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The United Nations Calls for Reduced Speeds on Shared Streets

Finding ways for cyclists and motorized traffic to share roads safely is a major focus of the 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week which starts today.

Streets for Life #Love30 is the theme of this year’s Global Road Safety Week, which is campaigning for 20 mph (30 km/h) speed limits on urban streets where people walk, live, and play, and where cyclists and pedestrians mix with traffic. There is global consensus that maximum 20 mph zones protect all who use the roads, prevent road traffic deaths and injuries and help achieve many of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. 

From May 17 to 23, UN Global Road Safety Week – a biennial global road safety campaign hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – will bring together individuals, governments, NGOs, corporations, and other organizations from around the world to raise awareness of road safety and implement actions that will reduce the number of global road deaths. 

In August 2020, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2021-2030 the Decade of Action for Road Safety, with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. A new Plan of Action for the Decade, which will align with the Stockholm Declaration and emphasise the importance of a holistic approach to road safety, will also be released this week. The Plan of Action will also reflect the Stockholm Declaration’s encouragement of policies to promote cycling, walking, and public transport as inherently healthy and environmentally sound modes of transport.

How can we make cycling safer?

While cycling is an inherently safe and healthy activity, there is an urgent need to maximize cyclists’ safety so they can experience the benefits of this active mode of travel. According to the WHO, 41,000 cyclists die every year, while millions more are injured, in road traffic-related crashes worldwide. A concerted global effort is required to reduce these figures. Governments can play a significant role by creating segregated bike lanes with well-designed, safe intersections, lowering speed limits, promoting legislation on safe passing distances and focusing on behavioural measures promoting a culture of respect between road users. 

To help decision-makers, the WHO recently released a practical guide on Cyclist Safety, which contains current data on accidents, outlines risk factors and recommends cyclist safety measures that can be implemented in  various settings worldwide. 

UCI and the FIA #3500LIVES campaign 

Road safety being a key priority for all cycling stakeholders, the UCI recently partnered with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), as part of their #3500LIVES global road safety campaign. 

On April 16,  a new visual and video were launched by the FIA, bringing together FIA Formula 1 Racing Driver Mick Schumacher and 2020 UCI Road World Champion Julian Alaphilippe, to raise awareness of the need for all road users to share the road.

Every day, more than 3,500 people are killed on the world’s roads, including 500 children. By calling to ‘Share the Road’, Mick Schumacher and Julian Alaphilippe invite all road users to adopt safe behaviors and obey the speed limits, slow down in reduced visibility conditions, signal their intentions in advance and keep a safe distance.

 

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