Victorian tragedy

21 Dec 2018

Graph shows the proportion of people killed or seriously injured by age range, compared to the proportion of the population they make up. The dotted line represents where the proportion of fatalities/injuries is equal to the proportion of population.

What are the facts on pedestrian road safety?
Our resident traffic engineer Jo Eady has had a look at the data for Victoria. 

Jo analysed TAC and VicRoads crash statistics for the five years across 2013-2017 and found more than 6,500 pedestrians were injured, 2,600 seriously. A total of 183 people were killed.  That's an awful lot of lives affected or destroyed.

One of the notable findings is that pedestrians are injured in almost all recorded crashes (97%).  In reality, that probably means that only pedestrian crashes where people are injured get recorded.

The number of pedestrian deaths and injuries has been reasonably steady for the last five years. There has been a slight increase in pedestrian hospitalisations since 2016, but they are not increasing as quickly as hospitalisations for all road users. There have been more fatalities in the last 12 months than in the previous 12 months, but it’s too early to call that a trend.

Interestingly, while the gender split of pedestrian crashes is generally fairly equal, males are twice as likely to be killed as women.

It is difficult to discern much about crash circumstances from the data, but pedestrian crashes are evenly split between intersections and other locations. Perhaps surprisingly, almost half of the intersection crashes were at T junctions. At intersections, the majority of vehicles were turning at the time of the crash – 38% were turning right and 21% left.  This suggests a substantial proportion of crashes involve drivers failing to give way.

Pedestrian crashes affect all age groups, in fact people aged 20-29 are hit most often – 1,300 across the five years.  However, older people are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a crash. People over 70 represent 10% of the population but are involved in 15% of pedestrian crashes and make up 21% of serious injuries and 34% of fatalities.

So what’s the take home message here? 

Firstly, we need to keep reminding drivers of their obligations to give way to pedestrians and enforce  the law.

Secondly, the pedestrian road toll is not getting worse, but there’s no sign of a trend ‘towards zero’ either.  We are not going to meet our road safety objectives with business as usual. 

Oh and blokes, watch your step.

Read the full analysis here