Results of the 2023 Risky Walks survey

The vast majority of serious pedestrian crashes occur in places where there is no dedicated crossing, prompting RAA and Walking SA to remind pedestrians and drivers to share the road safely this festival season.

RAA analysis of 2018-2022 crash data has revealed that 85% of serious and fatal pedestrian crashes occurred at locations where there was no designated crossing facility such as traffic signals or a pedestrian crossing.

It comes as a recent survey from RAA and Walking SA found the most commonly raised concerns by pedestrians were safety and infrastructure related, including:

  • A lack of footpaths
  • Uneven surfaces
  • A lack of safe places to cross the road

Commonly raised locations in need of improved infrastructure included Adelphi Terrace, Glenelg; Swamp Road, Uraidla; Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide; and Port Road, between James Congdon Drive and West Terrace.

RAA Senior Traffic Engineer Matt Vertudaches said 19 pedestrians lost their lives on SA roads in 2023 – the second worst year for pedestrian fatalities since the introduction of 50km/hr default urban speed limit in 2003.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to embrace walking and active transport during events like the Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival and WOMAD, but there is a responsibility on drivers and pedestrians alike to use the road safely,” Mr Vertudaches said.

“Last year was the worst year on our roads for vulnerable road users in a quarter of a century, so we all need to be aware of the risks that come with more people moving around busy streets.

“The feedback we’ve received from pedestrians tells us safe crossing locations and footpaths are the most important factors in helping them feel safe when they’re walking for travel or recreation.

“This concern is backed up by crash data – more than 360 pedestrians were either seriously injured on lost their lives on South Australian roads between 2018-2022.

“With our streets set to be bustling over this period, we’re encouraging pedestrians to use designated crossings wherever possible, and reminding drivers to be extra careful when driving through the city.

“Motorists should remember their responsibilities to give way to pedestrians when turning left and right, and when leaving a property or carpark.”

The 2018-2022 crash data also shows more than 50% of pedestrian fatalities occur at night, indicating the greater risk to vulnerable road users when visibility is low.

It also shows drugs or alcohol were involved in 39 per cent of pedestrian fatalities – up from the 33 per cent average across all road user deaths.

Walking SA Executive Director Sharon Kelsey said the survey findings would inform future advocacy priorities.

“Our South Australian community have been keen contributors to this survey and their ongoing support means we can continue to identify hot spots that might otherwise dissuade walking,” Ms Kelsey said.

“Walking has numerous health, wellbeing and social benefits – a safe network of streets and trails means we can all enjoy the great outdoors.

“This helps our neighbourhoods, our city centre and our regional areas thrive – foot traffic is the best traffic!”

Walking SA interviewed for Guardian article on Australians lacking hiking skills

Walking SA’s Chair, Rod Quintrell, was interviewed for a Guardian article about Australians lacking hiking skills.

Can’t read a map or use a first aid kit: Australians lack hiking skills, survey shows.
The nation’s outdoorsy reputation may not be fully deserved, according to the AllTrails app study, with many too scared to go on walks.”

Article link: theguardian.com

“It is about confidence to deal with the environment,” Rod Quintrell, chair of Walking South Australia said. “And how do we build confidence? With a little bit of planning.”

“People should respect the outdoors but shouldn’t necessarily be scared.”

“They should also endeavour to know themselves and their fitness and their ability.”

“People will fail to plan, they will go in the wrong footwear, the wrong clothing, with no water, at the wrong time a year, unaware that the track to the waterfall for example is really steep down … They overestimate their ability and underestimate the trail.”

Assess the weather, as well as a trail’s terrain, distance and steepness to ensure its difficulty will not surpass your capabilities.

Read the Guardian article.

Is walking risky? Tell RAA about your walking habits in the Risky Walks survey

Our inaugural 2023 Risky Walks survey is now closed. View the results.

Have your say on the walks around your way in the RAA and Walking SA Risky Walks Survey.

Often when people think of exercise, they think of puffing away on a treadmill or lifting weights until their muscles give out.

