Brian's Column: Can’t we have roads constructed for humans first?

Brian's Column: Can’t we have roads constructed for humans first?

Our regular columnist Mr Brian Bilal Mwebaze from Uganda is back with his take on all things youth and road safety in Africa. Brian gives a unique perspective on the things he sees around him. As a self confessed "public health freak", Brian's unique viewpoint as a youth champion for road safety, a social entrepreneur and a public health expert offers candid expression of the state-of-play in the African region. This month he asks the question, "Why can't we create roads for humans and not just for cars?".

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July has been a very a busy month at YOURS! Read about how our South Africa Youths training that took place in Polokwane, Limpopo where we met up again to hear about their progress a year on. Read more about the South Africa follow up training.

You will also like to read here about our work with Amend where we helped to deliver a strategic advocacy training with NGO leaders from across the region. Amends’ safe school area program provides simple, targeted infrastructure measures. They recently completed a multiyear impact evaluation; the program reduced injury rates by more than 26% and lessened the severity of the injuries that did occur.

There is huge news from Liberia where the Government Endorsed Road Safety! Nearly after 5 years of advocacy and ambitious Road Safety Campaigns by Save Life Liberia, the Liberian government has finally endorsed road safety as a serious need to be tackled. According to Vasco T. Masseh, the Executive Director Save Life Save Life Liberia Inc., the official LNP Road Safety Week was launched on July 21, 2018 at the Monrovia City Hall where the Mayor of Monrovia City, Honorable Jefferson Koijii who narrowly survived fatal accident in June, conveyed President George Weah's message of endorsement for road safety!

 


There was streets parade, pedestrian sensitization and indoor ceremony that drew public attention. The occasion was graced by, the Sweden Ambassador, Ministers of Transport, Public Work, Inspector General of Police, Disabled Association of Liberia, Motorcyclists Union, GIZ, AU, WorldBank, ECOWAS, youth and student groupings. More here.

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Coming back to East Africa, there is tremendous road safety infrastructural projects getting launched. Check out what has been called Uganda's Most Beautful Road. But who uses these roads? It can’t be vehicles alone; Humans of all characteristics, and animals use them too.

In one of my mission to Kyaka Refugee Settlement, we were delayed for about 10 minutes to allow a herd of cattle to cross. That reminded me of a colleague @Mpunge_Micheal when he sent me this tweet and picture “As a pedestrian, I think I was not thought of by the planners of this road off the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway (from Mpala to the Airport)”.

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Along the same road, there’re schools, people live there, there’re shops and even if it were a forest, there would be animals chilling in there. For a child, elderly, or a person living with physical disabilities to cross this road at peak hours, they will need a lot of patience and luck. Human life shouldn’t be like this however, simple and effective road design mechanisms can help people walk, cycle and be safer.

Roads should be designed for humans and animals; not just vehicles.

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