Call to hit distracted pedestrians with $200 fine


Pedestrians should be slapped with a $200 fine for not paying attention when crossing the road, a peak advocacy group says.

The penalty should be introduced along with lower speed limits and changes to traffic light countdown timers, the Pedestrian Council of Australia says.

The call comes as the number of pedestrians killed in crashes in Queensland this year hit 29 yesterday when a 60-year-old woman was hit by a car while she was on a footpath at Beenleigh.

Latest official figures reveal the pedestrian death toll is 16.7 per cent higher than the average at the same time over the previous five years.

"We know pedestrians are behaving outrageously with mobile phones," council chairman Harold Scruby told News Queensland of the proposed fine.


"And we've been calling for a new penalty - cross road while distracted.

"This means you can even be crossing with the green (light) and still get booked," he said.
Pedestrians wearing headphones were also unsafe as the number of low-noise electric bikes and cars increased on the roads, Mr Scruby said.
Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) figures reveal that 362 pedestrians have died on Queensland roads since 2007, compared to 98 cyclists.

At least one pedestrian death this year is understood to have involved a pedestrian using an electronic device.


Mr Scruby also called for:

- 30km/h zones in the CBD, rather than 40km/h;

- countdown timers for pedestrians while waiting at lights;
- increased crossing times and a wait for green pedestrian light;
- scramble crossings at intersections that allow pedestrians to walk diagonally;

TMR figures show 137 deaths on Queensland roads between 2007-2017 involved alcohol impaired pedestrians.
But Mr Scruby said those statistics should not be considered.




"We know that is legally very dangerous to drive a car over .05," he said.

"That is a definition that pertains to driving, it's got no relevance to walking and we could walk home at .06 and be very safe."

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the State Government was not looking at introducing new fines for pedestrians who cross the road while distracted.

"The Queensland Police Service already conducts targeted operations to fine people for jaywalking," Mr Bailey said.

Under Queensland law, a pedestrian can be find $52 fine for jaywalking if they cross the road within 20m from a set of traffic lights or a designated crossing, or against a red light.


People using the phone while crossing Adelaide Street. Picture: AAP image/John Gass
People using the phone while crossing Adelaide Street. Picture: AAP image/John Gass

He said resources would be better put towards educating people to avoid distractions on the road, whether they're drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bike or motorcycle riders.

"We've spent $89 million in the past five years on projects to improve pedestrian safety in Queensland," Mr Bailey said.