Streets for life; make 30kph on roads – advocates

“Streets for life — shareable, walkable, and livable streets and to stay at 30kph” was the call of road safety advocates in the Philippines. 

The call was issued by around 35 civil society organizations, student councils, biking stakeholders led by the non-government law group ImagineLaw as the world mark the 6th United Nations (UN) Global Road Safety Week this year.

This year’s theme is “Streets for Life: #Love30”. 

According to the group, “every hour, a person dies on Philippine roads due to road crashes.” 

Every Filipino is a road user; hence, it could be any one of us—a person cycling on the way to work, a parent walking home from the market, or a courier delivering our latest online purchase,” it stressed.

“We all risk our lives every time we travel for as long as motor vehicles travel at high speeds on roads where people mix with traffic,” it added. 

Speeding makes roads unsafe because it increases both crash risk and crash severity. In other words, the faster a motor vehicle travels, the longer it takes to stop to avoid hitting a pedestrian or a cyclist or even another vehicle, and the more likely that a crash will result in severe injuries or death.

There are 12,487 Filipinos who died from road crashes in 2018. Half of the people who die on Philippine roads are vulnerable road users, who are at the greatest risk of being struck by speeding motor vehicles.

The group demanded that the Philippine government make urgent action by to keep all road users safe by limiting motor vehicle speeds to 30kph or less on roads where people walk, live, and play.

The World Health Organization shared that giving local authorities the power to reduce national speeds and to manage speed within their locality is important because national speed limits do not always correspond to the appropriate speed when the road environment changes.

In the Philippines, it is councilors from LGUs that know the actual road conditions best and are in the best position to classify their roads to set safe speed limits.

The group lamented, however, that “less than 2% of all LGUs have enacted speed limit ordinances that set safe speed limits, such as 30kph on city or municipal roads and 20kph on barangay roads and crowded streets.”

The group said that “without these interventions [speed limit ordinances and speed enforcement], the rising number of road deaths, particularly of vulnerable road users… will only continue to rise.”

Urgent government action is needed. Every hour of inaction by the government means another life lost on our roads.

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