Non-motor vehicle related pedestrian injury on and near the road – Implications for the Safe System approach to road safety
Research carried out from 2008 to 2010 examined the quantum and causes of non-motor vehicle injuries to pedestrians, on or near the roadway, through a structured interview survey. Under a Safe System approach these injuries are the responsibility of the Road Controlling Authority. The highest proportion of trips and falls (34%) were sustained while stepping over a kerb. Factors which amplified the severity of injuries included the road or path surface, pedestrians’ inattention, type of footwear worn, and whether walking or running. Two main issues were identified from the study. These were that: 1) people tripped and fell more often on poorly-maintained surfaces as opposed to poorly-designed areas; and 2) the severity of the injuries is directly related to the surface. The study recommends improving the definition of kerbing in key pedestrian areas and improving the maintenance regime of footpaths and roads used by pedestrians, including crossing points. It also recommends making areas used by pedestrians more predictable in design. The study also found that there is a need to instigate research to provide improved data and analysis tools to allow Authorities to prioritise such countermeasures vis-à-vis other uses of road safety funds, and for improved data for input into such analysis tools.