Wollongong police blitz for pedestrians

WAIT: Police keep watch on the corner of Crown and Keira streets, Thursday morning, as part of a pedestrian safety blitz. Picture: Adam McLean.

WAIT: Police keep watch on the corner of Crown and Keira streets, Thursday morning, as part of a pedestrian safety blitz. Picture: Adam McLean.

Police have blitzed Wollongong’s busiest foot crossings as part of an operation aimed at keeping pedestrians safe. 

Operation Towards Zero is a one-day operation targeting high pedestrian locations across NSW. It comes as authorities look for ways to curb an increase in pedestrian road fatalities.

On Thursday police maintained a presence at crossings in the Wollongong CBD, keeping watch for jaywalking and drivers failing to give way at zebra crossings and traffic lights. 

Southern Region Traffic Coordinator Andrew Palmowski said jaywalking could not be considered a victimless crime. 

“If a pedestrian is knocked over and killed; there’s your first victim,” he said. 

“Regardless of whose fault it is, the driver always lives with that, it’s something they’ll never get over. Imagine if that car’s full of a family, with kids in the car. There’s another couple of victims – they’ll never forget it. 

“It [jaywalking] is selfish.” 

Thursday’s police activity was aimed at ensuring pedestrians were crossing the road safely and that all road users were complying with road rules, particularly around intersections.

The sight of uniformed officers kept most road users in check.

Police are hoping the exercise will leave a lasting impression.

“While police can’t be at every intersection at every minute of the day, responsibility for your safety comes down to you,” Senior Sergeant Palmowski said. 

In the Wollongong metropolitan area, there have been two pedestrian fatalities this year, compared with one pedestrian fatality last year.

Bernard Carlon, Executive Director of the Centre for Road Safety, said pedestrians were the most vulnerable people on the roads. 

“Sadly, we have lost 58 pedestrians on the road this year which is nine more than the same time last year,” he said. “That’s why it is so important to take that extra moment to look out before you step out and pick the safest place and time to cross.

“This increase in pedestrian fatalities is simply not acceptable and everyone on the road has a part to play in helping drive the road toll towards zero.”

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