We forget walking is a great choice, and an option many of us take for granted every day. Studies have shown that walking can reduce the risk of illness, such as heart disease and diabetes, and it’s low impact so a great activity for those with painful joints. On top of that, it’s fantastic opportunity to reap the benefits of “green” exercise – fresh air, blue sky and being in nature. Not only that – it’s good for the environment. Now with milder weather and sunnier days, October is the perfect month to Step into Spring.

At RAA, they’ve been thinking about South Australians walking habits. Could they be walking more? Do they have safety concerns? Are the footpaths not up to standard?

RAA’s Senior Traffic Engineer Matthew Vertudaches wants to know what’s stopping you from walking?

Let us know your thoughts in the RAA Risky Walks survey, created in conjunction with Walking SA. The survey closes 5pm Tuesday 7 November and by having your say, you go in the draw to win one of three $50 gift cards.

Walking SA supports the Montgomerie Terrace Shared Use Path, Streaky Bay

Walking SA supports the funding application for the Montgomerie Terrace Shared Use Path Project proposed by Streaky Bay Council.

We support the project’s objectives to connect and link the east and west end of Streaky Bay, to connect and provide a safe shared use path to key community facilities, and providing a better outcome for all users by separating people walking and riding bikes from the heavier tourist and agricultural traffic on Wells Street.

Specifically, the project will create a main active transport link connecting the east and west of the town, and will provide a safe route for people walking and riding bikes to and from the school.

A clearer and more identifiable shared use path with suitably marked crossing points will improve the safety of people walking and riding bikes. It will also improve active and passive surveillance on the path with lighting and the direct nature of the connection, enabling more people to use it.

Personal Mobility Device (PMD) Use in South Australia

Walking SA welcomes the State Government’s review of the growing role of e-scooters and other small-wheeled electrically driven vehicles. The fact that scooters and skateboards can now be motorised has profoundly accelerated their use and their impact on our local footpaths. Walking SA has not formed a view on electrically driven personal mobility devices. We continue to assert that walking is the most sustainable and easiest of all mobility in our cities and that many of the trips taken by these devices would be better if walked. However, we recognise that sometimes PMDs replace car trips and can play a role in making public transport more viable.

Media enquiries

Sharon Kelsey, Executive Director Walking SA
sharon.kelsey@walkingsa.org.au Ph: 0457 006 620

A walk can work wonders

Wellbeing SA is encouraging South Australians to discover the benefits of walking. There are many simple ways to add a walk into your day. Every move counts!

Every move counts

If you want to start exercising more but aren’t sure where to begin, we have plenty of ideas to get you moving.

How you can add a short walk into your day

Taking a walk is an easy way to be active and it also provides a break from the rush of daily life. Here are a few ideas for fitting a short walk into your day.

Take a walk on the wild side

South Australians are lucky to live in a state full of diverse and interesting walking paths and trails. There is something to suit everyone’s interests.

There’s over 750 places to walks on our website, from a 1 hour walk near your home with your dog, to a half day hike in a national park, or a longer trail further afield, you’re only ever two feet from some of the best places in South Australia. View some of our shortlists of bests walks.

Join us exploring two sections of the Adelaide100 trail

As part of A Walk Can Work Wonders we here at Walking SA are hosting two events to explore sections of the new Adelaide100 trail. Each event will have a short 3km walk and a longer 8km+ walk.

Sun 28 May 2023
West Beach
2.3km and 9.2km options
Join Uncle Moogy Sumner and Walking SA to Walk for Reconciliation and be a Voice for our Generation. Ngarrendjeri / Kaurna Elder, Uncle Moogy, will start our event with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony.
Read more

Sun 18 June 2023
Happy Valley Reservoir
3.5km and 9.6km options
Read more

Launch of the Statewide Trails Strategy 2023-2033

At Sunday’s Hiking Expo Deputy Premier Hon. Susan Close launched the Statewide Trails Strategy. The Statewide Trails Strategy has been created to map the strategic priorities over a 10 year timeframe by maximising the potential of our existing trails network and identifying opportunities for new trail development or improvements.

A major focus of the strategy is to develop and promote trailbased activities that are accessible to many different groups for an inclusive experience for a wide range of trail users.

SA Walking Strategy – launched!

