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Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2013;20(2):197-202. doi: 10.1080/17457300.2013.800121.

Time to prioritise safe walking.

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Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, CH-1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland.


This study draws on information from two recently published documents on pedestrian safety and global status of road safety to draw attention to the need to prioritize safe walking in planning and policy at local, national and international levels. The study shows that each year, more than 270 000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world's roads. The study argues that this situation need not persist because proven pedestrian safety interventions exist but do not attract the merit they deserve in many locations. The study further shows that the key risk factors for pedestrian road traffic injury such as vehicle speed, alcohol use by drivers and pedestrians, lack of infrastructure facilities for pedestrians and inadequate visibility of pedestrians are fairly well documented. The study concludes that pedestrian collisions, like all road traffic crashes, should not be accepted as inevitable because they are, in fact, both predictable and preventable. While stressing that reduction or elimination of risks faced by pedestrians is an important and achievable policy goal, the study emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive, holistic approach that includes engineering, enforcement and education measures.

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