Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Confusion over right-of-way may be adding to pedestrian road trauma

15.03.2007
The latest NSW road injury figures (2005) show that 78% of collisions between pedestrians and vehicles occur when pedestrians are crossing roads. Most of these collisions occur away from a marked crossing but a sizeable proportion (16%) occurs at marked crossings, especially for older pedestrians.

The report is based on two studies, one that surveyed people’s understanding of road rules and a clandestine filed study of pedestrian behaviour.

In the survey study, 574 people in Sydney and rural NSW were asked their beliefs about pedestrian right-of-way for a range of situations at signal-controlled crossings, marked pedestrian crossings (zebra crossings), and unmarked sections of road.

Understanding of brick-paved sections of road and pedestrian refuges was poor, Dr Hatfield says: "There is confusion about right-of-way at brick-paved sections of road and pedestrian refuges that are not marked to indicate a crossing. In Australia, neither of these installations operates as a marked crossing, but the public may believe that they do."

One in three respondents believed that a pedestrian has right-of way at a brick-paved section and one in six said a pedestrian had right-of-way at a pedestrian refuge. One in five Sydneysiders and one in ten rural NSW residents said they didn't know who has right-of-way at a brick-paved section of road. According to NSW road rules, brick-paved roadway and pedestrian refuges are no different in status to unmarked sections of road, where only 8% of respondents believed a pedestrian has right-of-way.

"If brick-paved sections of road are intended to be crossings they should be marked as such, and otherwise they should be removed," says Dr Hatfield. "Pedestrian refuges are more likely to have a road-safety value, but road users should be aware that they don't afford right-of-way."

Over 90% of respondents knew that at marked pedestrian crossings (zebra crossings), drivers are required to slow down and stop when a pedestrian is on the crossing. But a surprising 71% of respondents believed that a pedestrian has right-of way while waiting to step onto the crossing, whereas this is true only for ‘children's crossings’. "Extending right-of-way to pedestrians who are waiting at zebra crossings would remove this scope for confusion," says Dr Hatfield.

Younger people were more likely than older people to correctly say a pedestrian has right of way while crossing at zebra crossings, but were more likely to incorrectly say a pedestrian has right of way while waiting to cross at zebra crossings.

The results also show confusion over right of way when a driver who is facing a green traffic signal turns left or right across the path of a pedestrian crossing on a Walk signal, a Flashing Don't Walk signal, or a Don't Walk signal.

"Drivers may feel - wrongly - that they have right-of-way over pedestrians in these situations because they are facing a green traffic signal, and this may be particularly pronounced when the pedestrian is facing a flashing or static Don't Walk signal," says Dr Hatfield. "Road users should be aware that turning vehicles must give right-of-way to pedestrians, even when the vehicle is facing a Green signal, and regardless of the pedestrian signal."

Australian road rules governing signal-controlled intersections state that pedestrians may start to cross on a Walk signal. Pedestrians must not start to cross, but may finish crossing on a flashing Don't Walk signal, and they must not start crossing on a Don't Walk signal.

The researchers observed 2,626 pedestrians crossing at signal-controlled crossings in Sydney and rural NSW and found that the bulk of pedestrians complied with these rules: 80% crossed at the Walk sign, however 6% crossed at the flashing Don't Walk signal and 14% crossed at a Don't Walk signal.

Pedestrians who walked against a flashing Don't Walk or a Don't Walk signal were more likely to look at traffic before crossing and while crossing than those who walked on a Walk signal. This backs up the survey findings, which suggest that pedestrians think their right of way is influenced by the pedestrian signal. The observational study also reveals that female pedestrians are more likely than male pedestrians to look for traffic before crossing.

Dr Hatfield says pedestrian crossing types should be rationalised and all road users should know about rules and responsibilities at crossings. "It is also important to stay aware, and be considerate, of fellow road users."

Dr Julie Hatfield is a Senior Research Fellow at the NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre at the University of NSW, where she undertakes research that aims to improve road safety. Her current research focuses on road-user distraction, as well as the role of psychological factors in risky driving, especially amongst younger drivers. Several of her research projects have aimed to develop and evaluate interventions for younger drivers. She also conducts research on vulnerable road-users (pedestrians and cyclists).

Julie Hatfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>