Report finds safer roads are needed for all

Pedestrian safety measures should look for separate solutions for adults and children, according to a report carried out on behalf of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).

The report, called Stepping Out, has been launched today (8 May) to mark UN Road Safety Week, which focuses global attention on pedestrians. The Safer Roads Foundation and the IAM funded it.

Key findings in the report included:

68% of pedestrian casualties are adults.

High risk situations for adults are weekend evenings and after consuming alcohol.

The highest risk age is 12 years.

40% of child pedestrian casualties live in the UK’s most deprived areas.

Newham London Borough has highest pedestrian casualty risk.

Daventry, Northampton has lowest pedestrian risk.

Friday is the peak day of the week for adults and children; Sunday the lowest.

The total number of reported pedestrians killed or seriously injured on UK roads fell from 19,035 in 1980 to 5,605 in 2010.

Recently, pedestrian deaths or serious injuries have plateaued at 22.9% in 2010, versus 22.4% in 1980.

But 2011 saw a 5% increase in pedestrians killed or seriously injured, including a 12% increase in pedestrian deaths.

Characteristics of pedestrian casualties:

Adult and child casualties have significantly different collision characteristics and need to be treated separately.

Children are more likely to be injured in spring and summer (except August) but adults have higher casualties spread distributions between October and January.

Children are more likely to be injured on weekdays at morning and afternoon school times.

Peaks around commuter times for adult casualties are less pronounced but there are significant numbers in late evening and night time.

Adults are far more likely (34% vs 15%) to be injured as a pedestrian in darkness than children.

The vast majority of pedestrians are injured on roads with a 30mph speed limit.

Most casualties (70% of children and 58% of adults) are not injured at or near a pedestrian crossing.

More than three-quarters of collisions involving a pedestrian casualty (78%) have one or more contributory factor assigned to the pedestrian themselves.

Of these factors, 3/5ths are due to the pedestrian failing to look properly.

Commenting on the report, PACTS executive director David Davies, said: “A worrying finding of this report is that there seems to have been little progress in pedestrian casualty reduction over the past three to four years. The final casualty data for 2012 (due in late June 2013) will be an important indicator.

“We need to design our roads and streets around people, acknowledging the realities of human behaviour. All road users have responsibilities but temporary lapses of attention should not be punished by death or serious injury. This report provides evidence rather than recommendations that should be considered carefully by all road safety stakeholders.”

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