By Theodore Opara
The Corps   Marshal,Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi has disclosed  that 38% of all Africa’s road traffic deaths involve pedestrians. He  disclosed this  during a presentation on Non-Motorized Transportation(NMT) at the general assembly of  West African Road Safety Organization (WARSO) in Dakar, Senegal. He also disclosed that half of the world’s road traffic deaths involve motorcyclists,  pedestrians (22%), cyclists (5%) while  31% of deaths involve car accidents. The remaining 19%  of deaths involve unspecified road users.

 road accidents

Oyeyemi further noted that “ In 84% of the roads in low-income and middle-income countries, the speed limit is  40 km/h and above with no footpaths and even where  footpaths exist, there is  concern of encroachment, truncation, abuse by motorists and lack of protective features”. He also revealed that pedestrians have a 90% chance of surviving car crashes at 30 km/h or below, but less than  50% chance of surviving impact at 45 km/h or above adding that pedestrians risk about 80% chance of being killed at a collision speed of 50 kilometres/hour , as opposed to a 10% risk at 30 km/h.Using the Nigerian example, Oyeyemi explained that at a particular point in history, bicycles in Nigeria  were a dream come true for the lower income earners  and  appreciated even by the “well to do” , but the oil windfall of 1973 brought  prosperity, especially for the working class and opened up the transportation space.“As more cars came in, bicycles began to disappear from  streets, cars became  symbols of  affluence and freedom.

As communities changed economically with provision of infrastructure, there was no corresponding change in NMT infrastructure, promotion, law, policies and usage by the upper class,”he stated. Oyeyemi emphasized that road traffic crashes (RTC) costs Nigeria about N3billion annually.

The FRSC boss also pointed out that traffic congestion amounts to about 3% of GDP of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries to which Nigeria belongs. To this end, he said the Corps has  designed initiatives to promote NMT in Nigeria and  Africa generally. These include a national stakeholders committee on bicycle transportation, the first ever national cycling policy and strategy in Nigeria and at present  working on the pedestrian manual.

The Corps understudied 6 cities in 5 different countries with a view to domesticating best practices, established a non-motorised transportation unit to enhance initiatives and to institutionalize them, hosted annual national bicycle week and   won the 2013 Best Cycling Campaign award globally among 28 other participating countries.Furthermore,FRSC hosted the United Nations  World Bicycle Day (3rd June) on 4th and 5th June this year featuring cycling rallies in over 200 cities, trained officers of the Corps in Netherlands and locally through the Netherlands Fellowship, promoted  cycling competitions among students to enhance awareness, mobilised the mass media to propagate cycling among others.In his conclusion, he stated that while infrastructure for  pedestrians  are provided in our urban centres, cyclists have not that been lucky. He defined NMT as all modes of transportation not powered by  electrical or mechanical motors but  physically.

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