Hunter pedestrians among 1300 fined in Operation Towards Zero crackdown | photos, video

NOVOCASTRIANS are among more than 1300 pedestrians snared in a single-day crackdown on jaywalking and other road rule violations. 

Traffic and Highway Patrol police conducted Operation Towards Zero on Thursday, spanning out to major intersections in Newcastle and Sydney.

The operation follows the deaths of 55 pedestrians across the state so far this year. 

Officers handed out 1332 infringements and 234 cautions as a result of the operation. 

Motorists were not immune either, with another 280 infringements for seat belt, parking and mobile phone offences. 

Ten motorists were charged with traffic offences and another two will face criminal charges. 

Commander of Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Acting Assistant Commissioner David Driver said the Operation Towards Zero crackdown was warranted, with a change in behaviour required on NSW roads. 

"Not unlike any other aspect of road safety, enforcement is a key element in ensuring those that use our roads do the right thing, whether they are drivers, riders, cyclists, or pedestrians,” he said. 

"Those that put pedestrians at risk in stopping over intersections, running red lights, driving whilst distracted by a mobile phone, are also the focus of these operations.

The 55 pedestrian deaths in 2016 so far is already nine more than occurred last year with three months left on the calendar. 

NSW Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said the campaign highlights the human cost of the road toll. 

“We are most vulnerable when we are navigating the streets on foot – which is why the NSW Government funds targeted programs to improve pedestrian safety such as roadside fencing, pedestrian crossings, reprogramming traffic signals to protect pedestrians from turning vehicles and reducing speed limits at locations with high pedestrian traffic,” he said. 

“These operations are targeted at higher risk locations which have greater volumes of pedestrian traffic,” Mr. Carlon said.

Tips for pedestrians

  • Always use pedestrian crossings;
  • Never assume that an approaching vehicle can see you, or will stop for you – wait until all vehicles have stopped before you cross;
  • At intersections, check for turning vehicles before you leave the kerb, and while you are crossing the road;
  • Avoid crossing between parked cars or at the front or back of buses;
  • Wear bright, light coloured clothing at night or in reduced visibility conditions;
  • Avoid using a mobile phone or portable media player (so you can hear vehicles and concentrate on crossing the road);
  • At traffic lights, make sure that vehicles stop before you start to cross, and don't enter the road if vehicles are moving through the crossing or if the red don't walk signal shows. Pedestrian countdown timers show how many seconds you have left to finish crossing before oncoming vehicles will be given a green light. If you haven’t started to cross, the countdown timers can help you decide if it’s safe to do so.

Tips for drivers and cyclists

  • Drivers, riders and cyclists should;
  • Slow down on roads where there are likely to be heavy pedestrian traffic, especially near schools and shopping centres; near hotels where there are likely to be pedestrians who have been drinking;
  • Be aware that pedestrians are hard to see at night and in poor weather;
  • Don’t assume that a pedestrian has seen you and will wait for you to go past
  • Be mindful that vulnerable pedestrians may need extra time to cross – children can be difficult to see and may act unpredictably

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