It mightn't be the fastest paced form of travel but you can't argue with the health benefits (new window) and cost-effectiveness of walking.
Being noticed and looking out for number one
Like any mode of transport, walking is a more enjoyable and safer experience with some preparation and by keeping a few common sense facts in mind. Fitness benefits can go out the window if you aren't taking care of yourself in other ways. In Victoria's changeable climate, be prepared for rapid drops in temperature and rain.
You're less likely to be involved in an accident if motorists know you're there. If you are moving in and out of busy traffic don't become another statistic - pedestrians account for a scary one in seven (or more!) of the people killed on the roads.
Recent deaths have highlighted the fact that talking on a mobile phone or using headphones and portable music devices in high risk areas (around schools when cars are dropping off or picking up students, busy intersections, train station crossings and the like) can result in tragedy. You need your eyes and ears open in traffic.
There are very good reasons why safety rails and fencing have been installed at tram and train stops to prevent people crossing in dangerous places. It can sometimes be difficult to judge the distance and speed of approaching cars so always use the crossing and obey the traffic signals. People get hit by cars they can see as well as those they can't.
For younger pedestrians and those on foot at night, some thought needs to be given to the incidence of street crime. For school students the 'Stranger Danger' and Neighbourhood Watch (new window) programs are good to brush up on so that you feel safe and comfortable on all walking journeys.
Again, visibility is even more crucial at night and your choice of clothes should reflect that, or, better still, be reflective!
Consider your fellow pedestrians as well; the groups most at risk for accidents in traffic are children, the elderly and those affected by alcohol and drugs.
Assisting kids or seniors to cross roads safely takes little effort and may save a life. Looking after your mates if they've had too much to drink and look like walking home is just what a friend should do.
Walking can be addictive fun and some will want to take it to the next level.
Melbourne has some beautiful city walks but the more adventurous may find themselves interested in bushwalking and hiking in our gorgeous regional (new window) areas.
Links for walking
Parks Victoria - From Wilderness to Sanctuary and 4.1 Million Hectares More!
Parks Victoria look after 4.1 million beautiful hectares of Victoria including national, state and metropolitan parks, marine sanctuaries, wilderness areas, historic places and Indigenous cultural heritage sites. They provide an immense amount of information for those eager to pursue walking more seriously.
Victoria Police - Pedestrians and Cyclists
Traffic safety is a major Victoria Police activity and they commit considerable resources to the enhancement of road safety and the reduction of accidents across the state. Victoria's reputation as the safest state is supported by the Road Safety Program and road safety remains a top priority throughout regional and rural areas, as well as metropolitan Melbourne.