Let’s provide spaces for pedestrians, cyclists, others to reduce road crashes

The Country Manager of the World Resource Insti­tute, Mr Nii Darko Darko, has advocated the provision of safe spaces for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

That, he said, would help reduce road crashes involving those cat­egories of road users, and overall road crash fatalities which account­ed for about 1.25 million deaths annually.

“We must conduct traffic safety audit on new infrastructure plans and inspection of existing infra­structure,” he said at a road safety workshop in Accra yesterday.

Attended by 20 communication experts and 10 journalists, the training was meant to build the ca­pacity of participants in road safety reporting.

It was organised by Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) in collabora­tion with the National Road Safety Commission and Accra Metropoli­tan Assembly.

An officer of Vital Strategies, a global public health organisation, Ms Irina Morozova, made a case for speed reduction in order to reduce crashes and save lives.

In a presentation titled “Why speeding is the major risk factor from a system perspective”, she said the higher the speed, the risk of a crash because speeding reduc­es a driver’s control of a vehicle.

She said a reduction of only five per cent could represent up to 30 per cent fewer crashes.

“A pedestrian has 90 per cent chance of surviving car crashes at 30 kilometre per hour or below but the chance of death at 60 kilometre per hour is almost definite,” she said.

Aside from speeding, Ms Moro­zova mentioned other major risk factors of road accidents as drunk driving and the non-use of seat belts and helmets.

For his part, the Enforce­ment Coordinator of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mr Joshua Mensah, said road traffic injury was the 8th leading cause of death.

He said the role of enforcement was to protect lives and properties and educate drivers and, in that regard, called all to support stake­holders to promote road safety.

Some of the topics discussed included a review of a safe system, risk factors, and vulnerable road users, an analysis of a road crash scenario and potential contributors speaking about the event, a mass media campaign, law enforcement, and the deterrence theory.

The rest were how could solu­tions journalism be applied to road crash coverage in the newsroom and solutions journalism as a new concept of reporting.


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