National Road Safety Week is an initiative from the Safer Australian Roads and Highways Group, partnering road safety organisations and government to highlight the impact of road trauma and ways to reduce it. Every year, more than 1200 people are killed and 44,000 seriously injured on Australian roads.
In 2021, WA recorded its highest road deaths in five years. 166 people lost their life on WA roads in 2021. Unfortunately, this year already, 51 people have lost their lives on WA roads. WA has the worst road fatality rate of any State. On average, one person is killed on our roads every two days.
Kerrie Pringle of Accident Claims Lawyers commented that “National Road Safety Week is a time for us to remember those people who have experienced trauma on our roads. However it is also a time to protect those that protect us, make sure the vehicles we are driving are safe and looking out for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users such as cyclists”.
Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable when interacting with vehicles and have no real protections in a crash. Whether you’re a driver, pedestrian or cyclist, we all have a responsibility to pay attention to our surroundings and use roads safely. In 2020, 9 pedestrians lost their lives by being hit with a moving vehicle and in 2021, this number raised substantially to 21.
According to Main Roads WA, on average 520 pedestrians were involved in police reported traffic crashes every year between 2014 and 2018. Of those, more than 60% occurred on roads with speed limits of between 50 and 60km/hr. Research also shows pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed when hit by a car travelling at 50km/hr, compared to 40km/hr.
In Australia, the year ending April 30 2021, there were a total of 35 road deaths involving cyclists. RAC report that cyclists involved in crashes on main roads and highways with higher speed limits are more likely to be seriously or fatally injured. They suggest that motorists must ensure that there is a minimum distance of 1m between their vehicle and a cyclist on roads with speed limits up to 60 km/h, and 1.5m on roads with speed limits greater than 60km/h .