A motorist who ploughed into a pedestrian at traffic lights, causing her a brain injury, has been ordered to pay the victim $7000.

Jonathan David Mayall, 27, appeared before the Dunedin District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to careless driving causing injury.

Judge Michael Turner said it was ''another one of those situations'' where a driver on a green light had turned and hit a pedestrian who also had a signal to cross the road.

In the last such case - heard in the same courtroom less than a month ago - Roger Trotter-Johnson was sentenced to 150 hours' community work and ordered to pay the victim's family $10,000 when his driving error had fatal consequences.


He hit Margaret Herbert while turning into St Andrew St, in almost identical circumstances. The 78-year-old was placed on life support before she died.

At most major intersections in Dunedin, pedestrians are given a three-second head-start to cross before vehicles get the green light.

Motorists are obliged to give way.

Dunedin City Council transport group manager Richard Saunders said: ''We are always looking for ways to improve safety for pedestrians and take any accident very seriously.''

He told the Otago Daily Times the rollout of the ''phased'' traffic lights began five years ago and would continue across the city despite the accidents.

Judge Turner said it appeared traffic engineers thought it sensible to have cars and walkers getting the green light almost simultaneously.

In Mayall's case, he was at the Moray Pl intersection, turning right into George St.

The victim crossed on a ''red flashing man'' and was two-thirds of the way across the road when the defendant hit her, police said.


''The impact caused the victim to go over the front of the vehicle and fall to the road hitting her head,'' court documents stated.

The judge said it was Mayall's responsibility to look out for anyone on foot.

The court heard the woman sustained a ''moderately traumatic brain injury'' which led to fatigue, pain and difficulties with memory.

The incident had put a strain on her relationships with family members and she suffered significant financial losses after spending 20 days in hospital, Judge Turner said.

Defence counsel Sarah McClean said her client wanted to meet the victim to apologise in person but the woman had not wanted to relive the ordeal.

''This is an example of how human error can have tragic consequences,'' Ms McClean said.

''The defendant will live with the lasting impact of what he's done.''

Despite the extensive impact on the victim, she did not harbour any ill will towards Mayall, the judge said.

The defendant was convicted and discharged, banned from driving for six months and ordered to make the emotional-harm payment by the end of the month.