Biker absolved for running down jaywalking pedestrian

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A judge in Taipei County has exonerated a motorcyclist who unexpectedly hit a pedestrian that suddenly changed her route while walking on a road.

A prosecutor indicted Yang Tsao-chun, a college student, for involuntary manslaughter after the victim, a middle-aged woman, died later of injuries sustained in the accident. Yang told the Panchiao District Court that when he drove near an intersection of Yuanshan Road in Chunghe City, the woman suddenly changed her direction to cross the street from the walkway. Unfortunately it was too late for him to apply the brake, Yang said. Despite the argument from the prosecutor and the family of the victim, the judge ruled that the woman must have abruptly changed her mind and walked on the road without paying attention to the traffic situation. He added that Yang should not be held responsible for the accident because it was the woman who supplanted the motorcyclist’s right to the road.

The court ruling is expected to serve as a reminder for all pedestrians to keep high alert and obey the traffic lights when crossing streets. It had been a commonly held concept that the drivers should always be held accountable for accidents involving pedestrians even when the unfortunate victims broke the traffic rules.