Pedestrian safety in a digital world

It’s important to consider your safety as a pedestrian so that your mobile phone doesn’t become a distraction. Here are a few things you should consider when you’re walking on the footpath and crossing the road.

Where possible, cross the road at a designated pedestrian crossing – whether that be a zebra crossing or traffic lights.

Avoid crossing the road with your headphones on, regardless of whether you’re actively using them. This can prevent you from hearing oncoming hazards. It’s best to put your activity on hold and remove your headphones then come back to it when you’re safely across.

Similarly, never cross the road while looking at your screen. Before stepping out onto the road, consciously make an effort to look up to the road. As you’re crossing be visually aware of your surroundings and any potential hazards and don’t be tempted to look down at your screen. If using your phone for navigation, turn on navigation alerts to reduce the need to look at your screen.

Don’t assume that an approaching vehicle can see you. Wait until the vehicle has stopped before you cross in front of it.

Try to avoid crossing in front, in between or behind large vehicles like buses and trucks as they may have trouble seeing you and require far longer stopping distances.

Check out the Pedestrian Council of Australia for more information on pedestrian safety.

Pedestrian safety with kids.

Children are vulnerable road users. Moving vehicles provide a potentially dangerous traffic situation for children, regardless of how quiet the street may appear.

Children can be easily distracted which can lead them to being unpredictable in high traffic areas.

As an adult, it’s your responsibility to ensure that children are safe from harm. Using roads or footpaths with a child requires your full attention. It’s a good idea to put your phone away so that nothing can distract you.

If someone calls, then consider stopping to take the call before proceeding along the footpath. And don’t use headphones when walking with children.

It’s a good idea to teach your child good practices with regards to road safety. In addition, always set an example for your children by following the rules and using good judgement. It can also help your child to learn if you talk through your decisions and point out safe parts of the road for crossing.

Check out the Kidsafe NSW website and the Raising Children Network website for more information on pedestrian safety for children.

What does the law say?

Subject to a few exceptions, a pedestrian must not cross the road within 20 meters of a road crossing.

A pedestrian must not stay on the road longer than necessary.

Penalties may apply if you fail to adhere to these laws.

Review the laws on pedestrian crossing outlined by the Pedestrian Council of Australia