Safety’s in the air this festival season

14 February, 2024

The vast majority of serious pedestrian crashes occur in places where there is no dedicated crossing, prompting RAA and Walking SA to remind pedestrians and drivers to share the road safely this festival season.

RAA analysis of 2018-2022 crash data has revealed that 85% of serious and fatal pedestrian crashes occurredat locations where there was no designated crossing facility such as traffic signals or a pedestrian crossing.

It comes as a recent survey from RAA and Walking SA found the most commonly raised concerns by pedestrians were safety and infrastructure related, including:

  • A lack of footpaths
  • Uneven surfaces
  • A lack of safe places to cross the road

Commonly raised locations in need of improved infrastructure included Adelphi Terrace, Glenelg; Swamp Road, Uraidla; Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide; and Port Road, between James Congdon Drive and West Terrace.

RAA Senior Traffic Engineer Matt Vertudaches said 19 pedestrians lost their lives on SA roads in 2023 – the second worst year for pedestrian fatalities since the introduction of 50km/hr default urban speed limit in 2003.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to embrace walking and active transport during events like the Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival and WOMAD, but there is a responsibility on drivers and pedestrians alike to use the road safely,” Mr Vertudaches said.

“Last year was the worst year on our roads for vulnerable road users in a quarter of a century, so we all need to be aware of the risks that come with more people moving around busy streets.

“The feedback we’ve received from pedestrians tells us safe crossing locations and footpaths are the most important factors in helping them feel safe when they’re walking for travel or recreation.

“This concern is backed up by crash data – more than 360 pedestrians were either seriously injured on lost their lives on South Australian roads between 2018-2022.

“With our streets set to be bustling over this period, we’re encouraging pedestrians to use designated crossings wherever possible, and reminding drivers to be extra careful when driving through the city.

“Motorists should remember their responsibilities to give way to pedestrians when turning left and right, and when leaving a property or carpark.”

The 2018-2022 crash data also shows more than 50% of pedestrian fatalities occur at night, indicating the greater risk to vulnerable road users when visibility is low.

It also shows drugs or alcohol were involved in 39 per cent of pedestrian fatalities – up from the 33 per cent average across all road user deaths.

Walking SA Executive Director Sharon Kelsey said the survey findings would inform future advocacy priorities.

“Our South Australian community have been keen contributors to this survey and their ongoing support means we can continue to identify hot spots that might otherwise dissuade walking,” Ms Kelsey said.

“Walking has numerous health, wellbeing and social benefits – a safe network of streets and trails means we can all enjoy the great outdoors.

“This helps our neighbourhoods, our city centre and our regional areas thrive – foot traffic is the best traffic!”