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Crossing crashes ‘senseless’

The pedestrian crossing on Chapel St. PHOTO/BRUCE PAULING

Emily Ireland

A crash at a Masterton pedestrian crossing has got the Wairarapa Road Safety Council stressing the importance of being alert while behind the wheel.

Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling said a pedestrian was struck at a crossing on Chapel St, adjacent to the Masterton Town Square.

He said the pedestrian had suffered serious injuries, “which means her life has been thrown into chaos and she has a long recovery ahead, with possible ongoing physical issues”.

The incident highlighted the “absolute need” for drivers to take extra precautions, focus on the road, and stay alert, he said.

“Drivers should always be aware of pedestrian activity on and around pedestrian crossings, and even more so in these dark gloomy winter months, when visibility is limited due to heavy rain and foggy conditions.

He said wet, slippery, and icy roads resulted in a longer stopping time for vehicles.

“Local drivers know where the crossings are and should adjust their speed accordingly, scan for pedestrians, and be prepared to brake and give way,” Pauling said.

“Remember you must give way to pedestrians using or about to use the crossing.

“White painted diamonds on the road also warn drivers of the crossing ahead, as well as black and white painted poles mounted with large fluorescent orange discs either side of the crossing.”

Pedestrian crossings can be challenging particularly for the young, the elderly, and those with disabilities, Pauling said – “so we can help by stopping and showing patience and courtesy for our most vulnerable”.

“Pedestrians need to take responsibility for their safety as well.

“Hi-viz or bright clothing at night means you will be a lot easier for drivers to see you.

“Don’t walk out suddenly and expect a driver to react quickly.

“Ensure the driver has seen you, and wait until the vehicle has stopped before walking out in front, especially at night, and do the same for traffic coming from the other direction as you cross as well.”

Data from the New Zealand Transport Agency, collated by Midweek shows that, since the turn of the century, three people have been killed in Wairarapa as a result of pedestrian crossing crashes.

The data also shows that from the year 2000 to the end of 2017, there were 194 pedestrian crossing crashes.

Out of these, five people were seriously injured, and 71 people received minor injuries.

Pauling said if everyone followed the road rules, stayed alert, and respected each other, “then senseless crashes which ruin lives and can kill or maim vulnerable road users will not be an issue”.

1 COMMENT

  1. Pedestrians should also not assume that a driver will stop and should also be aware of the dangers.

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