He was taken to the same hospital where Ms Meiselbach was treated after her injury. It was a wake-up call about the importance of road safety that she wished she didn’t have.
“Not paying attention for a few seconds on the road can kill people,” Ms Meiselbach said.
“You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
In the past decade in Victoria, 7000 pedestrians have been struck by drivers, research by Monash University Research Centre and commissioned by Victoria Walks has revealed.
In 15 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians, drivers fled the scene, the Victoria Police and hospital data shows.
Victoria Walks is calling on drivers to be more vigilant around pedestrians. Drivers break road rules more often than not in pedestrian crashes, the study found. More than 2000 pedestrians are admitted to hospital or present to emergency departments each year.
“Leaving someone injured on the side of the road is pretty despicable,” Victoria Walks executive officer Ben Rossiter said. “We need strong enforcement for those cases and things like distracted driving.
“With the higher levels of local walking during the COVID-19 pandemic likely to continue, we need to invest in pedestrian road safety now and into the recovery phase.”
Lack of understanding about the consequences of speeding, driver distraction and poor attitudes to pedestrian safety are major risk factors, the Understanding Pedestrian Crashes in Victoria report, released on Thursday, warns.
Improvements to road design and lowering speed limits are key areas needing reform, the report says.
But pedestrian intoxication – especially involving younger males – is also a problem, with up to 45 per cent of pedestrian deaths in Australia estimated to have involved a drunk pedestrian.
While smartphones add to pedestrian distraction, no significant link with crashes has been identified, and smartphone use by drivers is probably a greater threat, the report finds.
Elderly pedestrians are the most vulnerable –those aged 70 and older were 1.6 times more at risk of injury than young adults – along with children.
The research suggests making improvements on arterial roads, such as provision for crossing main roads in the suburbs and around shopping areas, train stations and schools, with more pedestrians hit in 60km/h zones than any other.
Lowering speeds by 30km/h in busy pedestrian areas would help, along with traffic-calming infrastructure.
Professor Jennie Oxley, lead researcher at the Monash University Accident Research Centre, said vehicles with high frontal structures, such as SUVs, were especially dangerous, as they could obscure drivers’ vision of people walking, particularly children.
RACV senior manager of transport Peter Kartsidimas said the data was a “sobering reminder for all road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorists – to exercise caution on Victoria’s roads, particularly around busy and built-up areas”.
“RACV believes a design that provides dedicated space and protection for pedestrians or cyclists is essential for safer roads,” he said.
Victoria has the second-highest rate of pedestrian injuries among states and territories.
The highest concentration of crashes is in areas with many pedestrians, including the CBD, St Kilda, Prahran and Footscray.
Get our Morning & Evening Edition newsletters
The most important news, analysis and insights delivered to your inbox at the start and end of each day. Sign up here.
Timna Jacks is Transport Reporter at The Age