Pedestrian deaths have almost doubled: is it any wonder?

Pedestrians crossing illegally (Photo: Sam Hand)

Is this you? Hatch reporter, Sam Hand, discovered Sydney’s pedestrians are risking much more than fines.


A quick walk around one of Sydney’s busiest transport hubs is all it takes to understand why pedestrian deaths in NSW have almost doubled in the past year.

Failing to use a nearby crossing is illegal (Photo: Sam Hand)

The combination of peak hour traffic and pedestrians weaving between cars – many while scrolling through their phones – is a deadly mix.

Figures released just this week by NSW Transport reveal that 31 pedestrians were killed on the state’s roads in the past year. That number is 48 per cent higher than the previous year, although the figures do not specify how many were directly attributed to jaywalking.

According to the Australian Road Rules, you have to use the shortest, safest way to cross the road. Jaywalking is when you cross diagonally; fail to use nearby zebra crossings; or cross when the pedestrian light is red.

Failing to follow these rules can land you with a $72 fine. If you decide to fight it in court and lose, it could end up costing you as much as $2200.

Look where you walk and cross in a straight line (Photo: Sam Hand)

NSW Police have led several jaywalking crackdowns. During the three years since Operation Franklin, 10,000 fines have been issued – just in Sydney’s CBD.

Among those keeping an eye on pedestrians are officers from the Motorcycle Patrol Team.

It was established in 2012 specifically to target jaywalkers. Its objective is to curb the growing culture of dangerous pedestrian behaviour and to improve the flow of traffic in the city, at the busiest times of day.

Jaywalking is a risk for drivers too. A fine for crossing a road illegally is much less than the consequences of a culpable driving charge.

Ultimately, police will determine who’s at fault on a case by case basis.

The seriousness of jaywalking is recognised in other countries too.

Chinese Police use facial recognition to name and shame offenders by displaying their photos on large screens at crossings and on a government website.

The city of Daye has even installed posts at busy intersections, which indicate when it’s safe to cross. If you don’t follow the instructions, water sprays from the posts – leaving you soaked.

For many, that’s reason enough to exercise a little more caution. Perhaps Sydney’s pedestrians need a similar deterrent.