Opinion

Not safe on foot

by
February 25, 2016

What is happening on our roads?

Five pedestrians have been killed in Victoria in one week.

One of the fatalities was a 65-year-old woman who was struck and killed by a car while she was waiting at a bus stop. Another, a man on a footpath picking his kids up from school.

And then a man was hit in the Melbourne CBD and a schoolgirl was hit by a garbage truck in Melbourne’s south-east.

It is too early to say who was at fault in each of these incidents involving pedestrians. However, research shows that pedestrians are usually not the cause of accidents that kill or injure them.

TAC research shows that driver error causes 88 per cent of crashes involving senior pedestrians who are injured and 66 per cent of pedestrians aged 16 to 39 years.

The most common crash scenario is when a pedestrian is hit from behind by a car turning right at an intersection. That is, the driver fails to give way to a pedestrian — as they are legally required to do.

It is apparent a large number of drivers either do not know, or do not heed, road rules relating to pedestrians, such as giving way to walkers when crossing sliplanes, or when undertaking U-turns, or entering or exiting a carpark or driveway.

We need better enforcement and road design that facilitates safe driving and takes care of pedestrians.

As for pedestrian error, we are human, we all make mistakes, but we shouldn’t pay for our mistakes with our lives.

Submitted by Ben Rossiter, Executive Officer, Victoria Walks

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