Cities Today - Connecting the world's urban leaders

WHO calls for action on pedestrian safety

The World Health Organisation today began its second global road safety week calling on governments to take action to protect the 270,000 pedestrians that lose their lives on the world’s roads each year.

Under the banner ‘Make Walking Safe’, the Second United Nations Global Road Safety Week, 6-12 May, will feature events in nearly 70 countries to draw attention to the needs of pedestrians and to generate action on measures to protect them and contribute to achieving the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 to save 5 million lives.

“The Second United Nations Global Road Safety Week offers an opportunity to highlight the myriad challenges that pedestrians face around the world each and every day,” said Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. “We are all pedestrians, and governments should put in place measures to better protect all of us. This will not only save lives, but create the conditions needed to make walking safe. When roads are safe, people will walk more, and this in turn will improve health and protect the environment.”

Events will take place around the world whereby cities are encouraged to register their activities through the WHO portal. The ‘Long Short Walks’, a global advocacy campaign organised by Make Roads Safe, the Zenani Mandela Campaign and promoted by WHO, is a cornerstone of many of these.

Walks will take place in cities as varied as Minsk, Shanghai, Vientiane in Laos, Mexico City, Washington DC and Kyiv in the Ukraine with many mayors participating.

Apart from awareness raising actions, high-level policy discussions will occur in Buenos Aires, Brussels, St Petersburg, and Abu Dhabi.

To support this, concrete action will take place on the ground including painting or repainting pedestrian crossings to improve road safety for pedestrians in Curridabat in Costa Rica, Cairo in Egypt, Accra in Ghana, and Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director of the Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability

“More than 5,000 pedestrians are killed on the world’s roads each week,” said Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director of the Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability. “This is because their needs have been neglected for decades, often in favour of motorised transport. We need to rethink the way we organise our transport systems to make walking safe and save pedestrian lives.”

Launched in May 2011 by governments across the world, the Decade of Action seeks to build road safety management capacity in countries; improve the safety of roads and vehicles; enhance the behaviour of all road users; and strengthen post-crash care.

Interested cities can register their events at: