Police launch operation targeting vulnerable road users
Victoria Police will be targeting behaviour that leads to road trauma among walkers, cyclists, motorcyclists, and e-scooter riders as part of a new five-month operation.
Operation Halo, one of Victoria Police’s longest road policing operations staged, will be rolled out across the City of Melbourne, the City of Yarra, the City of Port Phillip and the City of Merri-Bek.
It will be aimed at preventing death and serious injury among vulnerable road users as the colder months set in, which police have identified as a particularly dangerous time because it’s darker earlier and wintry weather can also impede visibility for motorists.
Police will focus their efforts on vehicles blocking bike lanes and pedestrian crossings as well as distraction offences, speed, and impaired driving.
They will also conduct foot patrols at high-risk intersections looking for any behaviour which puts vulnerable road users at risk.
“We want everyone to think about not only their own safety but how their behaviour can impact the safety of others,” Victoria Police Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said.
Mr Weir said the e-scooter trial extension would also form part of Operation Halo.
We will hold people to account, as we do every day, we are infringing or educating people who are transgressing the rules around the use of e-scooters.
Mum-of-two Antoinetta Tartaro, who was twice hit by a car while walking – in which both occasions sent her “flying a number of metres” – urged all motorists to be careful, saying vehicles were “essentially a weapon on the road”.
“I just want to stress to the public that the trauma doesn’t stop with the person that is being hit. The trauma goes on; the injuries go on. It is a ripple effect,” she said.
In 1994, Ms Tartaro, then aged 15, was struck by a vehicle after it ran a red light in Oakleigh and in 2019, she was hit by an out-of-control car in Clayton, with the latter incident leaving her with potential life-long injuries.
After her horrific teenage experience, she said: “From that moment forward, I looked at life different; it impacted my family, my friends … it was a journey, and I have taken that trauma right through to adulthood.”
Victoria Walks, Bicycle Network Victoria and the Amy Gillett Foundation are also supporting the operation, which will run until the end of September.
Victoria Walks executive officer Ben Rossiter said as 89 per cent of trips to the CBD were on foot, “we need to make our streets safer and appealing for walking”.
According to police data, collisions last year in the City of Melbourne resulted in one cyclist and three pedestrians being killed while 193 pedestrians and 257 cyclists were injured. •