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At some point in every journey on the road everyone is a pedestrian. Apart from walking, pedestrians may also use wheelchairs, motorized scooters, walkers, canes, skateboards, and roller blades. People who are running, jogging or hiking, or standing on the road are also pedestrians.

Travel as a pedestrian is an active and sustainable form of transport. In some cases, travel as a pedestrian may comprise the entire journey, in others it may comprise just part of the journey, such as walking to and from bus stops. There are many reasons that people want to travel as pedestrians, such as to go to school or work, to access other forms of transport, to visit markets or friends and family, and for recreation.

Pedestrians are vulnerable road users. In many countries, collisions with pedestrians are a leading cause of death and injury. In some countries, over half of all road deaths are caused by collisions between vehicles and pedestrians.

High quality pedestrian environments are conducive to safe and sustainable pedestrian activity. Where traffic speeds are high, footpaths are missing or inaccessible, or where pedestrian crossings are inadequate, there is either less pedestrian activity or there is higher numbers of pedestrian deaths and serious injuries when people have no choice but to walk. High quality pedestrian environments are also essential for public transport.

Some populations may be at a higher risk of pedestrian crashes. Children and the elderly are often overrepresented in road crashes and so pedestrian environments around schools and where there are elderly people need special attention.

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