Police ask all road users to step up for pedestrian safety

Victoria Police is issuing an urgent safety plea to all road users in response to pedestrian deaths more than doubling this year.

Police will stage a statewide day of action targeting pedestrian safety and distraction this Wednesday, 18 May, coinciding with National Road Safety Week.

Victoria Police is concerned the spike in pedestrian deaths will continue heading into the winter months as it gets darker earlier and visibility is reduced. Pedestrian volumes are also increasing as more people return to work and social events.

Statewide 15 pedestrians have died on Victoria’s roads this year compared with six at the same time last year. Even if pedestrians survive a collision the consequences can be life-changing. Victoria Police analysis shows more than 1200 pedestrians were injured last year alone.

This Wednesday’s day of action will see highway patrol and general duties police across the state specifically tasked to target pedestrian safety and distraction, which has been a factor in several pedestrian deaths this year.

Police will be making sure pedestrians are obeying traffic signals and speak with them about good road safety practices. Victoria Police is particularly concerned pedestrians playing loud music through headphones or using their mobile phone may not be alert to hazards around them.

Motorists are being urged to slow down and pay attention, especially in built up areas where there are more pedestrians. Police will be making sure they’re adhering to speed limits, obeying road rules around pedestrian crossings and refraining from using their mobile phone behind the wheel.

Police forces around Australia will join the day of action as part of National Road Safety Week, which runs until 23 May. The event, this year hosted by Victoria, was created by Peter Frazer of the Safer Australian Roads and Highways group after his 23-year-old daughter was in February 2012 tragically killed in a car crash.

Victoria Police encourages all road users to show their support for the initiative, which this year asks motorists to “pledge to drive so others survive”. People can take the pledge online or show their support by wearing a yellow ribbon lapel badge, yellow ribbon or display a vehicle sticker.

Victoria Police is also this Friday, May 20, supporting Walk Safely to School Day as part of National Road Safety Week activities.

Further information about National Road Safety Week is available at roadsafetyweek.com.au. Information about keeping safe on footpaths and roads is available at police.vic.gov.au/pedestrians-and-cyclists.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Glenn Weir:

“Pedestrian deaths have more than doubled on Victoria’s roads this year.

We’re concerned this trend will continue as we head into the winter months when it gets darker earlier and visibility is reduced. That’s why we’re making pedestrian safety a focus as part of National Road Safety Week.

Distraction has been a factor in several pedestrian deaths this year. Too often people aren’t aware of their surroundings because they’re blasting music through their headphones or absorbed with their mobile phone.

We also need motorists to pay attention and be aware of pedestrians. Drive so others survive, especially around built up and busy areas like schools and shopping strips. There are lower speed limits in these areas for a reason.

Please, help us keep pedestrians safe. They’re such simple steps but they could avoid a tragedy.”

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