A voice for the walking class

The Sun-Herald

Sunday 15 September 1996
By Alex Mitchell

The pedestrian, a forgotten figure in the hustle and bustle of modern, motorised society, has at last gained a voice. The Pedestrian Council of Australia will be launched this month to champion the rights and safety of the walking class.

The council, incorporated as a limited company with former NSW Chief Justice Sir Laurence Street and Sydney University chancellor Dame Leonie Kramer as founding patrons, has four broad aims:

* Improvement of pedestrian safety, amenity and access;
* Encouragement and promotion of pedestrian activity as an important mode of transport and a healthy social activity
* Ensuring the inclusion of pedestrian safety, amenity and access provisions in urban and transport planning; and
* Enhancing the welfare of pavement users such as the aged disabled, young and tourists.
Harold Scruby, the council's chief executive, said Sydney had a special need to make a commitment to pedestrians because of the Olympic Games in 2000. At present, the city shamefully neglected its pedestrians, he said. In the five-year period to September 1995, 13,316 pedestrians were killed or injured in Sydney. Of these, 2,800 were of school age. Mr Scruby said: "All other groups in the transport industry have their interests represented by official bodies, but not pedestrians."

The launch of the Pedestrian Council already has the blessing of Premier Bob Carr and its executives will hold a meeting with Police Commissioner Peter Ryan in the next few weeks. Supporters include the Australian Council for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Australian Institute of Urban Studies, Australian Tourist Commission, Australian College of Road Safety, Children's Accident Prevention Foundation - Kidsafe Australia, Combined Pensioners and Superannuants' Association of NSW, Council on the Ageing, Federation of Parents and Citizens' Association, Local Government and Shires Association, NRMA, NSW Parliamentary Staysafe Committee, Paraquad, People Against Drink Driving, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons - Trauma Committee Safer Communities, Sydney City Council and the Tourism Council of Australia. Mr Scruby said the council would focus on four major issues in its first six months:

* Stop motorists, delivery vans, builders and tradesmen from parking on footpaths and urge police not to turn a blind eye to this offence;
* Ban bicycle couriers from riding on footpaths, jumping red lights and terrifying elderly and child pedestrians with their reck less riding;
* Urge police to enforce speed limits in school zones and introduce speed detecting equipment and cameras to crack down on motorists who speed near schools; and
* Restrict the fitting of bull bars on vehicles. Ten per cent of pedestrian deaths could be prevented if vehicles didn't have bull bars, Mr Scruby said.
He said Atlanta, venue of the recent Olympics, was a living example of a city which had neglected its pedestrians. "We want to advocate and promote a culture of concern and care for the rights and responsibilities of pedestrians," Mr Scruby said. "This is a city which lends itself to walking yet up until now very little has been done to support and encourage pedestrians. That's changed for good. The walking class now has a voice."

Opinion - David McNicoll
The Bulletin, 3 September 1996, p.38.

Pedestrian safety, amenity and access will be promoted by a new lobby group.

As a fairly consistent critic of Harold Scruby, front man for a section of the anti-monarchists and fervent seeker of a new flag, I now come to praise the Mosman Caesar.

Scruby has founded and become the moving spirit of the Pedestrian Council. The council has quickly garnered lots of supporters and has, as patrons, Laurence Street and Leonie Kramer. The list of supporters of the council is very impressive and far-reaching. The constitution, role and objectives are sensible and necessary, and can be summed up as "the continued improvement of pedestrian safety, amenity and access, and the promotion of walking as a legitimate transport mode, and an important, healthy and social activity".

I think Scruby is on a winner.

The Bulletin, 17 September 1996, p.48.

The newly formed Pedestrian Council of Australia is looking at a problem that has surfaced only in recent years - how should the elderly cross the road at a roundabout? There is little doubt that the roundabout has been a great innovation and has reduced vehicular accidents and helped traffic flow. But it presents a hazard for the pedestrian. As the council points out, the motorist is usually concentrating on his or her right while the pedestrian is to his or her left.