Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: The deadliest roads for Northern Ireland pedestrians

Inspector Rosie Leech of the PSNI’s road policing team has urged road users to pay more attention
Inspector Rosie Leech of the PSNI’s road policing team has urged road users to pay more attention
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Nearly 900 pedestrians were killed or seriously injured on Northern Ireland's roads in a five-year period, new figures reveal.

And the country's most deadly roads for pedestrians have also been identified.

A report from the Department for Infrastructure for 2013 to 2017 shows that pedestrians accounted for 22% of all road user casualties.

In that time, 879 pedestrians were killed or seriously injured, making them the second largest road user casualty group.

Data from PSNI Road Traffic Collision Statistics showed that 74 pedestrians died between 2013-2017 in Northern Ireland.

The highest number of pedestrians killed in the five year period was 19 in 2015. The lowest death rate came in 2013, when seven pedestrians were killed.

While the number of pedestrian casualties began to fall in 2012, reaching a low of 158 in 2014, the report shows that they have started to increase again.

More recently, 190 pedestrians were killed or seriously injured in 2017, the largest number since 2012.

Four hotspots for collisions involving pedestrians were identified in the report. Three of these were in Belfast city centre - at Great Victoria Street, outside Lanyon Place train station and on the Ormeau Road. The fourth location was at Great James Street in Londonderry.

Most pedestrians killed or seriously injured were male (61%) compared with 39% female.

Over a quarter (27%) of pedestrian casualties were aged from 0-15 years, with a further 21% aged 65 or over.

The report found that pedestrians are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in the afternoon and early evening, with over a third of all incidents occurring between the hours of 3pm and 7pm.

The other main time period is between 1am and 3am on Sunday mornings, with 29 incidents occurring between 2013 and 2017.

The number of incidents increased in the autumn and winter months, with November recording the greatest number (96) and July the fewest (55).

The most frequent cause of pedestrian casualties was not paying attention to traffic when crossing a road, which accounted for 26% of all incidents.

Pedestrians being killed due to alcohol impairment accounted for 18% of fatalities.

Other causes were inattention, walk or run movement being masked, reversing without care, using pedestrian crossings without care, excessive speed having regard to conditions, turning right without care or disobeying pedestrian crossings.

In the five years, 255 people were killed or seriously injured at pedestrian crossing areas, with 624 incidents in areas with no crossing within 50 metres.

In 63% of cases, pedestrians were responsible for collisions in which they were injured.

The vast majority of pedestrian casualties occurred on urban roads (85%), with a further 13% on rural roads.

In comparison, a much smaller proportion of all people killed or seriously injured occurred on urban roads (42%) and over half (53%) on rural roads.

Inspector Rosie Leech from the PSNI's road policing team said the statistics show that pedestrians are one of the most vulnerable groups of road users.

"It is critical that pedestrians pay attention to their environment, whether that means not getting distracted by friends or mobile devices, or being especially careful when walking on country roads by walking against the traffic flow and by wearing highly visible clothing," she said.

"Pedestrians should also only cross roads where it is safe to do so, preferably at pedestrian crossings. It is important to cross roads precisely at these locations and not take the risk of crossing even a short distance away.

"Motorists also need to be mindful of pedestrians, especially those who may be using country roads where there are no pavements, particularly during the hours of darkness."

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at the road safety charity Brake, described the findings as "deeply concerning".

He said: "Getting around in a safe, healthy way is everyone's human right and we must design our streets with this in mind.

"Reducing vehicle speed is key to road safety, giving drivers more time and opportunity to brake to avoid a collision, and so we urge the introduction of default 20mph limits in urban areas and a review of rural road speed limits."

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