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Road safety alliance: COVID-19 has ‘changed how we see our streets’

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the need for strong public health systems and approaches, says the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety.

With more than 200 members, the organisation plays a leading role in championing road safety issues across the world, and was set up to address a growing demand for an effective forum representing the rights of victims of road accidents – many of whom are children.

In a statement aimed at addressing what are unprecedented times for similar rights-based organisations the world over, it says it ‘stands in unity with our citizens and our governments agains the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic’. It continues:

‘Now is not the time for competing agendas’

“We grieve with those who have lost loved ones, we uphold the value of every life, and we support the World Health Organization (WHO) and our governments’ efforts to contain the virus and to protect our citizens.

Now is not the time for competing agendas. While safe roads and road users remains a critical issue and road safety is as relevant now as before the pandemic, we respect that COVID-19 is the priority right now. We cannot pretend that these are easy times for NGOs: loss of funding and cancelled and delayed projects will have a long-term effect.

“COVID-19 is changing the way that we see our societies and our streets. It demonstrates that decisive, preventative action saves lives and that strong public health systems and approaches are essential. Lockdowns around the world shows  why streets must be designed for people — not just vehicles — and that lower pollution and healthier, more active modes of transport are achievable goals. These lessons align closely to the mission of road safety and road victim NGOs. Society — government and civil society together — has an opportunity to reshape the way we use our streets.

‘We call on governments and citizens to act responsibly’

“NGOs are ready to play their part and we call on climate change activists, urban planners, sustainable mobility experts, and public health campaigners to work with us, the road safety and mobility community, for the common goal: safe, sustainable communities that put people first and save lives.

“We call on governments and citizens to act responsibly, putting citizens’ safety and security first. Follow WHO guidelines and your government’s advice, and if you cannot stay at home, act responsibly and safely in traffic: our emergency systems do not have capacity at the current time for preventable road crashes.”

Click here for more about the organisation’s work.

Author: Simon Weedy

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