2nd United Nations Global Road Safety Week: protecting vulnerable pedestrians

News release

On the 2nd United Nations Global Road Safety Week (6 to 12 May), the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific Region calls for greater and more targeted action to protect the most vulnerable of all road users: pedestrians.

Each year in the Region's 37 countries and areas, more than 85 000 pedestrians lose their lives on roads. This accounts for a quarter of all road traffic-related fatalities in the Region.

“At some point in each day, virtually everyone is a pedestrian,” says Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “Therefore, everybody has a personal stake in making the roads safer for pedestrians. Whether one's destination is work, school or market, or whether one simply wants recreation, walking should be a safe and non-threatening activity.”

With its theme of "Make Walking Safe", the 2nd United Nations Global Road Safety Week is a milestone in advocacy for road safety. In the Western Pacific Region, events commemorating the week have been organized in 11 countries to promote road safety.

Advocacy messages include: sharing what is known about how road trauma in pedestrians can be prevented; what governments can do; and what individuals must do for their personal safety.

As part of the celebration, a global advocacy campaign called “Long Short Walks” organized by Make Roads Safe and the Zenani Mandela Campaign and promoted by WHO, is being organized in Cambodia, China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Philippines and Viet Nam. Other events include:

  • pedestrian safety vehicle technology demonstrations in Australia;
  • promoting safe routes to school in China;
  • a ministerial road safety conference and public transport day in Fiji; and
  • photo exhibits on pedestrian safety linked to public forums in Viet Nam.

“Around the world, the needs of motorized transport are often favoured without regard for the impact on people,” Dr Shin says. "The unacceptably high pedestrian death toll is testimony to this fact. New thinking and approaches are required that place the safety of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users at the heart of urban development. This will, in turn, promote physical activity and reduce environmental pollution for a safer and healthier Region.”

WHO and partners have prepared a series of advocacy and technical materials, all of which can be downloaded from the website of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Jonathon Passmore
Technical Officer, Violence and Injury Prevention
Telephone: +632 528 9856
Mobile: +63 908 894 5541
E-mail: passmorej@wpro.who.int

Mr Timothy O'Leary
Public Information Officer
Telephone: +632 528 9992
Mobile: +63 999 889 3974
E-mail: olearyt@wpro.who.int