Victorian pedestrian safety the focus for new police operation

Posted on July 10, 2024Comments Off on Victorian pedestrian safety the focus for new police operation

Victoria Police has launched a new road policing initiative aimed at curbing this year’s spike in pedestrian road deaths.

Operation Aware will see police focusing on addressing behaviour which leads to trauma among vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.

It comes as almost half of this year’s pedestrian deaths occurred during the past two months, as five fatalities were recorded in May followed by a further seven in June.

A total of 25 pedestrians have died in Victoria so far this year, an increase of 56 per cent on the same time last year at 16.

Victoria Police says May to August is historically the highest risk period for collisions involving pedestrians, which it attributes to reduced visibility due to fewer daylight hours and inclement weather during winter.

The operation will run until the end of September this year.

Operation Aware will target priority high-risk metropolitan council areas which have high numbers of pedestrians intersecting with other road users, such as Melbourne’s CBD, Merri-bek, Port Phillip, and Yarra, as these areas

Between 2019 and 2023, more than 80 per cent of pedestrian collisions occurred in metro areas, with weekdays between 2pm and 8pm identified as the most high-risk time.

Melbourne, Glen Eira, Monash, Casey, and Merri-bek recorded the highest number of pedestrian injury collisions during May to August in those years, with 76 per cent of collisions occurring in 40-60km/h speed zones.

Victoria’s Road Policing Assistant Commissioner, Glenn Weir, stated the importance of focusing on vulnerable road users who have “little to no protection” on the road.

“We’ve conducted thorough analysis to understand when, where and most importantly, why trauma involving pedestrians is occurring, and we’ll be prioritising and addressing these issues during Operation Aware,” he said.

“This is not about levelling blame at anyone, this is about saving lives and reducing the amount of trauma on our roads.”

Between April and September 2023, Victoria Police conducted Operation Halo – a similar initiative focused on improving vulnerable road user safety. During that time, 2191 offences were issued.

Operation Aware will be a large-scale initiative that involves local and state highway patrols, solo units, bike patrols, and police foot patrols, who will be engaging – and enforcing where necessary – with all road users over the coming months.

Police have identified failing to give way, by both drivers and pedestrians, is the most common contributing factor to pedestrian deaths.

As such, police will be targeting vehicles failing to give way, as well as other behaviours putting pedestrians at risk such as distraction, speeding, impaired driving, and riding on the footpath.

Police have also found 45 per cent of pedestrian deaths this year occurred “mid-block”, a section of road with no traffic lights or pedestrian crossing. That means they’ll be proactively engaging with pedestrians to encourage the safe use of designated footpaths and crossings as part of the operation.

For more information, visit Victoria Police’s road safety page here.

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