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Thursday, September 23, 2021

6th UN Global Road Safety Week Begins

....with a call for the adoption of 30km per hour speed limit for roads across the world. And a call for action for livable streets everywhere to save lives.

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Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana is a Nigerian from Edo state. She is a data and investigative journalist who also fact-checks. She covers health, agriculture, education and governance

NIGERIA: The 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week has been commenced and the safety campaign will last from May 17 to May 23.

The Launch was virtual and was monitored by Transcontinental Times.

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Speaking during the launch, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wants the government to set and enforce sensible speed limits.

He acknowledged that low-speed streets are an important part of the vision to create safe, healthy, green and livable cities adding that it promotes a healthy lifestyle through walking and cycling.

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“Facts shows that limiting driving speeds to 30 kilometres or 20 miles per hour in cities significantly reduces road traffic deaths and injuries.”

Ghebreyesus urged safe driving limit is necessary especially as the world recover and rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implementing Speed Limit will be Life Saving – UN

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The Executive Director of the UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif and the UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt in their various speeches during the launch avered that implementing speed limit will be Life Saving.

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The Executive Director of the UN-Habitat wants the government to invest in modernizing the public transport system which would reduce the number of cars on the roads.

“Governments have to work to ensure that trust in the public transport system is regained and public transport system becomes safe and accessible for everyone to use.”

She noted that as with other crisis facing the world, cities have a major role to reduce the incidents of injuries and deaths caused by road crashes.

“Properly designed streets and bike lanes can prevent speeding and protect the most vulnerable road users, cyclists and pedestrians from road crash”, she said.

Sharif assured countries of the UN-Habitat’s commitment to addressing the challenge of road safety.

The UN Secretary-General, Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt noted that lower speed can encourage more walking and cycling and help shift the world to zero carbon mobility.

“Low-speed streets are central to building resilient communication. Street for life can help achieve many sustainable development goals.” 

Todt further said that implementing the 30 kilometres per hour speed limit will be Life Saving as it would reduce road traffic deaths and injuries and lower 

UN General Assembly Supports 30km/h

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Volkran Bozkir commended United Nations member states for ensuring the inclusion of global road safety in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

He added that managing speed is among the most practical and most effective solution to saving lives with minimal cost.

“I stand behind the #love30 campaign. Reducing the speed of vehicles in urban centres will not only save lives but it will make our cities more inviting and accessible.”

Give Back the Streets to the People – Etienne Krug

The WHO Director, Department of Social Determinants of Health, Dr Etienne Krug during the launch and in a commentary made available to Transcontinental Times declared that the streets are for the people and it is time to give it back to the people.

He lamented that city streets now belong to private motor vehicles stressing the need for urban streets to be returned to the people.

“As we embark on building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, the time has come to return urban streets to people. Instrumental to this is limiting speeds to a maximum of 30 km/h (20 mph) on streets where pedestrians, cyclists and others who are most vulnerable mix with traffic. 

“Such low-speed streets are the foundation on which to build safe, healthy, green and liveable cities, cities for people. Low-speed streets – the heart of every community – are streets for life. This is why I #Love30”, he stated.

He lauded cities that have succeeded in adopting the 30 ki/h speed limit saying that the measure has yielded reductions in road traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.

“Evidence shows that 30 km/h streets not only save lives but also facilitate walking and cycling and a move towards zero-carbon mobility. Today, cognizant of these myriad benefits, 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits and zones are being replicated in municipalities worldwide.

” This includes in Brussels, Paris and urban centres across Spain, which from 11 May this year mandated 30 km/h speed limits on dual carriageways across all cities in the country.

“30 km/h speed limits are also being put in place around schools and residential neighbourhoods in cities from Bogotá, Colombia to Accra, Ghana and Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.”


What is UN Global Road Safety Week?

The United Nations Global Road Safety Week (UNGRSW) is a biennial global road safety campaign hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The campaign which holds for one week brings together individuals, governments, NGOs, corporations, and other organizations from around the world to raise awareness on road safety and make changes that will reduce the number of roads crashes on the world roads.

The theme for the 2021 Global Road Safety Week is Streets for Life #Love30.

This year campaign is for the reduction of speed limits to 30 kilometres per hour or 20 miles per hour.

Policymakers are being called on to act for low-speed streets while advocacy is increased on limiting speeds to 30 km/h (20 mph) where people walk, live and play. 

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