High visibility vests should be provided to some pedestrians in Tasmania as part of efforts to reduce crashes and improve safety, independent Windermere MLC Ivan Dean believes.
In a response to questions asked by Mr Dean, the Tasmanian Government's leader in the Legislative Council Leonie Hiscutt MLC, revealed 123 crashes involved pedestrians in the current financial year. Ms Hiscutt said that was higher than the 75 crashes which involved cyclists during the same period.
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"It should be noted that 76 per cent of the pedestrian-involved crashes occurred during the daytime," Ms Hiscutt wrote to Mr Dean on June 4.
In the previous two financial years, 365 crashes involved pedestrians - an increase on the 203 crashes which involved cyclists in the same period.
Mr Dean asked the government for answers because a constituent contacted him with concerns about the visibility of pedestrians on country roads where there were no footpaths.
"The government makes cyclists wear helmets, they make them have the lights on their bikes and all of these other things," said Mr Dean, a cyclist himself.
"With pedestrians, none of that has to occur and there are far more pedestrian crashes and accidents than there are cyclist accidents."
Mr Dean said it would be wrong to blame driver error for the largely daytime crashes because the weather and other factors could be at play.
"Something needs to be done about it...we do need to look at the clothing that is being worn by these people," Mr Dean suggested.
"They've got to demonstrate that they are there and the way to do that is with high visibility clothing and the government should be forcing that more...I think they could make them [hi-vis vests] available and do that by way of promotion in schools. There could be either subsidised vests or they could be given out at no cost in some cases to promote pedestrian safety."
Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby accused Mr Dean of blaming pedestrians for crashes.
"The first thing he should be saying is that they [pedestrians] should be walking in the opposite direction of traffic flow," Mr Scruby said.
"That's the number one rule before you were a fluro because you can see the cars coming towards you. The number two rule is a carry a torch and number three is perhaps have some fluro... all good stuff, but what about slowing the traffic down a bit?"