Disproportionate fatality figures for pedestrians and cyclists lead to call for change

WHO report calls for ”rethink” of transport policies

A fresh report into road traffic deaths by the World Health Organisation has called for a "rethink in global transport policy and how people share the road."

With some 1.25 million people fatally injured in incidents on the roads around the globe every year, the report found that vulnerable road users are involved in a dissproportionate number of incidents – with motorcyclists counted for 23 per cent, pedestrains 22 per cent and cyclists 4 per cent.

The figures do not take into account pollution stemming from motor vehicles, which in London alone is said to contribute to around 9,500 deaths annually.

“Decision-makers need to rethink transport policies,” – said Dr Etienne Krug, Director of WHO’s Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.

“Improving public transport as well as making walking and cycling safer requires us to refocus our attention on how vehicles and people share the road. The lack of policies aimed at vulnerable road users is killing people and harming our cities. If we make walking and cycling safer there will be fewer deaths, more physical activity, better air quality, and more pleasant cities. ”

Countries that have achieved a decline in their fatality tallies are generally those who are working to improve legislation, enforcement and making both roads and vehicles safer, says the report.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” says WHO Director-General Dr Chan. “The report shows that road safety strategies are saving lives. But it also tells us that the pace of change is too slow.”

The Global status report on road safety 2015 comprises a narrative text combining evidence, facts and best practices with conclusions drawn following the analysis of the data collected for 180 countries. In addition it offers one-page profiles for each participating country and statistical annexes. An interactive online data visualization of the report is also available.

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