Although all types of road user are at risk of being injured or killed in a road traffic crash, there are notable differences in fatality rates between different road user groups. In particular, the “vulnerable” road users such as pedestrians and two-wheeler users are at greater risk than vehicle occupants and usually bear the greatest burden of injury. Of particular concern is the mix between the slow-moving and vulnerable non-motorized road users, as well as motorcycles, and fast-moving, motorized vehicles.
Children, elderly, and disabled people are particular vulnerable, as their physical and mental skills are either not fully developed or they are especially fragile. Children and older people are often overrepresented in traffic fatalities, especially as vulnerable road users.
Behaviour of pedestrians is often not straightforward travel from one place to another. Reasons for walking can be divided into three categories: journeys to work or school etc., exercise or leisure. When people are walking, they usually choose the shortest route and do not want to spend any extra time on the trip. They obey the rules when they think it is sensible and necessary. Taking the shortest route can mean that they do not use underpasses or pedestrian crossings. They may not obey traffic lights, if waiting for the green light seems to take too long. Pedestrians on familiar routes tend to pay less attention to traffic than when walking in unknown surroundings. Children may play and can also suddenly rush into the street.
On their own, pedestrians are not a danger to themselves or others, but the conflict between motorized traffic and vulnerable road users that is potentially dangerous. Typical dangerous situations for pedestrians are drivers travelling at too high speeds, given the traffic circumstances, overtaking just before a pedestrian crossing, pedestrians not able to judge the speed when choosing a ‘gap’ in the traffic to cross the road in and lack of attention from both pedestrians and drivers.