POLICE in Glasgow want to drive home the road safety message to thousands of pedestrians who risk their lives jaywalking.

Earlier this week, a pedestrian was taken to hospital after being struck by a car in St Vincent Street, and an elderly woman fell and hit her head when she walked out behind a car that was reversing.

Council officers are to highlight their Push the Button campaign - aimed at the city's older residents - and police say they want to keep pedestrian road deaths down, following a spike several years ago when 18 older pedestrians were killed and 250 injured.

So far this year, two pedestrians have been killed in the city and 50 seriously injured. Last year, two died and 98 were injured, and seven died and 93 were injured in 2012. Ten of the victims were older people.

Each day across Glasgow, thousands of pedestrians cross busy roads and junctions and dash out between parked cars.

Brian McGarvey, a taxi driver for 20 years, said he had lost count of the number of near misses he has seen.

He said: "I see it all the time, people stepping out when the lights are red.

"To be perfectly honest, the kids look for the green man, it's the adults who don't. You see a group of three or four of them and they go en masse.

"They don't even look to see if it's green."

He said one of the worst areas for near misses was the junction of Renfield Street and Gordon Street, near Central Station.

He added: "Hope Street and Sauchiehall Street are also bad.

"At night time, it's a different problem, you get the ones who have had a drink and walk in front of cars without looking."

Police Scotland does not have the time or resources to take action against every jay walker and has adopted an educational approach.

Inspector David Carballo, of the roads policing unit, said it wasn't a huge problem, but a persistent one.

He said: "Anyone who drives regularly in Glasgow knows what to expect.

"Along Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street, where there are junctions with other roads, you get pedestrians crossing when they shouldn't and jumping between parked cars.

"They are so busy concentrating on mobile phones that they just wander out in front of cars."

He said he frequently walked down Sauchiehall Street and encountered people walking around with earphones on, looking at their phones, oblivious to everything around them.

He said: "They don't know their surroundings, it's like they are not really there."

William McKirdy, of Cathcart, has been a newspaper vendor at different locations in the city centre for 12 years.

He sees hundreds of jaywalkers every day.

He said: "You definitely see plenty of near misses.

"There are scores of them crossing when the green man is not on. The junction of Sauchiehall Street and Renfield Street is one of the worst locations for it.

"You see them all the time, constantly. I've even seen people with prams jaywalking."

He said the junction of St Vincent Street and Hope Street was also "pretty bad."

An investigation is currently underway into an accident at that location on Monday, when a pedestrian was taken to hospital after being hit by a car.

Mark Brown, a community safety officer with Community Safety Glasgow, patrols the city centre.

He said: "We're all guilty of it. I've done it.

"I think you make an effort if you've got kids but, otherwise, everyone's done it. You see it all the time."

He highlighted St Vincent Street as a hotspot and said he had seen drivers get angry with jaywalkers.

He said: "I've seen aggressive drivers, driving at them and tooting because they've been slowed down.

"It's difficult to know what to do about it. You can hardly fine everyone."

Glasgow City Council will shortly relaunch its Push the Button campaign, which runs during the darker winter months, as a reminder to older people to use crossings and to be aware of traffic.

It also stresses the importance of taking care when crossing in the vicinity of large vehicles - particularly goods vehicles - where the driver's view is limited.

A council spokesman said: "Glasgow's road casualties are at their lowest since records began in the 1930s.

"We have invested heavily in road safety and are now seeing the benefits of this through reduced casualties.

"The council has introduced a number of mandatory 20mph zones in our residential areas.

"This is an ongoing programme which will continue to make it safer for those who walk or cycle in our communities."

victoria.brenan@ eveningtimes.co.uk