Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Stay off road or face fine

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson, of The Dog and Lemon Guide, supported police ticketing pedestrians in some cases. Photo / Richard Robinson
Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson, of The Dog and Lemon Guide, supported police ticketing pedestrians in some cases. Photo / Richard Robinson

Police are advising pedestrians to watch their step after more than a hundred were fined last year for jaywalking, failing to comply with traffic signals and "risky crossing of a level crossing" among other offences.

NZ Police data released to the Herald on Sunday revealed 140 pedestrians received tickets in 2015. The vast majority were for being on a motorway - a fine of $250.

In the past decade, pedestrians have also been fined for crossing against the red man traffic signal, crossing within 20m of pedestrian crossings or traffic signals and failing to keep to the footpath.

Road policing operations manager Peter McKennie said police had to intervene when people made poor decisions.

"People need to behave responsibly and make their own decisions on what is best for their safety and the safety of those around them," he said.

"That is the preference for police ahead of the need to revert to enforcement action to keep people safe.

"If police do have to intervene due to people making poor decisions, outcomes will be dependent on the circumstances and can range from a warning to an infringement notice or court appearance."

The vast majority of pedestrian injuries or deaths could be easily avoided, he said.

"The main risk factors are pedestrians not paying attention to the traffic, being distracted by mobile phones, wearing headphones and not hearing the traffic, misjudging the speed of traffic or visibility being obstructed by parked vehicles, trees and other objects.

"While an adult may judge the situation safe for them to cross, children may follow suit without fully understanding the risks."

AA road safety spokesman Dylan Thomsen said if pedestrians did something deemed dangerous, there needed to be some kind of enforcement action.

"Being on the motorway is the most risky because drivers are driving at high speeds, there aren't footpaths and the drivers aren't expecting to see pedestrians," he said.

"But in all cases, pedestrians should be using their common sense and not doing things that are risky or dangerous."

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson, of The Dog and Lemon Guide, also supported police ticketing pedestrians in some cases.

He believed, where possible, pedestrians and motorists should be kept physically apart.

"Bangkok used to suffer multiple pedestrian fatalities caused by pedestrians running across the busy main road. Eventually, the authorities built a fence down the middle of the road and put pedestrian bridges over the top of the road, which led to a dramatic reduction in pedestrian accidents.

"It's not rocket science."

- Herald on Sunday

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