Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety member and Vision Zero Youth Council - Rwanda President, Nkumbuye Ami, submitted an article that talks about issues around safer mobility in the newly constructed road that connects Huye and Gisagara District in Rwanda. It also highlights the importance of road infrastructures and reduced speed limits. We reproduced the article here.
According to the World Health Organization, 1.35 million people die each year due to road traffic crashes and up to 50 million more suffer from non-fatal injuries. It is the leading cause of death in young people aged between 15-29 years old.
Surprisingly most crashes can be prevented if each country develops a good education program focusing on road safety, good road infrastructure that is favorable for vehicles and road users, community awareness on road safety, obeying traffic rules, and strengthening of road safety legislation.
All are key factors that can be considered to decrease road crashes.
In this article, we are going to address some issues that should be considered for safer mobility in the newly constructed road that connect Huye and Gisagara District.
When you start your journey from Huye City to Gisagara, there is a newly constructed road that passes between two secondary schools including Groupe Officiel de Butare School at its start from Huye City. It is a well-designed road that has many zebra crossing that allows road users to cross safely, a 50 km/h road speed limit, sidewalks for pedestrians and a cycling way.
All these are measures that contribute to decreasing the risk of road crashes.
Health People Rwanda volunteers also evaluated this road focusing on where to improve especially at school zones and advocate for improvement that makes it safer for all road users.
At the school zone mentioned above, we noticed a lack of road humps and that the 50 Km/h speed limit is not appropriate for such a place clouded by students especially at pick and drop hours.
Recently in Toronto, researchers found that on streets where the speed limit lowered from 40km/h to 30km/h there was a 28% reduction in car-pedestrians collisions.
As we start UN Global Road Safety Week in the coming month, Healthy People Rwanda joins the global road safety community calling for a 30km/h speed limit to become the default speed limit in cities, towns, and villages.
Dr. Nzeyimana Innocent, the president of Healthy People Rwanda said “ As we start a new decade of action, HPR will play a key role in contributing to the decrease of road crashes in Rwanda and the region in partnership with different stakeholders including Rwanda National Police. Our advocacy this year will focus on safer road infrastructures accommodating human errors, especially at school zones and also road safety education. Roads should not be there to kill the dreams of Youth but rather help to accomplish them”.
The Director of the school Groupe Officiel de Butare Charles said “ Last trimester in our district many students died due to road crashes, sadly most of them were avoidable. I really appreciate that we have a good road aside from the schools that really help us as road users but I ask you to advocate for us to have at least road humps and zebra crossings near the school gate. I do believe if we develop a strong educational program and community awareness on road safety as well advocacy like this we would see a significant decrease in the number of injuries and deaths related to road crashes”
We can't conclude this article without saying that we will keep advocating for safer roads. We also stand with other NGOs across the globe and different partners calling 30km/h to become the default speed limit in cities, towns, and villages in the upcoming UN Global Road safety week to happen on May 17th- 23rd, 2021.
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