There is an interesting bill that has been shortlisted to be presented in the prestigious parliament of the Pearl-Of-Africa! That bill is called ‘MINI SKIRT BILL’ which among other intrinsic characteristics hypotheses that the ‘Increase in HIV/AIDS prevalence rate from 6.9% to now 7.2% is due to many thanks from the stylish dressing attires of the creative Ugandan population’. Apparently, due this creative dressing, which sees young girls expose more than average body surface (I hope you know what I mean ), men (excluding myself lol) are influenced to place an order which on many platforms ends up being approved. This has led to what is commonly known as the sexual network! So, if our decision makers can able to notice that the Mini Skirt is an underlying factor to HIV/AIDS, why have they kept a blind eye on the number 1 killer of young people aged less than 30 years in Uganda, Africa and the world? Every young (and for ever young) person in Uganda knows that, it makes more sense to find a lasting solution to our Road Traffic Crash Mess than the Mini Skirt thing! especially that the GRSW is coming up, very close! (or, am I wrong?)
For those that don’t know… The 2nd United Nations Global Road Safety Week (GRSW) has been scheduled to take place from 6-12 May, 2013. It is the responsibility of NGOs, both the public and private bodies to organize road safety events which under the humble request of the UN General Assembly, will draw attention to the urgent need to better protect pedestrians worldwide. This is a special dedication to pedestrian safety to urgently contribute to better protect pedestrians worldwide, generate action on the measures needed to do so, and contribute to achieving the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 to save 5 million lives. Its also a chance to join the international community to ensure a fatality free Week and a significant and long-lasting contribution towards making walking safe for all.
Going back to the point, Walking and cycling are without a doubt, one of the most environmentally friendly modes of urban mobility let alone being a number one most effective exercise concerning ‘staying fit’ #OccupationalHealth&Safety. Popularization of these modes of mobility involves focus on the development of the safety measures for these vulnerable groups of road users. In fact, one wise man once said, ‘A developed country is one where rich people use public transport’. This is not an exam, so, am never going to ask the name of this guy! (Hint: He is not my father!)
Uganda’s roads (like all developing countries I have most recently visited, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Benin, Niger) are undoubtedly a dangerous place to be. Uganda however scores quite well at 78/1000 car:crash ratio making it 2nd behind Ethiopia in the whole of Africa! This is not a joke! While, a number of our decision makers are struggling to spend their money and state’s money, we continue to loose precious lives to avoidable crashes. According to Bagala (2012), Road Traffic mortalities on Ugandan roads have been increasing year after year from 600 deaths in 1990 to 3,343 in 2012! A careful analysis of who is dying shows young males less than 30 topping the list. Now, I have a question for you women…’Where are you gonna get your husbands now, huh? The psychological stress coupled by the economic burden of costs involved in treatment, disabilities and burial of lost lives is more than one can take, considering that less than 16% of Ugandan population have health insurance.
Interestingly, we know what we need to do to reduce all these happenings…Uganda has a national road safety policy and a very interesting road map with a clear framework focusing at the following root-cause of RTAs:
- Scope of the problem: current situation, trends and perspective of traffic crashes with pedestrians and cyclists involved. Focus: Urban areas, cities, villages.
- Strategies to give priority to safety and mobility of pedestrians and cyclists in balance with other traffic modes (public transport, cars, heavy vehicles, motorized two wheelers, etc.)
- Coherence between land use, urban planning and transport infrastructure planning strategies and other fields of interest (health and environmental issues)
- Role of the insurance companies in reforming the road system and forming the culture of behavior of the road users. Vehicle insurance and pedestrian and cyclist safety on the roads. How to enhance the effect? (Given the fact that the insurers were one of the main driving forces behind the reform of the national road safety system.
The Ministry of works in Uganda knows very well (according to their reports) that most of the causes of accidents against pedestrians are due to careless driving, lack of Zebra crossings, flyovers and lack of barricades on roads near towns, which usually prevent vehicles from ramming into people’s houses. .Without the safety signage and other safety products installed on the roads, pedestrians, passengers, road workers and motorists alike would all be in danger. Pedestrian safety is important in this day and age, especially while road construction is being carried out on so many of our roads. We keep our selves guessing why its hard for implementing bodies to note that road safety products and features like Safe hit surface mount channelisers, Delineators, Soft cones and Melba cones, Bases, Speed ramps, Guard rails, ABC terminals, Barrier guard 800, Wire rope safety fences can cheaply promote pedestrian safety in Uganda.
I wonder, whether our wearing of miniskirts during the UNRS week will create attention to the necessity to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists as one of the most vulnerable group of road users. Will it challenge researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to consider how their contributions could help to implement safer road transport system in urban and village areas? What do authorities need to be forced to bring about a sustainable transport system with priority and safety for vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists)? May be, some one should table a HADDON MATRIX bill in Parliament to ensure that all decision makers understand the ins and outs of Road Traffic Crashes?
Have a more productive #2nd United Nations Global Road Safety Week
Brian Kanaahe Mwebaze Bilal
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