to always stop, but for the reasons above, now I’ll only stop for a pedestrian if oncoming traffic has stopped, or that lane is empty.

At least it’s improved since 2016, when JAF found that 90% of cars don’t stop. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161002/p2a/00m/0na/015000c

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

In Osaka it would be 2.3%.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I’d put the number a lot lower than that. Seems like Japanese people are polite and well mannered (relatively) when not in the safe anonymity of their cars.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

23% overall, with some prefectures as high as 72%. Which means the average for big cities is probably much lower than 23% . My guess is that Osaka is one of the worst...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Here in Kobe I’d say it’s more like 2.3%. If the police enforced the law may it would change.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

My experience at the unsignalled crosswalks is that it's around 80% if I raise my hand like elementary school kids do.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Recently when I stop for someone, there is another car coming the other way that doesn't stop so if someone gets hit, I would feel partially responsible for making the pedestrian think it was ok to walk.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

When my family/friends come to Japan for the first time, it's one of the first things I always stress to them multiple times, "They will NOT stop for you on the roads here".

12 ( +12 / -0 )

In the topsy-turvy world of uchi/soto, this isn't necessarily an aggressive act.

Glad to see (with the downvotes) it's not just me that's confused by this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Survey finds only 23% of vehicles stop for pedestrians at crosswalks

and a physical reality check will reveal that the numbers are much lower.

But for myself, they seem to stop about 99% of the time, and that’s Only because I put myself almost a third of the way into the road.

They don’t have time to stop, I don’t have time to wait. Something’s gotta give.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The reason for that is almost all drivers are overspeeding making them to become mendokusai to stop.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Can't speak for Japan, cuz is hardly happens, but when I visit Canada, I don't like it when cars stop for me, which they do even as I approach the curb. That's because the car behind them may not know what's happening and needs to brake suddenly, potentially causing an accident. The same is true if cars come around a nearby turn and then find out what's happening by the time they straighten out and pick up speed, which may be too late.

As a pedestrian, I prefer to go when the coast is clear or on a green light.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

It used to be that the pedestrian crossing was a place to cross in safety where you wait until no vehicles or few vehicles are approaching and wait until a vehicle stops and can stop safely before you step out., as some one just jamming on the brakes in a line of traffic can be dangerous.

Also if you just blindly wander out onto the crossing while looking at you iphone you are more of a problem and danger to everyone , common sense is the key but as some know there is little of that around these days.

A pedestrian crossing is a safe place if used properly, and if you are on it cars are obliged to stop, but dont just step out in the traffic expecting cars to stop.

Those who do not drive and have not understood the road code or how traffic flows and moves have very little clue or knowledge about how to use the road and interact with traffic.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What is the law on this?

If drivers are supposed to stop I may start taking a few risks.....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If you are a pedestrian and hit by a car you will be injured, or perhaps even die. If you are a driver and hit a pedestrian, you will perhaps be given a suspended sentence. Ergo, if you are a pedestrian, don't do the cross. Forget the legal laws. Think of the physical laws.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

23% on average? I am surprised with this result.

I had the impression most drivers here would stop, as drivers in Japan are the most peaceful I have encountered around the world.

I see many people criticising the drivers in Japan here in the comments, but would like to know it someone have actually found more polite and calm drivers than in Japan?

Indeed I have seen some unbelievable mistakes on the road, however I would still give the gold medal to the drivers here!!

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

In my area there’s no way 23% of people stop. I get angry when trying to cross but also when I drive I can’t help thinking they are put in really dangerous places at times. Literally you can’t see people waiting because there are trees or things obstructing your view. Also with some junctions you literally will be stopping at the junction and your car will already be half over the crossing. If they put them in more sensible places and the police enforced people stopping it would help. I tried to stop whenever I can but I do feel the chances are the cars behind me won’t be expecting me to stop so that probably makes some people keep going.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Drivers in Japan are bad in general, and it's worse that it's their actual choice to do that too rather than any kind of incompetence. It's like with people walking just not paying attention to what's around them but they're doing it in a car instead.

I've just passed a Japanese driving school course as well and they are actually very strict but it goes out the window when there isn't someone sat in the car with them obviously

6 ( +6 / -0 )

There is also the common practice of pedestrians walking out into the road at pedestrian crossings without checking to see if cars are approaching, expecting the driver to stop instantly for them. Made even more dangerous by cyclists doing gyaku-so, cycling down the road on the right hand side, where pedestrians never look.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

23%...generous indeed.

I've gotten into the (very dangerous, I'll admit) mindset of using the crosswalk when I should have a chance to reasonably do so. You will stop your car, I'm sorry that you have to follow the rules of the road.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Enforcement issue:

Survey finds only 0% of police issuing tickets for vehicles for not stop for pedestrians at crosswalks

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I don't cross until they stop even if the light is green.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If its a rule, why are the blue stones fining drivers? Ah thats right, they are busy busting cyclists for their life-endagering crimes instead!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Do the hustle:

I've had cars swerve around me on pedestrian crossings, even on ones with signals.