On Friday 14 January, Walking SA Chair Tuesday Udell attended the launch of the South Australian Walking Strategy 2022-2032, which focuses on three priority areas, to realise the vision of more people walking, more often, of all ages and abilities:

  • plan walkable neighbourhoods, towns and cities
  • build connected, safe and pleasant walking environments for all
  • create a South Australian walking culture.

Walking is considered the most equitable form of physical activity and human transportation, as it is inexpensive, can be done almost anywhere and can be easily incorporated into most people’s lives.

Scientific evidence shows walking as part of regular physical activity can help improve people’s physical, mental, and social wellbeing. We know that finding time in our busy lives to add more physical activity can be hard. So we are working collaboratively to provide solutions to make it easier to walk places, so everyone can add a short walk into their day.

The strategy is a 10 year blueprint to encourage people in South Australia to walk more. Developed in partnership with the Heart Foundation, the strategy involves cross sector and multi agency collaboration and commitment, with an aim to create long term and effective behaviour change and increase the number of South Australians who walk regularly. The strategy also includes a three year action plan, to strengthen policy, environments and programs that support increased walking for all people in South Australia.

Co-designed through community engagement and expert advice, the strategy provides a practical guide for what needs to be done to get more people walking. Wellbeing SA will oversee progress of the action plan, working closely with key departments and organisations.

Trail Surfaces We Love to Hate

What kind of trail surface do you prefer to walk on?

When heading out a walk, what kind of trail do you like walking on?

Some might say they don’t like hills, and that’s OK. But when we ask this question what we really mean is, what kind of trail surface do you prefer?

With the increase in new trails popping up all over our local urban areas and in our conservation and national parks, it’s not something you really think about until you walk on well, a really uncomfortable one.

So what makes a walking trail – uncomfortable?

Some trails are concreted and no longer offer the natural surfaces that can sustain the huge number of walkers that use this trail every day

Trails that are made of bitumen asphalt, concrete or compacted rubble can be particularly harsh to feet, knees and hips. Particularly when carrying overnight packs on long distance trails – this unforgiving surface can make for much more discomfort than a bush trail of soil, loose stone or sand. Kind of makes us want to find the hills really.  But beware. Some hilly trails are concreted (Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike for example) because the natural surfaces that can no longer sustain the huge number of walkers that use such trails every day.

Most bushwalkers include a demographic of middle age and older people or people who have walked – a lot. Their joints that have experienced more wear and tear than most and its noticeable when the surface hardens and is probably why so many choose nice long walks on bush trails.

When plans are put forward for a new trail, the strategy is often to create a trail that is:

  • multi use for walkers, cyclists
  • accessible for wheelchairs, strollers and prams
  • built to last (forever)

It’s a one-size-fits-all model and with good reason, it’s all about getting more people outdoors and as inclusively as possible too. We love seeing this but it might also mean we are less likely to choose the trail for a long-distance pack carrying trip. This features a lot on urban trails.

When we are looking at long distance trails for multi day adventures, comfort is paramount. Often these trails have to traverse national and conservation parks, state forests, private property and of course, roads. Not always is it going to be the same surface and that is OK – this is what makes a trail even more appealing. Adventurous even.

Sometimes road sections are unavoidable when creating long distance trails. These are often the sections we all remember as being harder physically and sometimes mentally too. Hang in there, I say.

So when planning long distance trails, planning for a walker friendly surface is essential but not always possible. Looking at road sections on our longer trails in SA such as Heysen Trail and Walk the Yorke, these are often the sections we all remember as being harder physically and sometimes mentally too. The flat never-ending straight-line sections. We’ve all been there. There is no escaping these kinds of trails but long repetitious sections like this can be what leads people to give up on those lovely big through-hikes. Hang in there, I say.

On the other hand, the long stretches of sand so soft you wonder if you will ever reach the end of the beach are also features of many long-distance coastal trails. Mother Nature decides how “hard” to make the walk on any given day – its luck of the tides.

The rocky outback Larapinta Trail is known for boot breaking and blister blooming, for even those with worn in boots or new boots, its hard to get away without some kind of foot or equipment failure

Consider the rocky trails of outback Australia and the Larapinta Trail. Known for boot breaking and blister blooming, for even those with worn in boots or new boots, its hard to get away without some kind of foot or equipment failure when walking the full trail with a pack or even day walking sections – I have known walkers to ditch boots and resort to Sketchers. But this trail is using the natural rocky landscape as authentically as possible. So the terrain comes with the territory.

