• Kyodo

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Ignoring a red light comes as no surprise in Osaka, the country’s worst-ranking prefecture, where the number of fatalities in traffic accidents stemming from disregarding signals hit 102 in the first half of this year.

According to the Osaka Prefectural Police, the 102 people were killed in 29 accidents, of which 11 cases involved cars running a red light — a high number compared with other prefectures.

The number of cyclists who were killed in accidents after ignoring a red light came to 23 nationwide in the January-May period, and Osaka again was on top, with nine fatalities.

Osaka police conducted an on-site survey, asking some 500 cyclists in streets in May and June why they ran a red light.

As many as 36 percent of those who were stopped by officers said they ran the red light even though they were aware the police were watching.

The top reason was “I was in a hurry,” followed by “I was unaware of the red light” and “I thought police won’t stop me anyway.”

A senior Osaka police official lamented the situation, saying ignoring red lights may be deep-rooted in Osaka’s traffic manners.

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