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Overcoming Barriers to Pedestrian Safety
Large proportions of the Australian and New Zealand road tolls are pedestrians (around 13% in Australia and 10% in New Zealand) and pedestrians make up a much larger proportion of the global road toll, with many countries recording over half their toll as pedestrians (e.g., Peru 78%, Mozambique 68%, Congo 59%, Bangladesh 54%). Furthermore, pedestrians are not as readily addressed within the safe systems approach as are vehicle occupants, because of the lack of physical protection and consequently much lower impact speeds at which death or serious injury are likely. This paper considers the barriers to more effective management of pedestrian safety and amenity. These include: (1) the ‘roads are built for cars’ mentality; (2) perceived costs of pedestrian safety treatments versus economic gains of vehicular traffic movement; (3) the absence of consideration of pedestrian waiting time in benefit cost analyses of road management policy; (4) ongoing expansion of vehicle capacity on roads; (5) victim blaming; and (6) data collection problems created in the likely scenario of interviewing an uninjured driver able to put his/her point of view versus a deceased or severely injured pedestrian unable to speak. Solutions are offered in terms of focused research, policy changes, reconsideration of benefits cost ratio factors, better speed management and engineering of roads and roadsides to accommodate pedestrians.