Pedestrians told to be more attentive, less distracted when crossing the road

The Wellington City Council today launched a second campaign aimed at encouraging pedestrians to take more care when crossing roads in the CBD. The council has been told that pedestrians suffer from “distraction and low attentiveness.”

News from WCC
Starting today, people in central Wellington will see a new road safety campaign to encourage them to cross the road safely. The central message of Wellington City Council’s think, look and then cross campaign is to encourage people to be aware of traffic and their environment; to think and look, before they cross the road.

Councillor Andy Foster, the Chair of the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says recent research findings show that distraction and low attentiveness are key factors in people crossing without heeding the traffic. There is also evidence that people are stepping off the kerb before looking for other traffic.

The campaign is focusing on central Wellington where on average there are 36,000 people out walking every hour.

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of crashes involving pedestrians in Wellington’s CBD through improved awareness.

Information will be gathered about what people find distracting and this will feed into future campaign development. Online activities including a survey will support this message.

The think, look and then cross message will also appear on posters, buses and bus shelters in the CBD in May. The message will be also be visible to commuters on their way to the central city on road safety billboards.

This campaign complements other City Council initiatives to improve pedestrian safety. These include wider footpaths, street furniture, more crossing points and consultation on lowering the speed limit in the central city.

Cr Foster says the $100,000 campaign aims to encouraging people to think and look before crossing the road. “The vast majority of people will successfully cross the street without incident every day. But we want the city to be safe and easy to get around on foot – especially these days when people have more distractions to deal with – whether it be smartphones or just hectic schedules driven by the 21st century pace of life.”

The Council’s City Networks Manager, Stavros Michael, says the campaign does not just target the Golden Mile in the CBD. “The Golden Mile is actually responsible for only a small proportion of the pedestrian injuries in the CBD.

“Our generally narrow streets tend to encourage pedestrians to take a fairly casual approach to crossing. What we want people to do is be fully aware of their surroundings before they step out.”



  1. The City is Ours, 29. April 2014, 17:40

    The City is Ours has an affidavit from a woman who was waiting for the green man to cross the Manners/Cuba Street intersection. She was waiting on the kerb and nearly got swiped by a bus riding the gutter which is not part of the road according to definition of a road under the Land Transport Act. The Pedestrian Crash Reduction Study revealed buses typically ride gutters when entering the buffer zone, with their wing mirrors causing near misses on a daily basis.

  2. Kent Duston, 29. April 2014, 18:09

    More condescension from the Wellington City Council. $100K spent on a anti-pedestrian “safety” campaign, running hard on the heels of the one where every pedestrian in Wellington was compared to a chicken … yet not a dollar persuading motorists to give way on pedestrian crossings, nor on encouraging bus drivers to actually stop for the red lights. It just underlines the degree to which Cr Foster regards pedestrians as a problem to be managed, rather than as legitimate stakeholders to be engaged.

  3. Sridhar Ekambaram, 29. April 2014, 20:50

    @The City is Ours – How many more such cases exist when compared to plain careless approach by pedestrians ? it will be good to present both sides of the picture, if possible.

    And you talk of just Manners Mall whereas the safety campaign is for the whole of the city. In the rest of the city it is not the lack of buffer zones that get pedestrians into trouble with motorists, but pedestrian carelessness. How many times have you witnessed people dashing across roads when vehicles are approaching them?

  4. The City is Ours, 29. April 2014, 21:59

    @ Sridhar – I can’t comment on the rest of the city because we have never taken measurements elsewhere except on the new bus-stop by the ANZ Tower on Lambton Quay. However the measurements taken in the Willis/Taranaki Street precinct give cause for concern and leave one wondering where else the council has short changed its citizens.

  5. Kent Duston, 30. April 2014, 7:47

    Sridhar – It’s disappointing to see you joining the ranks of the council officers who want to blame the victim rather than taking any tangible steps to address Wellington’s appalling crash rate. However blaming pedestrian “carelessness” for all the crashes – when NZ drivers have 50% more deaths and injuries than Australians, double the rate for the UK, and triple the rate for Germany – plumbs new depths.


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