Brazil celebrates pedestrian safety for Global Road Safety Week
Pedestrians in mid-town Manhattan, New York City. By moriza.

Pedestrians in mid-town Manhattan, New York City. By moriza.

Pedestrian Safety is the theme the United Nations’ second annual Global Road Safety Week, May 6-12, 2013.

Five thousand pedestrians are killed in road accidents each week across the world. In an urban environment that often places cars, motorcycles and bicycles in the same space, pedestrians end up being the most vulnerable target. A survey conducted by the São Paulo Health Department showed, for example, that 39% of traffic fatalities reported in the state involve pedestrians.

Thus, the main objective of Global Road Safety Week 2013 is to draw attention to the urgent need for better protection of pedestrians around the world in order to implement the actions and measures necessary for this, and help to achieve the target set for the Decade of Action for Road Safety to save 5 million lives.

Some initiatives have already been taken and are generating positive results with regard to road safety. This is the case, for example, with electronic timers at traffic lights which indicate to pedestrians the time remaining to cross the street, contributing to the decrease in the number of deaths. But much remains to be done. Organized by the UN General Assembly, the Decade of Action for Road Safety seeks to make streets safer for people. For this to happen, we need to improve the quality of road infrastructure and invest in sustainable transport and non-motorized forms of mobility.

Along these lines, the Global Road Safety Week initiative calls attention to traffic fatalities, through educational outreach and seeks to educate drivers and pedestrians about the importance of responsible conduct.

Initiatives in Brazilian cities

This week, road safety awareness events are being organized in several Brazilian cities. In Porto Alegre, a campaign was launched that draws attention to pedestrian safety in creative ways; for example, in two parts of the city crosswalks have been extended and also painted on the sidewalks and walls, until you reach an outdoor campaign billboard or promotion area. In both places, volunteers distribute educational material about traffic safety to passersby.

In São José do Rio Preto, in the State of São Paulo, according to data from the independent Brazilian Centre for Traffic Safety , there were 388 pedestrian accidents in 2011, of which 16 were fatal. Faced with such a scenario, this week’s programming comes at a crucial time. Several educational events focusing on accident prevention, drinking and driving, and pedestrian awareness were organized throughout the city.

The goal of the World Health Organization’s Global Road Safety initiative and associated activities is a week without pedestrian deaths. Let’s make it happen!

Originally posted on TheCityFix Brasil.

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