Today we remember the thirty New Zealanders killed while out walking in the last 12 months, to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. The theme this year ‘Its time to remember – say no to road crime’.
Pedestrian deaths make up 10% of the 287 people who have lost their lives on New Zealand roads in the last 12 months, with Waikato, Auckland and Canterbury the most deadly places to be on the road.
Chair of UN Road Safety Collaboration Dr Etienne Krug says On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, our hearts go out to the loved ones of those killed and seriously injured on the world’s roads. It is indeed a time to remember them. It is also time to acknowledge that much more must be done to avoid such tragedies. 2015 should be a turning point for road safety worldwide. In September governments around the world set an ambitious target to drastically reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2020. This week around 1500 delegates from more than 100 countries will gather in Brazil for the 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety.
Living Streets Aotearoa president Andy Smith says, “Pedestrian deaths are a tragedy on our roads that are preventable. In a short 100 years roads have gone from an enjoyable place to meet and play, to a public space that is just not safe enough. Two measures promoted on this day are applicable in NZ. This is to reduce speed by improving laws and enforcement, and to update roads with protective infrastructure such as footpaths dedicated for pedestrians. The New Zealand Pedestrian Planning and Design Guide is the best practise for this infrastructure and should be mandatory for all councils. Lower speeds in all areas but specially in urban areas will improve safety for pedestrians and indeed all road users. I call on the government to take stronger measures to stop the deaths on New Zealand roads – a vision zero deaths is the only path to follow.”
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was started by RoadPeace in 1993. Since then it has been observed and promoted worldwide by several NGOs, including the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR) and its associated organizations. On 26 October 2005, the United Nations endorsed it as a global day to be observed every third Sunday in November each year, making it a major advocacy day for road traffic injury prevention. WHO and the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration encourage governments and NGOs around the world to commemorate this day.