We, the undersigned people’s organizations, social movements and concerned citizens of India, submit this Memorandum before you as the head of the Government to draw your attention towards the importance of pedestrian safety measures to be implemented urgently in our state where pedestrian injuries and deaths are alarmingly increasing. Roads in Kerala are fast becoming deathtraps for pedestrians and 35% of road fatalities involve pedestrians.
Our aim is to
- 1Arouse awareness among the public about their responsibilities as citizens to abide by the laws and utilize the facilities provided by the Government for their own safety. This include ensuring walking on foot paths, utilizing Zebra crossings, avoidance of Mobile phones while walking, helping disabled and the elderly
- 2Making alive the existing amenities and provide a safe zone for the pedestrians to walk or the cyclers to cycle. This include visibility ensured with street lights, marking made prominent on Zebra crossings and side paths, avoiding street vendors, proper closure of the canal slabs and pot holes, Ban on repeated digging by various departments due to lack of planning.
- 3To implement certain model projects done by various states in India as well as developed countries which have been successfully carrying out pedestrian safety programs. This include Bengalure Tender sure – a 21.8sqkm core area in Bangalore have been redesigned to cater to pedestrians and cyclist, Chennai claims to provide 40% of roads safe walkways and cycle tracks by the end of 2018, The pelican islands or refugee island which are 3mt wide and 1 foot tall areas built in the middle of cross roads for pedestrians, promoting car free streets as in Delhi, Mumbai, Thane and Pune.
- 4To follow the WHO guidelines on pedestrian safety which has extensively outlined the methodology for assessment of existing issues, utilization of available resources as well as implementation of effective programs for pedestrian safety.
The WHO recommends the following six principles to be applied to most pedestrian safety advocacy efforts:
- aMake a long-term commitment: Change is rarely achieved overnight, and even in the best-performing countries it has taken years to achieve a decrease in pedestrian traffic fatalities. Advocacy for policy change on behalf of pedestrian safety entails seemingly endless hours of effort, including service on advisory committees, tracking and evaluating projects and plans, providing comments and testimony, and advocating for changes to standard operating procedures such as street design standards and crossing marking policies. Persistence and commitment in the long term are required for success.
- bPrioritize focal areas: Take a strategic approach by identifying and focusing on a few key priorities at once. Setting priority areas requires a good assessment of the road safety and political situation in the local setting. Instead of engaging in a broad range of activities that may not always yield results, it is better to target advocacy efforts carefully, to make the best use of the limited time and resources, in favour of the greatest potential gains. Advocacy groups must be realistic about what their staff and partners can achieve, and take on a limited number of projects each year, especially in the first years of operation.
- c Promote evidence-based solutions: It is critical to ensure that efforts are based on the best scientific evidence. Nongovernmental organizations should engage in an ongoing dialogue with road safety experts in order to stay informed about the latest knowledge and practice from the field and use that understanding to enhance ongoing research and activities. In certain settings, the best scientific evidence may contradict the common understanding, and nongovernmental organizations can play a role in resolving this conflict.
- dUtilize existing resources: It is helpful to make use of existing materials and resources in order to avoid duplication of effort. Many organizations offer materials that can be used to support national and local road safety initiatives. These should be tailored for relevant audiences and translated into appropriate languages.
- eBuild an advocacy network: It is vital to engage with partners. Few nongovernmental organizations are able to succeed without the support of partners from government, academia, the private sector, foundations or agencies such as the police, fire department and medical services. They also gain by reaching out to other nongovernmental organizations to coordinate messages, support one another’s activities and generate resources. The importance of engaging with partners, promoting similar actions and speaking as a community with one voice cannot be overstated.
- fReview progress regularly: While most advocacy efforts contribute to general awareness raising, targeted advocacy can most effectively contribute to concrete and measurable change. Even when an organization lacks the capacity to monitor its programmes in detail, it is useful to make a conscious effort to identify some measures of success before activities begin. These measures should then be used to compare progress before and after the advocacy effort to determine if that effort needs to be redirected or redesigned in some way.
WHO recommends the following six principles to be applied to most pedestrian safety advocacy efforts:
To maximize the benefits of footpaths/sidewalks to pedestrian safety, they should:
- Be part of every new and renovated roadway;
- Be provided on streets that currently do not have sidewalks, including providing shoulders on rural roads;
- Be provided on both sides of the road;
- Consist of a hard, level surface;
- Be designed according to existing local guidelines with regards to width, depth, surface type and placement;
- Be separated from other vehicles with a kerb, buffer zone, or both;
- Be continuous and accessible to all pedestrians;
- Be adequately maintained;
- Have adequate width (as narrow sidewalks may be an additional road safety hazard);
- Include kerb ramps (as they are important in addressing the needs of people in wheelchairs and pedestrians with mobility impairments);
- Be free from obstructions (e.g. lamp posts and road signs), traders and other obstructions;
- Include demarcations by road user type when shared by pedestrians and cyclists.
- 1Public awareness by Government and Social organizations utilizing media and mass campaigns on pedestrian safety
- 2Strict implementation of road safety rules
- 3Redesigning cities to cater to pedestrians and cyclists by providing pedestrian bays and refugee islands
- 4Providing walkways/ cycle paths with good illumination and safe floorings
- 4Electrical posts and cables to be tunneled as in any other developed countries at least in cities
- 4Prioritization for disabled and senior citizen mobility in the city through safe paths.
Thus to conclude, we have adequate studies, guidelines and examples in front of us to effectively implement safety programmes for the most vulnerable community - the pedestrians. Let this be an eye opener for the public as well as for the decision makers to keep pedestrians as the important element of the society as we all are a part of it. Although urbanization has given new dimension to the distance time relation it should not undermine the pillar of a healthy community. Walking and Cycling are the two easy ways of providing a healthy lifestyle to all fractions of the society, at all ages. We, The Cochin orthopedic Society along with our partners including Rotary clubs , Cycling groups, Schools, Senior citizen forums, Disabled community strongly recommend to provide safe walkways and cycling tracks in areas where roads, Metros and smart cities are being planned in our state.
- 1Pedestrian safety: A road safety manual for decision makers and practitioners (WHO 2013).
- 2Global status report on road safety 2013: supporting a decade of action. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2013.
Any individual, Organization or Trusts who are ready to put in a thought for the wellbeing and safety of the citizens without any political or religious motive my join this campaign