Russia shows its support for Global Road Safety Week

07 May 2013

The President of the NGO Road Safety Russia, Natalia Agre, spoke at the International Road Safety Forum held on 7 May in St Petersburg. The event, which was timed to coincide with the Second UN Global Road Safety Week, was dedicated to pedestrian safety and measures to reduce the number of road traffic accidents involving pedestrians. It was organised by the Commission for Global Road Safety in partnership with Road Safety Russia.

Addressing the forum, Ms Agre began by pointing out that Road Safety Russia's main aim, together with the State Automobile Inspectorate of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, is to create an effective road safety culture among all road users in Russia. Pedestrian safety is one of the areas that the organisation focuses on. Indeed, statistics show that pedestrians account for almost 30% of all road traffic deaths; lacking the protection afforded by a vehicle, they are the most vulnerable group of road users.

Ms Agre went on to say that such a high fatality rate could be prevented if the problem were approached not only in terms of infrastructure improvements (for example, increasing the number of pedestrian crossing and innovative warning systems), but also through public awareness campaigns. Also, any changes to infrastructure should be properly thought out and weighed up, because what pedestrians require most of all is for all road users to behave sensibly.

Road Safety Russia began promoting responsible behaviour among pedestrians in 2010: using reflective elements when it is dark outside, always using a pedestrian crossing, and only crossing when the signal indicates that it is safe to do so. These were the messages promoted by the “Get Glowing” and “Walk of Life” campaigns, initiated by the State Automobile Inspectorate and implemented by the Russian Association of Motor Insurers and Road Safety Russia.

These campaigns helped to change pedestrian behaviour, and Russian manufacturers began to include reflective elements in children's outdoor clothing. Very importantly, pedestrians began to observe traffic regulations more often. This last point is borne out by statistics from the State Automobile Inspectorate: pedestrian deaths in 2012 resulting from a failure to observe traffic regulations were down almost 9% on 2011, and there is every reason to expect this trend to continue in 2013.

However, the president of Road Safety Russia went on to stress that despite these efforts, road traffic injury rates, including among pedestrians, are still much higher in Russia than in many European countries. Therefore, the latest challenge is to ensure that drivers observe the rules on pedestrian crossings.

Ms Agre concluded by saying that next on the agenda for Road Safety Russia was driver education and continued work with pedestrians. The International Road Safety Forum was the first step in this direction. To highlight global solidarity on the issue of pedestrian safety, Ms Agre asked everyone present to join forces in the fight for road safety worldwide and to show their support by taking part in Road Safety Russia's “Walk of Life” Sign event: a photo shoot against the background of a pedestrian crossing sign. This initiative was warmly welcomed by all of the forum participants.  



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