Similarly there are the boulder hopping adventures (Thorsborne Trail, Grampians Peak Trail) where one wrong foot can mean an ankle in plaster. Fun in sections for sure and using the natural landscapes beautifully but can make for challenging terrain over long distances. Still preferred over walking on a road.

Road walking connects us to trail sections that might otherwise be inaccessible due to private property and we can all acknowledge how hard it is for permissions to put trails through private property. It’s not all bad, as long as its not long right?

Compacted rubble can be also particularly tricky to enjoy over long periods but can also cover up slippery clay and sections that become flat boggy wetlands after rain. A cheaper type of trail surface than say constructing a boardwalk.

And then there is the question of sustainability. What items are being used to construct trails to keep it as natural or environmentally friendly as possible?

Building trails is not easy when the strategy to make areas accessible to walkers also means impacting on the space around it to construct it and potentially using items in the natural landscape to support the trails construction or bringing in items that simply don’t fit the landscape but are included with purpose behind it e.g. to protect fragile ecosystems (think plank sections on the Overland Track in Tasmania).

Do stairs on a trail make it harder or easier? There are many trails that perhaps come to mind with lots of stairs (Three Capes) – probably to stop falls and slips and also protect the trail from erosion – but does this mean our enjoyment level drops or do we find gratitude for the gesture of stairs? The jury might be out on that one. Sometimes exiting a beach with stairs is a lot easier than clawing your way up a dune and destroying it in the process.

Long distance walking is a past time that gives you way too much time to ponder on these things. It allows you to find the improvements, compare other surfaces and essentially audit every trail you have ever walked. If you are into walking, you can probably relate.

So where can we send our ideas or improvements to?

It often depends on who manages the trail, what funding exists for its ongoing maintenance if any and where the trail traverses (the most). This can be a number of different local and/or state government and non-government organisations.  Volunteers also do a huge job of maintaining public trails and we would like to acknowledge their hard work and contribution to making these trails accessible to us all.

Not sure how you can support the maintenance of trails in South Australia?

There are a number of organisations you can join to support financially or volunteer with time – Friends of Parks groups, Friends of the Heysen Trail for example. Walking SA is the peak body for walking in South Australia and also do a huge job of cataloging hundreds of trails you can walk in SA – to continue supporting this resource and their work, memberships start from just $22 per year.

 

Lisa Murphy is the founder of Big Heart Adventures alongside husband Ian. They share a love/addiction for hiking long distance trails both in South Australia and beyond. Apart from running a walking and wellness business, they don’t mind performing the odd trail audit either. Lisa also volunteers with Walking SA and assists on the Sponsorship Committee.

SA Election: Vote with your feet

Download media release (PDF).

Walking SA has today written to all candidates in the upcoming election with a call to invest in our children and ensure we have Safe Streets to Schools.

All children should feel safe to walk and cycle to school, without risking being injured by vehicles.

It is completely unacceptable to have poor walking conditions, that do not consider children’s needs or incorporate design based on children’s abilities, within a 2km catchment of our primary schools.

Parents have no faith in the urban environment to keep their children safe, so they drive them to school, adding more cars to the roads and increasing school traffic.

The Government must make a commitment to active school travel and prioritise children’s health and wellbeing by enabling children to walk and cycle to school.

“Over the past 40 years, children walking and cycling to school has declined from 75 percent to 25 percent,” Dr Helen Donovan, Executive Director Walking SA said. “As physical activity levels decrease, not only do children experience a myriad of problems associated with loss of physical health, but we have also seen levels of anxiety and depression in young people skyrocket. Are we going to accept this as a community?”

In South Australia on average 52 percent of school children live within two kilometres of their school, but only 20 percent actively travel to or from school.

“Walking and cycling to school isn’t just a matter of individual motivation. We need to steadily improve the built environment to ensure it is safe and enjoyable to walk and ride. Children and families must have a viable, safe choice.” said Dr Donovan.

“We commend the government on their genuine, collaborative efforts to develop a state-wide Walking Strategy. Now we need to see some commitment and investment into walking to see this Strategy come to life.”