Yeah, too right! I've had the same experience. You'd think stopping for two seconds would cost them a lot of money.

The only thing that surprises me now is the value is as high as 23%. It doesn't feel that high. I'd say less than 10%. I always thank the person who does stop because it takes a special, thoughtful person to do so in Japan. Most Japanese drivers would get into big trouble with the police in countries like US and UK, given the way they don't stop, ignore red lights, ignore seat belts, make calls while driving, hold a baby while driving (YES, I've seen that before in Japan), let dogs and kids run riot inside cars, smoke inside with children.

zato:

Look both ways, look again, look again, and keep looking as you cross. The amount of stupidity on the roads here is astounding.

Indeed. Although I have the right to cross and priority, I always assume Japanese drivers don't think that way. And this is even at crossings with pedestrian lights.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

When trying to cross the road on a pedestrian crossing or pull out of a junction when driving a car, drivers in Japan will pretend you don't exist. It is amazing how selfish some drivers are when they don't even let other cars merge with traffic.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A few years ago I was waiting to cross at a crosswalk without traffic lights. As usual, nobody was stopping so I started taking a step into the road in between each car trying to force one of them to stop. About 5 or 6 cars continued to ignore me and this included a police car! The police car did stop, about 20 meters after the crossing, and the officer in the passenger seat got out and approached me - telling me to be careful when crossing the road and that I shouldn't step out until a car has stopped and it's safe to do so.

True story.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In Japan the yellow light means to step on it.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

If you think Japan is bad try crossing the road anywhere is Southeast Asia. I would say 0% of cars and scooters stop for pedestrians and u basically have to make a dash across the free ducking in out trying not to get hit

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Try crossing a street in Bangkok and some are very wide.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

23%? I would have said less than 10%.

I've had cars swerve around me on pedestrian crossings, even on ones with signals.

Japan is quite famous around the world for politeness, kindness, generosity and ‘omotenashi’. However, none of these exist on the roads.

https://media1.tenor.com/images/573d869747f87583fed228f1abfea032/tenor.gif?itemid=5017964

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tamanegiToday  07:55 am JST

In Osaka it would be 2.3%.

I reckon you're still overestimating it by a factor of 10!

That said, there's a crossing near my place that the cops seem to patrol fairly regularly and drivers tend to behave themselves. But there's always the odd one that speeds through right in front of the cops.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Use traffic cameras to photo car and license plate of violators, then assess penalties.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have stopped at pedestrian crossings when riding my motorbike only to have cars behind me blow their horns and swerve around me!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As a long time driver in Japan worst risks of traffic are:

-overaged drivers with slow reflexes driving at the right at bottom end speed and causing lines

-awful taxi drivers never use turning signals

-bicycle riders without any fear to dies under wheels of cars as they ride bikes as they like regadless any traffic rules

As for pedestrians sure drivers who cant manage to stop before crosswalks are risk but often pedestrainas are like bicycle riders-running through road without any fear like cattle...

So all in all-always worth to be careful either behind wheel of car,on bicycle or as pedestrian...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I know I am a minority citizen, but this is proof!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

When driving laws are only enforced after a major crash this is expected that drivers don't take the law seriously.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think its because there are crosswalks everywhere!!

With industrial areas, houses and alleys all clustered together

if you stopped for all pedestrians at the crosswalks traffic would be worse

than now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Doesn't help that they insist a green traffic light is "blue". The hell it is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In my hometown in California, they set traps for this: a plainclothes police woman repeatedly crosses at a clearly marked crossing, and those who do not yield are promptly and severely dealt with.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What is the law on this?

There are diamonds painted on the road before pedestrian crossings; if the diamond is visible and there is a pedestrian waiting at the zebra crossing, you are required to stop. At least that's what they teach at the licensing seminar when you renew your license...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not surprising. I'd like to know the percentage of drivers who stop OVER crosswalks.

Every time I see that I feel the urge to walk over the car...

Being a mere two meters ahead when the traffic signal opens saves only a mere second, or even less, for a car. Pretty stupid if you ask me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Reasons for such behaviour from my own experience :

inside car, respect of social rules disappear since it is one of the rare space where it can't apply in Japan (you know when you swear vocally alone)

as just mentioned, scores of crosswalks does not make it possibly acceptable to reduce speed each time so the drivers tend to turn blind eye to those painted signs on the ground.

too many red lights everywhere makes it too time consuming to again stop at crosswalks (in my country, roundabouts save life and thousands of precious minutes each year).

So watch out when crossing and be safe.

I do stop always if pedestrian is showing will to cross.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Over twenty years living here and it baffles me that these two things seem to be tolerated:

1: Drivers with TV set-up in their GPS on the dashboard.

