New operation to tackle pedestrian deaths

Operation Aware began on Wednesday 10 July and will be running until the end of September 2024. (On file)

The City of Casey has been ranked as one of the LGAs recording the highest number of pedestrian injury collisions during May to August between 2019 and 2023.

This comes as 25 pedestrians have lost their lives in Victoria this year, which is up 56 per cent compared to the same period in 2023 at 16.

Alongside Casey, Melbourne, Monash, Glen Eira and Merri-bek, are in the same boat, with 76 per cent of collisions occurring in 40-60km/h speed zones.

As a countermeasure, Victoria Police launched a new road policing initiative called Operation Aware on Wednesday 10 July, which will run in high-risk metro areas like Melbourne’s CBD where pedestrians often intersect with other road users.

Road policing assistant commissioner Glenn Weir said that the operation is “about doing all we can to protect the most vulnerable road users”.

“Particularly as we’ve seen such a significant spike in pedestrian deaths this year,” he said.

During the operation, police will be looking out for vehicles failing to give way and other behaviours that put pedestrians at risk, such as being distracted, speeding, impaired driving and riding on the footpath.

The operation will run until the end of September, with the period between May and August historically having the highest risk period for collisions involving pedestrians due to the reduced visibility with daylight savings and inclement weather during winter being major factors.

Almost half of this year’s pedestrian deaths occurred in the last two months, with seven fatalities recorded in June and a further five in May.

“Pedestrians have little to no protection, so when they’re involved in a collision with a vehicle, the consequences can be catastrophic.

“We’ve conducted thorough analysis to understand when, where and most importantly, why trauma involving pedestrians is occurring, and we’ll be prioritising and addressing these issues during Operation Aware,” Mr Weir said.

Analysis of this year’s fatalities indicated that failing to give way, by both drivers and pedestrians is the most common contributing factor to pedestrian deaths.

Furthermore, from 2019 to 2023, more than 80 per cent of pedestrian injury collisions occurred each year in metro areas, with weekdays between 2pm and 8pm being identified to be the most high-risk time.

Mr Weir said that the operation isn’t about blaming particular parties, but “about saving lives and reducing the amount of trauma on our roads”.

“We’ll be focusing on all road users and all behaviours that put pedestrians at risk of being involved in a collision – whether it’s failing to give way, speeding, impaired driving, riding on the footpath, or not using designated crossings”.

With 45 per cent of pedestrian deaths this year occurring on sections of the road with no traffic lights or crossings, police will also be proactively engaging with pedestrians and encouraging the use of designated footpaths and crossings to keep them safe.

Between April and September 2023, police issued 2191 offences during Operation Halo, a similar road safety initiative focused on vulnerable road user safety.

“We want everyone to think not only about their own safety but how their behaviour can impact the safety of others,” Mr Weir said.

For more information and tips for staying safe on the roads, visit the Road Safety page at