Being a pedestrian
It is easy to forget that we are all pedestrians, using the road network to go about our daily life!
One of the best ways to get around Merseyside, whether it’s commuting to work or for fun, is to walk. It’s a fantastic way to get about as well as providing a wide range of health and environmental benefits.
It’s an unhappy fact that being a pedestrian carries a certain amount of risk, and we need to make sure that a rise in the number of people walking doesn’t lead to more pedestrian casualties.
From 2013 – 2017, 966 Merseyside pedestrians were killed or seriously injured. 913 were seriously injured – 53 lost their lives. Pedestrians accounted for 33% of all those killed or seriously injured within Merseyside during that time.
What are we doing to help pedestrians?
Things need to change for pedestrians. We’re trying to reduce the risks by creating a safe walking environment to eliminate all instances of death and injury from our road network.
As the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership we’ve run campaigns and initiatives over the past few years aimed at reducing the number of pedestrian casualties across the region. These are the main four:
Share The Road
Everyone has the right to share the road safely, either by car, motorcycle, bicycle or on foot. The “Share the Road” campaign tries to combat the fact that drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all use the roads and would ideally prefer to do so without the other in the way. Basic road etiquette requires all road users to use our network safely and efficiently.
Watch Your Step
The ongoing “Watch Your Step” initiative urges pedestrians to keep their “Eyes on the road, not on your phone.” The campaign is aimed at reminding pedestrians to use common-sense and not to get distracted when crossing the road.
Pedestrian Crossing Research
Investigation of pedestrian casualty data indicates that many collisions involving pedestrians occur within metres of a pedestrian crossing. The partnership has engaged with So-Mo, a Liverpool behavioural interventions agency who have extensive road safety experience. Together, they are conducting ground-breaking research into pedestrian crossings and encouragement of their use. Work is continuing on this project.
Winter Distraction Campaign
The Winter distraction campaigns focus on vulnerable road users with the emphasis placed on adult pedestrians. They promote safety through advertising on escalator panels of the main stations across the region, electronic advertising hoardings, bus shelters, train carriage panels as well as advertising panels in taxis. The campaigns also include the use of bespoke beer mats and bar runners in local pubs and clubs.
Here is some practical advice for the various road user groups. It is by no means exhaustive but it is aimed at ensuring the continued safety of pedestrians of all ages on our streets.
- Use the pedestrian crossings provided to cross. Most of the time they’re just as quick (and definitely safer) than waiting for a gap in the traffic.
- Always make sure that all vehicles have come to a stop when using a pedestrian crossing. Unfortunately, not all drivers respect the red light or stop line.
- Put away any distractions such as phones etc.
- Remember that vehicles also exit or enter driveways by crossing the footpath.
- Try to walk on a footpath or pavement at all times. If there aren’t any, then keep in single file walking towards the oncoming traffic so that you can see the vehicles ahead.
- In dark conditions it’s a good idea to wear or carrying something bright or fluorescent – it’ll catch the attention of drivers coming towards you. The more visible you are the better.
- Crossing between parked cars can be dangerous for young and older road users. There have been a number of incidents where a driver has reversed while a pedestrian is crossing behind them. Also, young children can be hidden by a car as well as having a restricted view of oncoming traffic.
- Speed limits have been set for a reason. In built up areas there’s more chance of coming into contact with vulnerable road users – i.e. pedestrians, cycle users and motorbike users. Be especially aware of the possibility of pedestrians when passing areas such as schools, parks, high streets, etc.
- Always drive to the conditions. For example, just because the speed says 30mph, if the visibility is poor due to weather, you may need to drive at 20mph or less.
- Be extra vigilant when approaching junctions or zebra crossings. People may be wearing dark clothing, making them harder to spot at night.
- Eliminate all distractions from inside your car so that you can concentrate fully.
- The Highway Code says drivers have to “watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning – if they have started to cross they have priority” (Highway Code, rule 170).
- Don’t park on the footpath in a way that obstructs access for pedestrians. Pram users and wheelchair users are particularly affected as are those with visual impairment. Pedestrians shouldn’t have to walk into the road (putting themselves at risk just to get past).
- Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are working and not obscured by dust or dirt. It’s sensible to switch them on before dusk so you’re not inadvertently driving around unseen.
- Use your indicators when turning. They’re not just for the benefit of other drivers but also to pedestrians who can then anticipate your movement and act accordingly.
- Make sure you have a clean windscreen with washer fluid and working windscreen wipers.
- Attend regular eye appointments – can you read a number plate from 20 metres?
- Choose an Engage Instructor if you’re learning to drive.
- If you are aged 60 or over you can take up opportunity of a free driving assessment with our Drive Safely for Longer initiative.
- Avoid cycling on the footpath – it’s not only illegal, it’s also disconcerting for the old, young and infirm to have their “safe” space threatened by fast moving cycles.
- Do not go through red lights. Pedestrians rely on the lights to let them know when it’s safe to cross. Do not cycle over a Zebra Crossing when there’s a pedestrian on it.
- Just as lights on your bike alert drivers to your presence, they also indicate your approach to pedestrians. This can be especially useful considering the silent nature of bikes!
- Follow the Highway Code rules on the legal requirements for front and rear lights.