Warning for distracted Vic pedestrians

Jacqueline Le

Pedestrians in Victoria are being urged to look up from their phones and try using just one headphone, so they're not distracted when walking near traffic following a spike in pedestrian deaths.

Victoria Police says more pedestrians have died in the first six months of 2018 compared to 2017 - 17 this year compared to 11 in 2017.

"In the last 12 months we've had a significant increase in pedestrian deaths on our roads," Road policing assistant commissioner Doug Fryer told reporters on Saturday.

"Unfortunately we're seeing an increase in distraction with those on pushbikes, pedestrians using mobile phones, and in particular people wearing headsets whose auditory and cognitive ability and awareness are somewhat distracted."

The number of pedestrian deaths has risen despite the state's overall road toll tracking lower at 101, compared to 115 for the same period in 2017.

It's believed pedestrian distractions such as headphones have been a contributor to the spike in deaths.

"We're just urging all Victorians to look up and look out for each other," Mr Fryer said.

"Look where you're going. Make sure you can see the vehicles around you and don't be distracted by your mobile phone when walking."

While it's difficult to determine how many accidents involving pedestrians are linked to headphone distractions, police say people are increasingly distracted when walking near traffic.

"We all see it, everyone who travels through the city. There are so many pedestrians walking out on footpaths with their heads down, either texting or listening to music," Mr Fryer said.

"A simple safety activity of looking up, instead of looking down, could save their lives."