Speeds and Pedestrians – what’s the right mix?
Keywords: Pedestrian Safety
Pedestrians are highly vulnerable in traffic with the young and the aged especially at risk. Impact speed, the stature and fitness of the pedestrian, and the frontal design of the striking vehicle are all influential in determining the severity of the outcome of any collision involving a pedestrian. An area of special focus among researchers has been the relationship between impact speed with a pedestrian and the probability of death or serious injury resulting. More recent analyses have suggested that impact speeds as high as 50 km/h coincide with an approximate 10% risk of death to the pedestrian and also mark the commencement of a rapidly rising risk of death for increasing impact speeds above 50 km/h. This result could be construed to mean that travel speeds of 50 km/h are likely to produce acceptable outcomes under a Safe System vision. This paper seeks to briefly review the current state of knowledge regarding travel and impact speeds, and to provide evidence-based support for translating Safe System philosophy and principles to real-world practice.