According to WHO 1.35 million people die each year due 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 are 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.
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 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 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 mid 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.
Zebra Crossing sign
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 good road aside from our schools that really help us as road users but I ask you to advocate for us to have at least road humps and Zebra crossing near the school gate. I do believe if we develop strong educational program and community awareness on road safety as well advocacy like this we would see a significant decrease in 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 NGO 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.