Sunday, March 24, 2013

Japanese motorcyclist dies in crash with on-duty sailor - Stripes

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Japanese motorcyclist died Thursday in a collision with a vehicle driven by an on-duty sailor just outside Camp Foster, according to local police and the Marine Corps.

A 28-year-old petty officer third-class, whose name was not released, was driving a military van at the base’s Gate 3 on Highway 130 around 12:30 p.m. She attempted to turn right at the intersection when the van collided with a motorcycle driven by Isao Kiyan, 63, of Okinawa City, Japanese police said.

Kiyan was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead about one hour later.

The Marine Corps said Friday it is cooperating with Japanese prefectural police as they conduct an investigation.

Comment: I don't know all the circumstances in this situation and this comment is not intended to lay blame on anyone one way or another but, if you're an American driving on Okinawa, it really pays to be extra cautious when you drive. This isn't Wisconsin, this is Okinawa so in addition to the very real probability of enhanced hydration therapy being the culprit in a vast majority of all motor vehicle accidents, especially if it happens to be after noon anywhere on the globe, driving on the wrong side of the road here is the law! That messes right side driving folks up from the get-go and a lot more than many of you are probably willing to admit. 

Add to this the fact that Okinawan folks tend to be a bit more scofflaw than their mainland brethren. As a side note to that last statement, admittedly that appeals to the Libertarian in me and is one of the things that makes living here more fun. However, all that being said it's important to remember that even if you obey the rules of the road, its important to remember that the riders on those little scooters seldom do. Often they'll sneak up from behind you along the curb side and because of their size, they can easily be lost in your blind spot so on a left turn, watch out! 

If you're making a right turn and have to cross the traffic, which was appears to have been the case here, they can be hidden by larger vehicles like trucks and vans in the oncoming lanes. Just because the four wheeled oncoming traffic may be stopped at the intersection for a moment due to the traffic, that doesn't mean the motorcycles and mini-scooters have stopped too, they will keep on keeping on driving through traffic by zipping between lanes and very often out of your view. 

Lastly, a hard concept for foreigners, especially Americans to grasp in this matter is that when it comes to who is at fault in traffic incidents in Japan, your wife or girlfriend actually know what they're talking about if they happen to say that size matters! for example, if you're driving a full size van and a mini-car hits you, you're going to be tagged as being the most at fault in the accident. Take that mentality up a notch and we discover that if you drive a mini-scooter, no matter how "stoopid" you drive, you'll never be found at fault if you are in an accident. By writing the law this way, the government is actually encouraging bad behavior. That is not at all unlike how our government, in the name of fairness, has destroyed morality and the work ethic when they created the welfare state. In that regard, I include corporate welfare with social welfare. It's all counterproductive and encourages or incentivizes stoopidity!

What was it that old Forrest Gump used to say, "Stoopid is as stoopid does!"

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