A cyclist in Japan has died from injuries sustained when she was hit by a motorist who was distracted as he tried to charge his mobile phone, with the battery almost drained because he had been playing the hugely popular smartphone app Pokemon GO at the wheel.
The victim, aged in her 20s and a Vietnamese national living in Kasugai in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, a little over a fortnight after the collision, reports the Japan Times, which says it is the second fatality believed to be due to a driver playing the game.
Initially, the driver, a man also aged in his 20s, had been arrested on suspicion of negligence resulting in injury. Since the victim died, police are now investigating the incident as one of negligence resulting in death.
Last Tuesday, 72-year-old Sachiko Nakanishi was killed and Kayoko Ikawa, 60, seriously injured when they were struck by a driver as the crossed the road in Tokushima.
The motorist, 39-year-old farmer Keiji Goo, subsequently admitted to police that he had been playing the game at the time of the fatal crash.
Ahead of its launch in Japan on 22 July, road safety bodies there had warned about potential dangers associated with people, including drivers, being distracted while playing the augmented reality game.
Similar concerns had been raised by police and transport authorities at the app’s earlier launch in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Last week, Japan’s National Police Agency said that since the Pokemon GO smartphone app went live in the country, use of it had been linked to 79 road traffic incidents.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.