The number of pedestrians killed on New Zealand roads has increased by a whopping 75 per cent this year, as the total road toll also soars.

Ministry of Transport road toll data released this morning showed 244 people have died in 220 fatal crashes so far this year.

On the same date last year, the road toll stood at 213 deaths from 180 fatal crashes.

One of the most concerning trends is the number of pedestrians killed.

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So far this year 28 pedestrians have died compared to 16 last year and 18 in 2015.

In March, Auckland man Bruce Alexander Tremaine, 66, died after being hit by a vehicle on George St in Papatoetoe.

In June 22-year-old Jonathan Knuiman died at the scene after he was hit by a vehicle on State Highway 2, just north of Hawke's Bay Airport in Napier.

Days earlier a local woman died after being struck by a car in Cobden St, Gisborne.

Last month, a male pedestrian was killed in a car crash on Rosedale Rd in Pinehill north of Auckland.

The most common factors in pedestrian deaths were people crossing the road "heedless of traffic", wearing dark clothing, and/or being drunk.

"Running into the road heedless of traffic and unsupervised child are also common pedestrian factors for those under the age of 18," the ministry said.

"Approximately 7 per cent of all police-reported pedestrian casualties between 2011 and 2015 were reported as being visibly intoxicated, and this rose to 10 per cent for pedestrians aged over 18.

"These intoxicated pedestrians accounted for 39 fatalities, 88 serious injuries and 185 minor injuries."

Police attend a crash in the Bay of Plenty in March where a pedestrian was hit and killed. Photo / Andrew Warner
Police attend a crash in the Bay of Plenty in March where a pedestrian was hit and killed. Photo / Andrew Warner

The ministry collated pedestrian crash death data over five years between July 2009 and June 2014, revealing that the greatest numbers of pedestrians killed and injured by vehicles were between the ages of 5 and 24 years.

Using crash data they also found that the highest numbers of child pedestrians were injured between 2pm and 4pm and that adult pedestrians were injured in "relatively steady numbers" from 8am until 8pm.

"More than nine in every 10 reported pedestrian casualties occurred on urban roads - those with a speed limit of 70km/h or less," the report said.

"Over half (53 per cent) of all pedestrian casualties occurred on major urban roads - typically busy arterials.

"Forty per cent happened on minor urban roads and 7 per cent on roads with speed limits of over 70km/h.

"The majority - 86 per cent - of reported pedestrian casualties on urban roads occurred when the pedestrian was crossing the road.

"About two-thirds of these casualties occurred when the pedestrian was not at a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights."

Road policing operations manager Inspector Peter McKennie said road safety was "everyone's responsibility".

"This includes motorists being very mindful and alert for more vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, and adjusting their driving accordingly," he told the Herald.

"Police want people to make sensible decisions when crossing or walking along the road.

"Only walk on the side of roads where it is safe to do so.

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"When there is a footpath, it should always be used.

"If there is no footpath, please chose carefully where you walk, especially on an open road," he said.

Pedestrians crossing the road in Paihia. Northern Advocate Photograph by Peter de Graaf
Pedestrians crossing the road in Paihia. Northern Advocate Photograph by Peter de Graaf

McKennie said it was also a good idea for people to walk in single file on grass verges "as far as possible from the road and facing the oncoming traffic".

McKennie said it was important to remember that people who had been drinking were more vulnerable to crashes as pedestrians.

"Look after your whanau and friends if they are under the influence, make safe decisions for them if required," he said.

And drivers needed to be extra careful in areas busy with pedestrians.

The ministry's road toll data also reveals that so far this year, 194 men and 50 women have been killed in crashes.

Of those, 133 were drivers, 51 were passengers, 22 were motorbike riders and 10 were cyclists.

Most victims were in the 25-39 and 40-59 year age groups.

July was the month with the most deaths - 37 - followed by June with 33 and March, April and January with 32.

Safety tips for pedestrians

• Footpaths provide a safe place for you to walk. Where a footpath is provided, use it.

• Where there is no footpath walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic, if possible, walk off the road, or as close as possible to the edge of the road.

• At night, wear light-coloured or reflective clothing, or carry a torch to help you be seen

• Be careful when crossing driveways, particularly when your visibility is restricted by buildings or fences. Remember, if a driver is coming out of a driveway, their vision will be restricted and they may not see you.

• Cross the road only when it is safe to do so. Always check all nearby roads for vehicles before you cross and quickly walk straight across the road.

• Remember, it takes time for a vehicle to stop. Be sensible and wait for a gap in the traffic before crossing the road.

• When crossing the road at an intersection, remember to check behind and in front for turning vehicles.

• When crossing the road at night, cross near a street light if you can.

• If you need to cross the road when you get off a bus, wait until the bus has moved away before checking for moving vehicles.

• If you have to cross the road between parked vehicles, move out as far as the headlight of a parked car nearest the traffic, then check for moving vehicles and wait for a gap before crossing the road.

• Young children should hold an older person's hand.

For more information on pedestrian safety click here.

http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/about-other-road-users/information-for-pedestrians/