Relative risk of illegal pedestrian behaviours
Submission Date: 2008
High numbers of pedestrians are killed and injured each year in urban areas, with about half being considered responsible for the crash. Observations of pedestrian behaviour show widespread non- compliance with legal requirements, which are difficult to enforce in any case. However, there is no information available on the level of crash risk associated with illegal pedestrian behaviours, and hence on the rationale for enforcement and the priorities for public education. An observation survey of pedestrian behaviour was conducted at signalised intersections in the Brisbane CBD, using behavioural categories selected on the basis that the involvement of these behaviours in pedestrian crashes was identifiable in police crash reports. The survey confirmed high levels of crossing against the lights or close to the lights. The observation data were weighted to provide a measure of the exposure of pedestrians crossing legally, against the lights, and close to the lights. Eleven years of crash data were analysed to determine numbers of pedestrian crashes which fell into these categories, and relative risk ratios were calculated. The risk ratios showed that crossing against the lights and crossing close to the lights both exhibit a crash risk per crossing event approximately eight times that of legal crossing at signalised intersections. The implications of these results for enforcement and education are discussed. The limitations of the study are discussed in terms of the constraints of police report data and the logistical challenges of conducting observation at locations other than signalised intersections and other than in the CBD.