Skip to content ↓
Vital Stories

From Bogotá to Accra: Cities Honor Loved Ones Lost on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Secretary of Mobility of Bogota walks the flower lined streets of Bogotá in honor of road traffic victims

In Bogotá, Colombia, bouquets of flowers line the streets to serve as a reminder of the lives lost as a result of road crashes. Painted bicycles hang high on poles along the roads representing the cyclists that have been killed in traffic crashes. On World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, Bogotá joins the global community in honoring loved ones lost and recognizing that no death on the road is acceptable.

Painted bicycles hang high on poles in Bogotá representing cyclists killed in traffic crashes

Every year, 1.35 million deaths are caused by traffic crashes affecting millions of families and communities around the world. Up to 50 million injuries also occur worldwide with a range of impacts like preventing people from working, providing for their families or even life-long physical and emotional pain. Since 2015, through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), Vital Strategies has supported the efforts of 10 cities to improve road safety so that millions of people can live healthier, longer lives.

On Nov. 17, Vital Strategies supported activities around the world in conjunction with the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, including: 

  • Accra, Ghana, launched its first-ever road safety high-impact campaign to address speeding, a leading cause of traffic crashes around the globe. The campaign is desperately needed; In Accra, 77% of drivers exceed speed limits. Part of a multi-agency speed management plan, the “Schoolgirl” campaign shows a scenario too many families face: a young girl walking to school is hit and killed by a driver exceeding the speed limit. The campaign’s message will air on television, radio and billboards for one month and is paired with an enforcement operation that will use newly procured speed detection technology to catch drivers violating the law.
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will partner with a local television network to tell the story of crash victims and share the city’s efforts to make its roads safer for all people.
  • Bandung, Indonesia told the heartbreaking story of Dita, a 26-year-old woman who was in a motorcycle crash in 2014 and has continued to suffer from her injuries – which could have been less severe if she had been properly wearing a helmet. Dita shared her experience to encourage others to buckle their helmets on motorcycles.
  • Bangkok, Thailand shared the emotional story of San Sornrak, who became paralyzed 25 years ago, when he was 19 years old, after a driver who was drinking crashed into him. San likely would not have survived had he not been wearing a helmet, and he now works for an insurance company helping crash victims.
San Sornrak was paralyzed after being struck by a driver who was drinking

By sharing stories of loss and acknowledging the preventable nature of traffic crashes, cities are fostering public support for swift action so that millions of people can live healthier, longer lives. Vital Strategies has supported these cities, and others, to prevent loss of life on the roads by implementing proven solutions—including strong legislation that is enforced and paired with mass media campaigns, streets designed for all including pedestrians and cyclists and vehicle safety standards, —to reduce speeding and drink driving, and increase proper helmet and seat-belt use. Effort to make roads safer through BIGRS have resulted in a downward trend in fatality rates in cities, including:

  • Fortaleza, Brazil experienced a 40% reduction in traffic deaths, from 377 deaths in 2014 to 266 deaths in 2018. Fortaleza is committed to preventing all traffic deaths.
  • Mumbai, India’s road safety improvements have led to a decrease in traffic crash deaths from 598 in 2014 to 475 in 2018.

No death on the road is acceptable. On the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, Vital Strategies honors the lives lost in traffic crashes and recognizes the millions of families affected around the world.

Vital Strategies is an implementing partner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), a consortium carrying out proven road safety interventions in 10 cities and five countries around the world. We use our expertise to strengthen road crash surveillance systems, and then we use outcome data to inform policy and action. We guide the creation of strategic communication and mass media campaigns to change road user behavior. Finally, we serve as the main liaison between the initiative’s multiple global partners, governments, and city agencies to align efforts in infrastructure, enforcement, communication and surveillance. 

For more information on Vital Strategies’ work in road safety, visit: