This year’s UN Global Road Safety Week called on leaders to establish and enforce 30km/h or 20 mph speed limits in areas where people live, walk and play. One of the most effective ways to save lives is to reduce speed limits —it’s 30 for a reason. Under the theme “Streets for Life,” the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, Partnership for Healthy Cities, and Vital Strategies supported and amplified the work of governments and partners through a variety of events and activities throughout the week.
Across the globe, here’s how leaders pushed for change and committed to safer streets for all:
Bogotá and Cali, Colombia Join The Call for #StreetsForLife
Bogotá brought together road safety advocates, including Director of the Road Safety Office Nathaly Torregroza, Director of the Social Work Office Adriana Iza, Director of the Bogotá Victims’ Center José Ignacio Rui, and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Road Safety Consultant Natalia Tinjac to discuss “The Importance of Caring and Supporting Road Traffic Victims” on Facebook Live. The panel had nearly 1,600 viewers and called for community members and government officials to consider a comprehensive approach to road safety, which requires the enhancement of post-crash care for those involved in a road crash incident.
On social media, both cities of Cali and Bogotá supported the week by sharing graphics, short videos from road safety experts and leaders and images advocating for speeding enforcement.
Fortaleza, Recife, São Paulo and Salvador Sign On To Reduce Speeding
To commemorate UN Global Road Safety Week, Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador announced new speed limits in pedestrian-heavy areas. São Paulo reduced speed limits from 50 km/h to 40 km/h on 24 roads around the city, while Recife welcomed an exclusive pedestrian-only street, Rua de Bom Jesus, known as one of the most beautiful streets in the world.
Salvador and Recife also launched campaigns calling on motorcyclists to obey speed limits. The campaigns featured prominent doctors and were aligned with increased speed enforcement operations.
The city of São Paulo supported a series of webinars to discuss road safety topics with residents. The webinars featured government officials and partners, including new Mayor of São Paulo Ricardo Nunes, and reflected upon how mobility has changed during the pandemic.
Buenos Aires, Argentina Ignites For Change
Iconic monuments in Buenos Aires, including the Floralis Genérica and the Monumento a La Carta Magna y las Cuatro Regiones Argentinas, were lit in yellow to mark the week and celebrate the launch of the city’s new road safety plan.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Spreads The Word
Twenty-five journalists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia participated in road safety journalism training to gain insight into city- and national-level efforts to save lives on the road. Journalists met with road safety stakeholders and discussed the importance of covering road safety as a public health issue in the media.
The Addis Ababa City Traffic Management Agency (TMA) and the Addis Ababa City Transport Bureau interacted with drivers and enforced traffic laws on major city roads. They also ran a PSA on speeding that was aired throughout UNGRSW and signed a pledge that promised road safety solutions for students living in risky traffic areas.
The TMA hosted several other activities including community engagement events and the installation of signage to indicate the speed limit of 30 km/h on many of the city’s roads.
Accra and Kumasi, Ghana Rally Together
In Accra, road safety stakeholders came together to discuss the issue of speeding and actions needed to help ensure the safety of all road users, as well as to pledge their commitment toward reducing speeding limits to 30 km/h in areas where pedestrians and vehicles mix. Mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Director General of the National Road Safety Authority Ing. May Obiri Yeboah and Director at the Ministry of Roads and Highways Dr. Gideon Asamoah Tettey attended and gave speeches expressing their commitment to safer roads.
Yeboah called for stakeholders to ensure that urban streets are made safer for all road users. “Between January and April this year, road traffic crashes have killed 1,034 people and injured 5,658 others,” he declared. “If working in the industry has taught me one thing, it is that we have reached a tipping point where neither platitudes nor half-hearted measures can save the situation; We must accept the reality for what it is, we must accept that road traffic crashes and deaths have become both a national tragedy and indeed, a matter of international concern.”
In Kumasi, representatives from the Ashanti regional office of the National Road Safety Authority and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly gathered to discuss the challenges of speeding and the need to reduce speed limits in the city. Several stakeholders, including the Director-General of the National Road Safety Authority and Ashanti Regional Commander of the Ghana National Fire Service participated. After the meeting, stakeholders rallied behind the #Love30 UN Global Road Safety Week campaign, engaging with drivers on the streets of Kumasi to discuss the dangers of speeding.
Guadalajara, México Commits To Action
In Guadalajara, city officials including Mayor Eduardo Fabián Martínez Lomelí and Director of Mobility Libertad Zavala, signed the U.N.’s open letter committing to safer streets. The city also supported UN Global Road Safety Week efforts on social media through a series of posts and launched a preliminary report on road fatalities.
Kampala, Uganda Educates New Advocates
On May 14, the city of Kampala launched UN Global Road Safety Week with an event officiated by the Minister of Works and Transport. Throughout the week, city and partner organizations hosted activities and trainings to engage community members and stakeholders on the need for reduced speed limits on roads where people live, work and play.
About Vital Strategies’ Road Safety Program: Vital Strategies is an implementing partner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), supporting governments in carrying out proven road safety interventions around the world. We use our expertise to help cities strengthen road crash data systems, and then use that 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 among the initiative’s multiple global partners, governments, and city agencies to align efforts in implementing policy, infrastructure, enforcement, communication and surveillance programs.
To learn more about Vital Strategies road safety work visit: https://www.vitalstrategies.org/programs/road-safety/ and follow us on Twitter @VitalStrat