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No road safety without pedestrian safety

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Poster for Road Safety Week showing black shadow figures crossing a pedestrian crossingMore than 270 000 pedestrians die on the world's roads each year. We are all pedestrians, but many transport systems neglect our needs.5 May 2013 – This year, the second Global Road Safety Week, starting on 6 May 2013, is dedicated to pedestrian safety. The Week aims to highlight the need to improve pedestrian safety worldwide, to generate action on required measures, and contribute to achieving the ambitious goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 to save 5 million lives. In addition, improvements in pedestrian safety may encourage people to walk more, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, dementia, depression and obesity.

Road Safety Week follows the launch of the Global Status Report for Road Safety in March 2013, which provides the most recent road safety data at global, regional and country levels. The report shows that 10% of all global road traffic fatalities happen in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, with vulnerable road users accounting for 45% of these deaths.

In 2010, pedestrian deaths accounted for 28% of regional road traffic deaths. The WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region ranks second for the highest proportion of pedestrians deaths in the world after the African Region at 38%.

Pedestrian deaths account for 22% of all annual global road deaths. More needs to be done to make our world more walkable by providing safe, reliable and accessible facilities for all pedestrians. Pedestrian safety cannot be improved through adoption of single isolated interventions, the involvement of multiple sectors in national road safety efforts is critical. Approaches could include:

  • improving legislation and enforcement on speed, drink-driving and the use of mobile phones while driving, coupled with raising awareness and the conducting of mass media campaigns
  • enhancing roadway lighting and removing obstructions
  • building appropriate sidewalks, crosswalks, refuge islands, speed bumps and raised platforms at bus stops
  • ensuring that environments are safe for walking.

The Second Global Road Safety Week 2013 is a milestone event which aims to contribute to achieving the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. It represents a unique opportunity to improve road safety at all levels through renewed commitment and effort to save the lives of the thousands of people that are lost on our roads every year.

Related links

Second UN Global Road Safety Week

Information for the media: Make Walking Safe, The second United Nations Global Road Safety Week in the Eastern Mediterranean Region 6–12 May 2013 [pdf 250kb]

Press release: Making walking safer

Make walking safe posters