Road tragedy involving seniors triggers debate

2017-07-12 22:25:00 | From:

After a driver hit a group of elders who were running in a vehicle lane for morning exercise in Linyi, East China's Shandong Province, there is a heated debate among the public about who should be held accountable for the tragedy.

The accident on Saturday killed one and injured two, and the taxi driver has been taken into custody, said traffic police, the China News Service reported.

Linyi police said Tuesday that both the driver and the group of 30 elders running in the lane violated traffic regulations, adding that the driver's behavior caused the accident, though the elders also violated the rules by running in the vehicle lane.

However, the head of the running group, Xu Guilin, told the Beijing News on Tuesday that they had no alternative. The usual walking lane is under construction and the two sides of the road "were not suitable for walking."

According to China's Road Traffic Safety Law, no organization or individual is allowed to use the road for non-traffic activities without permission, and pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk or street side. Drivers are also required to follow the rules and drive in a safe and civilized way.

The news has sparked wide discussion online. "The elderly group should pay a 'frightening fee' to the driver," user "ppp399" posted on Weibo. Another user "cwbybqzl" wrote that "some elderly people always act as if they are somebody, and when an incident occurs, they often brand themselves as the vulnerable group," which was liked by over 33,000 people.

Meanwhile, Tian Xiaoyu, secretary of the running group, argued that the society is not generous to the elderly, the Beijing News reported.

A commentary on news portal argued that "square dancing, a popular group activity for Chinese seniors, and walking are the most affordable and convenient ways of exercise. If we blindly blame the senior people, the conflicts between the young and the elderly would be further sharpened."

Liu Changsong, a Beijing-based lawyer, said that "the elderly people cannot abuse the sympathy of the society. It's illegal for anyone to walk on the vehicle lane, and the seniors must take responsibility."

Liu added that the driver, who still chose the lane despite seeing the group of runners, might face up to three years of imprisonment if the driver was found guilty of drink-driving or driving with fatigue.

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