Inquiry wanted into pedestrian road deathsSave
By Laurel Stowell
Simple measures could make crossing SH1 in Bulls much safer and Government should swing into action to reduce the number of pedestrians killed on roads, Lynley Hood says.
The Dunedin author and researcher is losing her vision and helped start VICTA (Vision Impaired Charitable Trust Aotearoa New Zealand). On October 13 VICTA launched a petition, asking for an inquiry into the failure to recognise and respond to the high road toll of elderly and disabled pedestrians.
The petition closes on January 31. It's available to download, sign and post at http://www.visualimpairment.org.nz.
This week Dr Hood responded to the Wanganui Chronicle story about danger to people crossing the state highways in the Rangitikei town of Bulls. A pedestrian was injured there on December 28, and returning resident Bevan Nathan said someone would be killed if nothing was done.
The town has one pedestrian crossing, on SH3 near its primary school, and one pedestrian refuge in the built up area near the BP service station. Dr Hood said it would be helped by another pedestrian crossing like one she used in Lower Hutt at Christmas.
It had strips of "grippy" concrete in the road leading up to it, giving drivers a visual cue as they approached. Drivers always stopped when they saw her hesitating before she stepped out on it.
In a January 2 article published online by SCOOP, Dr Hood outlined the plight of pedestrians.
She said there were 348 pedestrians killed on New Zealand roads between 2006 and 2015, and only 90 cyclists killed during the same time. Government has more than $350 million invested in a Cycling Safety Action Plan. There is no pedestrian safety plan.
Of the pedestrians killed on roads, 30 per cent were aged 65 or older. That's 104 people, more than the total of cyclists killed.
There has been little response to her article, to her annoyance. But she also wrote to the Chief Coroner, who showed more interest.