One killed as taxi ploughs into joggers on deserted Chinese road

Legal experts debate who’s to blame as video shows driver failing to notice group of runners carrying a huge flag

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2018, 2:17pm

One person was killed and two others were injured on Saturday when a taxi ploughed into a group of joggers on a deserted stretch of motorway in eastern China, local media reported.

A video of the incident, released by Shandong Television on Monday, shows a group of about 30 people running in two lines along a road in Linyi, Shandong province.

They are mostly dressed in turquoise T-shirts and dark shorts, and a person at the front of the group is carrying a large red flag.

Aside from a few parked cars and a construction crane on the side of the road, the highway is completely empty, until a taxi comes into shot and drives straight into the group from behind.

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A man at the back of the group spots the vehicle at the last moment and manages to jump clear, but several of his running mates are not so lucky and are thrown into the air by the force of the impact.

The television report quoted police as saying that the crash, which happened about 5.20am, was the fault of the taxi driver, who was not paying due care and attention.

She was taken into custody and will face criminal charges, the report said.

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Several of the injured runners were taken to hospital, where one of them died from injuries sustained in the crash. Two others are still receiving treatment, the report said, without providing any details of the victims or their injuries.

As the taxi driver awaits possible prosecution, legal experts debated whether or not she should be held responsible.

He Bing, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, said the person who organised the run is the real guilty party.

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“Organising a large number of people to run on a highway is a serious violation of traffic regulations. This is a crime,” he wrote in a WeChat social media forum.

Beijing-based lawyer Han Xiao disagreed, however, saying the driver should be held responsible as she failed to see the runners despite the incident happening in broad daylight on an open road.

He said she could be facing a prison term of up to three years.

However, “the organiser should also take some responsibility”, he added, as he or she was negligent with regard to the safety of the runners.

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Group running on public highways is becoming increasingly popular in China, but it has also sparked controversy.

While joggers say they fell safer running en masse – often in groups of several hundred – critics say they are putting themselves and other road users at risk.