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‘City Roads in India Unsafe for Pedestrians, Cyclists’: World Health Organisation

Traffic related fatalities in the country have increased by 4.6 percent in 2015 resulting in the death of over two lakh persons. Quoting the figures from a report by the World Health Organisation, Claudia Adriazola, the Program Director of World Resources Institute said, WHO’s figures are significantly higher than that furnished by the National Crime Records Bureau, which reported 1.41 lakh accidental deaths in 2015.

Claudia, who was addressing the inaugural session of a three-day workshop ‘India Vision Zero Safer Streets, Safer Cities’ here on Sunday said, the city planners in India need to give a serious thought on creating ample space for cyclists and pedestrians. While in 90 percent of the cases drivers are held responsible for the accidents, research suggests that infrastructure loopholes on highways and city roads claim many lives, but these points are often not published, she added.

The pavements are in bad shape, irregular, encroached and are open at many places. These factors deter pedestrians and bicyclists from using the sideways. “They use the main roads and are exposed to the danger of being knocked down by speeding vehicles,” she said, adding that more than 50 percent of the casualties in road accidents was in the age group of 18 to 29.

According to the NCRB report, 45 percent of the unnatural deaths in India occur due to road accidents and 4.77 lakh persons sustain severe injuries which results in a GDP loss of three percent, said road safety experts.

Chief Guest on the occasion, Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi said, the Commerce and Transport Department will soon launch Statewide awareness campaigns on traffic rules and road safety. “Efforts are on to educate motorists, cyclists and pedestrians and fix the 144 black spots in the State, out of which 64 have been located on State Highways followed by 52 on National Highways,” the Minister said.

Underscoring the importance of safety of children on road, Bhubaneswar Development Authority Vice Chairman Dr Krishan Kumar said, to be smart in the actual sense, a city has to be child-friendly, where they are safe from road accidents. “Once our streets become child-friendly, we can make those safer for all age-groups.

The urban authority is coordinating with all stakeholders to design safer streets and roads in the city which topped the smart city challenge,” Kumar said. Secretary Works Department Nalini Pradhan said, a traffic audit is being carried out across the city to understand the behaviour pattern of the commuters. Supermodel and cyclist, Milind Soman and Police Commissioner YB Khurania also spoke.

Source: Disti Info Safety