A series of events were held in Bishkek during the UN Global Road Safety Week, the worldwide campaigning event from 6-12 May 2013 highlighting pedestrian safety.
EASST’s Julie Utting joined Chinara Kasmambetova, Director of EASST-funded Road Safety NGO, for several of the week’s activities which included the holding of a Long Short Walk, meeting with Vice Prime Minister Sarpashev, and organization of a Road Safety Forum at the Russian-Kyrgyz University.
The week began with pupils taking part in a Long Short Walk through Bishkek. Organizations and members of the public across the globe took to the streets to take part in the ‘Long Short Walk’ to support Global Road Safety Week. The ‘Long Short Walk’ led by the Make Roads Safe campaign is a call for better protection of pedestrians in all countries and safe roads for all as an international development priority.
Meetings were held with Vice Prime Minister Taiyrbek Sarpashev, Dastan Bekeshev MP, and Traffic Police Head Talantbek Isayev to inform them of Global Road Safety Week – all of whom offered support to the initiative and praised the efforts of Road Safety NGO for raising awareness and acting on this important issue. Road deaths in Kyrgyzstan are particularly high. Every year more than 1,000 people are killed and more than 6000 are injured, causing great harm to public health. For the first 9 months of 2012 accidents have risen by 11.8% on the highways and streets throughout the country compared with the same period last year.
The Head of the Traffic Police (left) took part in multiple events during Global Road Safety Week in Kyrgyzstan. Vice Prime Minister Sarpashev (right) supports the campaign
Another key event of the week was a two hour Road Safety Forum held at the Kyrgyz Russian University attended by some 200 students. Students heard presentations from the Talantbek Isayev of the Traffic Police, Chinara Kasmambetova of Road Safety NGO and Julie Utting of EASST, and delivered presentations themselves on topics close to their own hearts. A particularly moving presentation was given by one student describing the death of a fellow student who had been hit whilst on a pedestrian crossing, later dying in hospital. Following the delivery of three road safety songs by students, organizers and key participants of the Forum were presented with certificates and gifts.
Julie Utting and Chinara Kasmambetova award students during the certificate ceremony (left). Pupils conduct a traffic sign quiz (right)
Chinara Kasmambetova and Julie Utting also attended the Victory Day parade in order distribute road safety materials including high visibility reflectors to members of the public and veterans, as well as meeting with opera singer Kerim Turapov, pop singer Kuralbek Chokoev and many others.
Raising awareness during Victory Day
An emotional visit took place to both the Children’s and Adult Trauma Centres to talk to road crash victims. All were pedestrians hit by cars on their way to school or work – highlighting Global Road Safety Week’s focus on the need to better protect pedestrians.
At the Adult Trauma Centre – this man will not be able to work for several months after being hit by a car. A nurse at the Child Trauma Centre welcomed the campaign
Talking to students at the Road Safety Forum about this key topic, EASST’s Julie Utting said: “The issue of pedestrian safety is particularly relevant to Kyrgyzstan as they are the primary victims of crashes accounting for about 35% of road deaths. Yet pedestrian collisions should not be accepted as inevitable. They are entirely preventable given that we know what the risks are to pedestrians and we know the solutions. Walking is an integral part of community and should be a safe mode of transport for all. The key message I would like you to remember is that the cost of your journey, whether to university, work or elsewhere, should not be your life.”
Following Global Road Safety Week, Road Safety NGO in Kyrgyzstan continues to work on projects to reduce the number of road deaths in support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-20.
Road Safety NGO, Kyrgyzstan
UN Decade of Action for Road Safety