Japanese police arrest go-kart driver dressed as Super Mario over hit-and-run with cyclist

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That’s Super Mario the video game character, not the Italian sprinter

If you were involved in a hit-and-run crash then saw the driver making off in a go-kart and dressed as Super Mario, you might have thought you’d suffered a pretty bad bang to the head – but that’s exactly what happened to one unfortunate cyclist in Japan.

The incident occurred in the Chiyoda area of central Tokyo on February 23, when a driver dressed as the Nintendo video game character was involved in a crash with a cyclist before fleeing the scene in his go-kart.

Japan Today reports that Tokyo police have arrested a 35-year-old Taiwanese tourist Zhang Ren Jie in connection with the crash, with the Kyodo news agency reporting that Zhang admitted the hit-and-run charges brought against him.

The 18-year-old cyclist who was the victim of the crash reportedly suffered only minor injuries, and is expected to make a full recovery in the next two weeks.

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Perhaps surprisingly, this is far from the first crash in Tokyo involving go-kart drivers dressed as Super Mario or other video game characters, with police reporting 12 incidents in six months last year involving the vehicles which are used for tours of the city targetted at foreign tourists.

Drivers of the go-karts are given a briefing by the operators before heading out on guided tours of the city, but are not required to wear a helmet or use a seat belt, with a number of crashes being blamed on the low vehicles being difficult to spot for drivers of normal-sized cars.

The Japanese Transport Ministry is currently looking at ways to tighten regulations on the vehicles, including mandatory helmets and seat belts, and ways to make them easier to see for other road users.


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