The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is helping communities across Africa to make their streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, who, according to advocates, are crucial on a continent with the world’s deadliest roads.
In October, UNEP trained representatives of 24 non-profit organizations in 15 African countries on how to strive for wider pedestrian paths, protective cycle lanes and other infrastructure that protects vulnerable road users. The training was part of UNEP’s Share the Road program and was conducted in collaboration with the Global Alliance of Non-Governmental Organizations for Road Safety.
“Protecting pedestrians and cyclists is an important part of our city-wide strategy.”
Martin Eshiwani, Director of Roads and Transport, Nairobi Metropolitan Services
“It is critical that road safety campaigners work more closely with city planners and national governments to achieve common goals to ensure safer streets. This training has helped build bridges between different agendas and equipped NGOs to set their local and national agendas. ‘In ways that will help cities and rural communities across Africa to be safer, cleaner and healthier,’ said Rob de Jong, Head of the Sustainable Mobility Unit at UNEP.
Sub-Saharan Africa is said to have the highest per capita mortality rate than any other region in the world. Preventable road deaths will more than double to 514 000 by 2030. Much of this is related to neglecting the safety of pedestrians. Most countries in Africa do not yet have a policy for the protection of vulnerable road users and do not prioritize investment in infrastructure that separates pedestrians and cyclists from high-speed traffic.
In an effort to avoid busy buses and trains, there is a growing awareness of walking and cycling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research done by Share the Road.
Many African cities have made road safety an important plan in their development plans.