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Wednesday, 13 May 1987
Page: 3149

(Question No. 5244)

Mr Tickner asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 25 March 1987:

(1) Did a recently published report of the Federal Office of Road Safety conclude that it is possible to modify the traffic environment to provide greater safety for elderly pedestrians.

(2) What action is being taken to bring the conclusions of the report to the attention of State transport authorities and to promote a national approach to achieving improved pedestrian safety for elderly citizens.

Mr Peter Morris —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Federal Office of Road Safety Report on the Safety of Older Pedestrians did conclude that it is possible to modify the traffic environment to enhance the safety of older pedestrians. The modifications proposed include greater provision of median strips, more appropriate traffic signal timing, and better street lighting, especially near community facilities.

The area in which the greatest immediate gains are to be made is in educating older pedestrians to use the facilities provided for their safety and to make sure they are aware of the traffic situation before stepping on to the road. To this end, the Federal Office of Road Safety is currently developing a public education campaign to alert older people to the potential dangers they face as pedestrians and how to minimise these dangers by e.g. the use of traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and median strips and the wearing of light-coloured clothing.

(2) I have forwarded a copy of the Report to each of the State Transport Ministers who meet under the auspices of the Australian Transport Advisory Council. The conclusions will be considered by the relevant technical committees of this Council.

The Report has also been circulated to many community groups with an interest in this problem. All local government authorities will also receive copies.

Distribution of the Report has already led to productive discussion and community involvement in this issue. The Federal Office of Road Safety will continue to promote such discussion and co-ordinate a national approach to reducing what is a major safety problem for a growing group in the Australian community.