2: Drivers not slowing down and stopping at pedestrian crossings (ones without lights)

1 should be outlawed (is it already?) and enforced as strictly as phone use while driving. 2 could be a massive source of income if Japan went the Europe route of installing cameras at crossings and fining copiously. This could even be used to offset losses on the 2020 Olympics, to reduce Highway tolls, or to compensate accident victims properly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Can't believe it is that high! Seriously, in the Kansai region, I would think it would be only 1-2% that would stop for you. Another thing that is dangerous here is the constant parking of vehicles right next to (or even ON) the pedestrian crossing. Imagine a young elementary school kid trying to cross the road, in between the parked vehicles, with the speeds some cars do in built up areas. They are small enough to be hidden by an average sized car. So scary! I just don't understand why the police don't enforce the law more.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The problem with drivers in Japan is that most of them are just too stupid to be behind the wheel. They are easily distracted and generally unaware of their sorroundings and don't get me started with all the elderly drivers, they are the worst. Even though their horrible driving is most of the time unintentional, it is still dangerous.

Remember driving is a privilege not a right, people.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

> Over twenty years living here and it baffles me that these two things seem to be tolerated:

1: Drivers with TV set-up in their GPS on the dashboard. 

2: Drivers not slowing down and stopping at pedestrian crossings (ones without lights)

I would add a third: children under 12 standing in the front seat, or a variation of this.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My tactic is to plant my feet on the crossing and raise a hand. This removes all doubt about my intention to cross (as I am in reality crossing on the crosswalk). It also means I'm close enough to the curb to avoid getting hit by cars that aren't going to stop.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

a plainclothes police woman repeatedly crosses at a clearly marked crossing, and those who do not yield are promptly and severely dealt with.

Sounds dangerous. I tell my kids even if you have a green light to cross you need to double check. I almost saw a young boy get hit because he darted out at the instant the cross walk light was green and of course as is usual in Japan a truck was running the red light.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In Japan a lot of pedestrians are very meek and just wait until no cars come. I raise my hand, start to move onto the crossing and the oncoming cars immediately stop. Do this enough times at the same crossing and the locals start doing it too!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That’s pitiful...

Just needs to be enforced by the local Police, perhaps an education campaign online/on TV etc? Mascot even?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In my hometown in California, they set traps for this: a plainclothes police woman repeatedly crosses at a clearly marked crossing, and those who do not yield are promptly and severely dealt with.

In the state of Oregon, it’s the law that vehicles cannot enter a crosswalk when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. It used to be that there only needed to be one lane between the vehicle and pedestrian, but accidents were still happening.

My tactic here is to look the drivers straight in the eye when I step into the crosswalk.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just needs to be enforced by the local Police, perhaps an education campaign online/on TV etc? Mascot even?

If these tactics had any sort of track record of success, I’d be all for it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can anyone explain?

As cycling isn't policed, people take bad habits from behind handle bars to behind the steering wheel.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

a plainclothes police woman repeatedly crosses at a clearly marked crossing...

...Sounds dangerous. 

I'm pretty sure it would be one of the safer policing operations out there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

https://media1.tenor.com/images/573d869747f87583fed228f1abfea032/tenor.gif?itemid=5017964

How Japanese people react when legitimate criticism is leveled against them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

inside car, respect of social rules disappear since it is one of the rare space where it can't apply in Japan (you know when you swear vocally alone)

Bang on. I've often thought one of the only places Japanese can release their angst at society is on the road in their tiny private K-ocoons. Thus they drive with cocksure aggression and little or no regard for other folk on the road. Road rage is rife, within the vehicle.

I have had altercations on my bicycle with motorists trying to illegally bully their way through intersections or crosswalks. They blow the horn and cast deadly glances, until they notice I'm foreign. From that point they freeze up, white knuckle the wheel and tensely stare straight ahead, pleading for a 'blue' signal or avenue out.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Heh I have been teaching Japanese the road rules and I carry a copy of the page with me when i go for a walk, I cross at any crossing I need to without much waiting I have usually been hit a couple times a week and I usually walk away with a large sum of money and usually can earn a few million yen a week Just practice your landings and make sure you move up and land on the bonnet a lot less injury that way oh and don't do it to buses, trucks or vans.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@P. Smith

If these tactics had any sort of track record of success, I’d be all for it.

These "tactics" of using short commercials telling people how to behave and act have been used in several countries with a high rate of success

Here is a successful example of a New Zealand commercial of a similar type...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtWirGxV7Q8&ab_channel=AnthonyParsons

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Keep your head on a swivel. I even stick my hand straight out with palm facing the driver and then do the "slow down" gesture with my hand. Even then, some choose to try and ignore it by going around me. People are pretty rude here when in public.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This really isn't big news. I wouldn't expect cars to give me priority if they're hurtling down the street. Crossings are kind of pointless anyway. I use my discernment, wait for a safe gap in traffic and cross where I want.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People with cars have money, how about fining them

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you think Japan is bad try crossing the road anywhere is Southeast Asia.

I knew someone would say that. The Japanese don't appreciate being compared to other Asians. They pride themselves on being the only non-western G7 nation. But it's as if the selfish part of themselves takes over when they get behind the wheel. For an 'advanced' nation, Japan really isn't that advanced.

In short, crossings in Japan are mostly useless. If there are no cars, I'll cross at any part of the road. Makes no difference. If a Japanese were to suddenly drive in, say, the UK without prior experience, there'd be a LOT of accidents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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