In Kyrgyzstan, more than 1,000 people die on the road each year, which is on average 2-3 deaths a day. Following a sad spate of fatal road traffic collisions in Bishkek over recent months, EASST partner, Road Safety Kyrgyzstan pulled out all the stops during the Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week in May to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding amongst state institutions and the public in order to change this desperate situation.
They held events including a roundtable discussion on the topic of speed and management at the Association of Driving Schools in Bishkek, which included participants from three main governmental structures, driving schools and many journalists. Following this event they organised a street event with the Driving School Association and student of the University of Agriculture, distributing booklets, stickers and #slowdown posters to local drivers.
In partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) office in Kyrgyzstan, Road Safety held a press conference at the Akipress News Agency to publicise the WHO’s recommendation to the government to reduce speed limits in respective areas from 40km/h to 30km/h and from 60km/h to 50km/h.
In support of this initiative, Road Safety Kyrgyzstan visited the offices of the City Traffic Police, where they encountered drivers who had been caught speeding or otherwise abusing road traffic laws. Representatives talked to each driver, explaining to them the risks and consequences of dangerous road driving behaviour and encouraged them to sign up to the #slowdown pledge. Speed enforcement patrols were also carried out by the City Traffic Police throughout the week in Bishkek and the nearby Chuy Oblast, where drivers caught speeding were stopped and told about the dangers and risks of speeding.
Promoting road safety among children and young people was also a major goal of the week. Sadly, in the last four months there has been a spike in road traffic collisions in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, 132 of which involving children. As such Road Safety Kyrgyzstan organised a series of activities for children and young people to strengthen their knowledge and understanding around road safety. Exercises, competitions and games were held with Wushu Group from the Seytek Children’s Center, where children engaged energetically with practises in safe road crossing and slowing down.
A particular highlight of the week was the announcement of pop star Aiym Aiylchieva as Road Safety Kyrgyzstan’s new Ambassador, through which she will help promote Road Safety amongst young people. On the announcement Aiym said,
“I support the PA “Road safety” in holding these events dedicated to the Road safety. My father himself works at the Traffic Police too. So, I wanted to support him too. I hope that I will be able to call the youth to follow the Road Safety rules and will remind them about it where it possible”.