WHAT DO COVID-19 AND ROAD SAFETY HAVE IN COMMON? THEY HIT THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE THE HARDEST, PARTICULARLY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Even though lockdowns and travel restrictions reduced the significant number of road deaths and injuries on India’s roads, fatality rates per kilometre actually spiked during the height of the pandemic.
Factors like higher speeds due to lower traffic volumes and an increase in more vulnerable pedestrians and motorcyclists on the roads may have contributed to the surprising surge.
Rather than waiting out the pandemic, road safety warriors are battling back in India. “In a world transformed by the pandemic, working towards a resilient recovery requires utilizing new opportunities to build a more sustainable and inclusive future,” writes Hartwig Schafer, vice president of the World Bank’s South Asia region, in a recent World Bank blog. He further states:
“This is an opportune time for countries in South Asia to re-think how to revive transportation systems during and after the pandemic, moving away from the car-centric approach to mass transit designs that integrate walking and cycling paths.” -Hartwig Schafer, vice president, South Asia region, World Bank
India Cycles4Change Challenge is designed to inspire and support Indian cities to quickly implement cycling-friendly initiatives in response to COVID-19. With more than 107 cities registered, the program is working with citizens and experts to implement low-cost solutions like pop-up lanes, traffic-calmed streets, community cycle rental programs and even cycling training. While cycling is a focus, these programs are intended to improve pedestrian safety as well.Road safety work continues closer to home
In Canada, about 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured every year. During the pandemic, municipalities across the country introduced changes to our roadways to make them safer for all the ways we get around.
Here at Aviva, we are also committed to reducing serious injuries and fatalities on our roadways. Traffic safety initiatives like the Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator program help to scale innovations that can help keep Canadians safer while on the go.
The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.