51% of road accident victims in city are pedestrians, says study

Majority of victims died while using roads owing to lack of proper footpaths; largest proportion of lives lost last year were of young men aged between 20 and 29

April 05, 2019 01:37 am | Updated 01:37 am IST - Mumbai

Drop in deaths:  Road accident deaths peaked at 611 in 2015, but fell to 475 last year.

Drop in deaths: Road accident deaths peaked at 611 in 2015, but fell to 475 last year.

Pedestrians accounted for over half the fatalities in road accidents on the city’s streets in 2018, a study by Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) in collaboration with the Mumbai Traffic Police has found.

The key findings of the study were discussed at a press interaction organised by BIGRS in Mumbai on Thursday afternoon. The study states at 51% of the victims who died in road accidents last year were pedestrians. The study further states that a majority of these victims used the roads to walk owing to lack of proper footpaths.

Kelly Larson, director, Bloomberg Philanthropies, said, “The number of road accident deaths peaked at 611 in 2015 and has dropped down to 475 in 2018. There is a decline in the road crash injuries from 4,029 in 2015 to 3,292 in 2018. Males and females accounted for 85% and 15% of the fatalities respectively, a pattern that has been consistent with the previous years. This information suggests not just about the presence of the number of males and females on the road, but also about their usage of the roads.”

The largest proportion that lost lives in road accidents in 2018 were of young men between the age of 20 and 29. Ms. Larson said that road fatalities have decreased by 22% since 2015 owing to sustained efforts by BIGRS and the Mumbai Traffic Police.

“We have taken efforts through this joint initiative to better the overall road safety in the city. We hope to witness an improved situation in the years to come,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar said.

The initiative included placing enhanced focus on policing through Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras for better monitoring of traffic and stricter enforcement of traffic rules. Over the last two years, the city police have been empowered to take action against traffic rule violations. High-tech measures like installation of speed cameras and the e-challan system have also provided a much-needed shot in the arm to the police’s efforts.

In the last five years, emphasis was laid on creating refuge islands for ease while crossing at junctions and tightening corner areas to ensure that cars reduce their speed while turning. Speaking at the press interaction, Sara Whitehead, vital strategies, USA, quoted Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. She said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” She emphasised the importance of tracking the number of accident-related deaths and injuries in order to conduct road safety related interventions.

Brett Harman, senior road policing adviser, Global Road Safety, said that there is no silver bullet solution to the road safety related issues and a combination of solutions right from collecting data to running media campaigns have to be explored. Dhaval Ashar, manager, Intergrated Transport, World Resources Institute, India, said, “While designing and redesigning the existing streets factors that need to be considered include the continuity of footpath, the width of the footpath, and conducive conditions for the pedestrians to walk on the footpath.”

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