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Call for jaywalking crackdown

Published: 7:27PM Saturday June 10, 2006 Source: One News

Road safety experts claim jaywalking is rife and have called for a natiowide crackdown.

The probelm is particularly severe in Wellington, where the philosophy for many seems to be why wait when you can dash across the road anywhere you like in a fracton of the time.

"28,500 people use Lambton Quay and Willis Street every day of the week," says Road Saftey Group chairperson Councillor Ian Mckinnon.

"Road safety measures must be brought in, but jay walking is a huge problem in this city."

Wellington has one of the highest pedestrian accident rates in the country, with an average 100 people injured or killed crossing the sreets.

But, jaywalking is a nationwide problem with nearly 1300 pedestrians hit a year.

"For the number of times that cars have to brake or take evasive action, there's clearly a number that aren't doing it safely and at the end of the day it can be fatal," says senior sergeant Richard Hocken.

"These buses are big, they're heavy, they're unforgiving, and the laws of physics means the buses are going to win."

Police complain they are effectively powerless to stop jaywalking.

It is illegal to cross the road within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing and people face a potential fine of $35, but the police say it is too time consuming to prosecute and so don't issue tickets.

Police insist the ability to issue an infringement notice would be the only way to stop kamikaze pedestrians, some of whom appear to be bent on self-destruction.