Walking SA calls on the government to take immediate action:

  • Commit to working in partnership to enable Safe Streets to Schools;
  • Lower the speed limit to 40km/h or less in all local streets and school catchments;
  • Increase funding to local governments to install a network of planned separated bikeways, safe road crossings, greenways, and other supporting infrastructure to create Safe Streets to Schools
  • Create policy to move school drop-off zones away from the front gate to decrease the high traffic volumes immediately in front of schools and thereby decrease the risk of collision with a child.

Walking SA will be calling on our members, supporters and followers to support our call at the next election and vote with their feet for the party who supports more walking more often.

Media enquiries

Helen Donovan, Executive Director Walking SA
helen.donovan@walkingsa.org.au Ph: 0457 006 620

 

About Walking SA

Walking SA is the not-for-profit peak body that leads, promotes and supports all forms of walking in South Australia, including walking for recreation, transport, health, wellbeing, organised events, adventure, environmental appreciation and fun experiences.

Our vision is to see more people walking more often.

Our members include walking clubs, informal groups, individuals and organisations whose aims, and objectives align with those of Walking SA.

Our Strategy guides us to achieve more walking for recreation, transport, and health as we:

  • Grow walking participation through programs, walking clubs and walking SA supporters.
  • Support the planning of walkable communities and environments.
  • Provide community information and lead annual walking events.

To find out about Walking SA, including our database describing over 750 trails in South Australia, visit walkingsa.org.au

Congratulations to our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduates – Elise Kennewell, Elaine and Andrew Davies

Elise Kennewell from WEA Ramblers and Elaine and Andrew Davies from ARPA Bushwalkers have recently graduated as Day Walk Leaders through our program to strengthen bushwalking leadership within our clubs. The program was possible through grant support from Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, with Walking SA partnering with Bushwalking Leadership SA.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day group bushwalking trips.

Elise Kennewell, WEA Ramblers

Elise Kennewell has recently graduated as a Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leader

Elise signed up and commenced the Day walk Leadership Certificate course in October last year. At the time she was not connected to a bushwalking group, she wanted to complete the training for personal, and potentially future employment reasons.

Following the completion of the theory component, she was required to log a number of walks and then undergo assessment practically by planning and leading a walk with a number of participants.

To assist her to get walking, and complete a number of walks and trails around Adelaide, she chose to join the WEA Ramblers group. She had found all their contact details and a walk program with dates and walks on the Walking SA website. She was very warmly welcomed by this group, and she joined them on a number of walks as a guest and then later as a member.

This group were very supportive of her training, and were keen to provide support with her assessed walk by attending and encouraging her in the lead up and on the day.

“I really feel that being a part of this walking group has consolidated and enhanced all that I learnt in the theory of the course. I have learnt a lot more about bushwalking, planning, group dynamics and leadership styles by observing, participating and walking with the group, which contains many very experienced bushwalkers. I have also been able to use my skills in navigating and first aid in real life situations as a part of our regular walks, which has given me practice and confidence.”

“I want to thank this group for all their support and now friendship, and I look forward to many more walks together as I continue to walk with them exploring the many beautiful natural areas in South Australia.”

Elaine and Andrew Davies, ARPA Bushwalkers

Elaine (left) and Andrew Davies (right), pictured with Rod Quintrell, on a Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leaders training day

Andrew and Elaine Davies were sponsored by ARPA Bushwalkers to participate in the Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leader Program. They have been members and active participants of ARPA since 2016 when they retired.

Starting by participating in day walks, they have subsequently led (between them) walks in all areas around Adelaide. They’ve led ARPA graded A-grade, B-grade and C-grade walks (ARPA walks are graded from A-grade – the longest and hardest walks, to D-grade – the  easiest shortest walks). They’ve been involved in long distance walks on Kangaroo Island and Victoria’s a

They have also done long distance walks including the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail and the Great North Walk from Sydney to Newcastle. They have convened trips including the alpine High Country in Victoria and New South Wales. In January they’re hoping to complete the “Alpine Trifecta” in Mt Buller.

After graduating, Andrew said “I found the Day Walk Leadership Program very instructive and the was process exceptionally good at installing necessary Bushwalking Leadership skills.”

