Research carried out in 2008-2010 examined the quantum and causes of non-motor vehicle injuries to pedestrians through a structured interview survey. Pedestrians sustaining injuries in locations away from the road network (eg in parks) were excluded, as the emphasis was on the role of road and footpath features. The highest proportion of trips and falls (34%) was sustained while stepping over a kerb. A further 18% were caused by irregularities in the path or road surface. Factors that amplified the severity of injuries included the road or path surface, pedestrians’ inattention, type of footwear worn, and whether walking or running. Two main issues were identified from the study. These were:
- people tripped and fell more often on poorly maintained surfaces as opposed to poorly designed areas
- the severity of the injuries is directly related to the surface.
The study recommends improving the definition of kerbing in key pedestrian areas and improving the maintenance regime of footpaths and roads used by pedestrians, eg crossings. The study also found that it is necessary to instigate research to provide improved data and analysis tools to prioritise such countermeasures vis-a-vis other uses of road safety funds and improved data for input into such analysis tools. Further, a national guide is needed for pedestrian road safety audits and inspections covering both motor vehicle and non-motor vehicle risk.