They are appreciating their additional skills to pursue their passion for delivering the best day walk possible.

Their skills will also enhance their work with their work with the Walking Trails Support Group.

 

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us or visiting bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

Walking Strategy for South Australia – open for consultation

After working in partnership across-government, engaging with stakeholders and reviewing the best available evidence and evidence-based practice, a draft Walking Strategy for South Australia has been developed. The Strategy will help to guide the planning, building and creation of walkable environments for all South Australians. Community feedback on the draft Strategy is being sought by 17 October 2021 on yourSAy which can be accessed via yoursay.sa.gov.au/south-australian-walking-strategy

Walking is an inclusive and accessible activity that allows people to get from one place to another, can improve their health and wellbeing and provide them with an enjoyable way of spending their leisure time.

When we talk about walking, we also include jogging, running and moving with a pram or pusher, or moving with the aid of a mobility device such as a wheelchair, walking frame or the like.

Supporting more people walking more often; all ages all abilities can lead to multiple benefits to be experienced by all South Australians, including:

  • Social benefits – improved health and wellbeing, increased safety, positive placemaking and increased social cohesion.
  • Economic benefits – increased city attractiveness, boosting the local economy, increased urban regeneration and cost savings; and
  • Environmental benefits – reducing greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, increased benefits to people from the natural environment, improved liveability and improved transport efficiency.

The draft South Australian Walking Strategy 2022-2032 has been developed in such a way to unite cross-government departments and agencies, key stakeholders, providers, funders and interest groups to better enable:

  • Walking for Transport – more South Australians making short trips by walking.
  • Walking for Health – more South Australians with better health and wellbeing through walking.
  • Walking for Recreation and Sport – more South Australians accessing green open space for walking.

Get involved

To find out more please:

Have your say

Two recent walking surveys tell the story: If we don’t walk more often, it’s often because we think we don’t have the time

Believing that “what counts, counts”, we are always keen to see data measuring how much walking is being done.  So we were pleased to see two new measures of walking appear recently.

The National Walking and Cycling Participation Survey has been undertaken in 2021.  This continues a biennial series for measuring cycling that began in 2013.  This is the first time that it has also covered walking. This is a telephone survey in which a member of a household who is at least 15 years of age is asked to respond for each member of the household.  In South Australia, this involved 529 households, covering 1,324 households.

Practically all of us (96%) walked for more than five minutes in the week before the survey.  And we walked quite a lot: among those aged 15 and over, the median hours walked in the previous seven days was 3.0 hours, or almost a half an hour a day.

This was slightly less than the 3.5 hours recorded for Australia as a whole.  A cynic might say that this is because parking is easier than in the big cities on the east coast, but we should note that the most popular reason for walking recorded was for recreational/ health purposes.  See the figures reproduced below.  (The lines at the top of each column are the error bars, to indicate the 95% confidence interval.)

Reasons given for walking

These figures might be an over-estimate.  Because answering is voluntary (48% of households approached agreed to be surveyed), there is probably a self-selection bias toward households that are pre-disposed toward walking and cycling.  Also, the average household surveyed had 2.5 members, compared with 2.4 recorded in the most recent census.  So there was probably a slight bias toward younger/ more active households.

Nevertheless, the key value of the National Walking and Cycling Participation Survey is that it provides a consistent methodology over time, so we look forward to accurate trends in the years to come.

The other recent source of data is survey of members by the Royal Automobile Association (RAA).  624 members responded to a questionnaire about how much walking they do, their attitudes towards walking and what might encourage them to walk more often.  As with the National survey, almost all respondents (in this case 94%) said that they walked for at least five minutes in the past week.  Over a third said that they did this every day.  Half said that on a typical day they walked for at least 30 minutes.

What was striking was the proportions who said that they could easily walk at least a kilometre to access local shops and similar destination: 85% in the case of parks; two thirds to shops, cafes and restaurants.

Three quarters said that they would like to walk more than they do, but the biggest barrier to doing this was the lack of time.

Once again there is probably a self-selectivity bias here: the survey was voluntary.  Nevertheless, the survey suggests that that, with over half of our car trips 3km or less, there is a lot of scope for replacing short car trips with walking.