ABUJA (Sundiata Post) The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi stated that 38% of all African road traffic deaths occur among pedestrians.
He made this statement while making a presentation in Dakar, Senegal on Non-Motorized Transportation (NMT) during the General Assembly of the West African Road Safety Organization (WARSO)
According to him, half of the world’s road traffic deaths occur among Motorcyclists (23%), Pedestrians (22%), Cyclists (5%), 31% of deaths among Car occupants and the remaining 19% among unspecified road
According to the Corps Public Education Officer, FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, quoting the reasons the Corps Marshal gave for the rate of deaths recorded among pedestrians and cyclists, “84% of the roads in low-income and middle-income countries where pedestrians are present carry traffic at 40 km/h and above and have no footpaths, however, where the footpaths exist, there is the concern of encroachment, truncation, abuse/misuse by motorist and lack of protective features that totally segregate pedestrians and prevent its usage by other road
Other reasons he gave are that pedestrians have a 90% chance of surviving car crashes at 30 km/h or below, but less than a 50% chance of surviving impacts at 45 km/h or above. He also said that Pedestrians risk about 80% chance of being killed at a collision speed of 50 kilometres/hour (km/h), as opposed to a 10% risk at speeds of 30
According to Kazeem, the Corps Marshal also noted that at a particular point in history bicycle in Nigeria was a mobility of pride, a dream come through for the lower class and a celebrated mode even for the “well to do” in the society, but the oil windfall of 1973 brought about prosperity especially for the working class and opened up the transportation space.
He also said that as more cars came in, bicycles began to disappear from the streets. Cars became spotlighted as symbol of strength, affluence and freedom, car owners now see those cycling and walking as less privilege, in turn those walking and riding bicycles now look forward to when to graduate from their mode. As communities grew
economically with provision of infrastructure, there was no corresponding growth in NMT infrastructure, promotion, law, policies and usage by the upper class.
Buttressing this further, the Corps Marshal highlighted that Road Traffic Crashes (RTC) cause the Nigerian Economy about N3Billion annually, decrease air quality owing to exhaust fumes, increases urban noise pollution that causes exhaustion among other health implications, sustains increase in its carbon foot print, among many other effects.
Kazeem also quoted Oyeyemi saying that Traffic Congestions throw away about 3% of GDP of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries to which Nigeria belongs. He added that the Corps has put in result yielding initiatives in place to promote NMT in Nigeria and the African sub-region. The initiatives are; Established National Stakeholders Committee on Bicycle Transportation, Designed the first ever, National Cycling Policy and Strategy in Nigeria and Presently working on the pedestrian manual.
More so, the Corps understudied 6 cities in 5 different countries with a view to domesticating best practices, established a non-motorised transportation unit to galvanise initiatives and to institutionalize them, Hosted Annual National Bicycle Week and won the 2013 Best Cycling Campaign award globally among 28 other participating countries.
Others are: Hosting of the United Nations annual World Bicycle Day (3rd June) on 4th and 5th June this year with cycling rallies in over 200 cities, Training officers of the Corps in Netherlands and in Nigeria through the Netherlands Fellowship, Promoting school cycling and competitions among students to enhance awareness, Mobilisation of
the mass media to propagate cycling among others.
In his conclusion he stated that while there is a relative provision of infrastructure to cater for the need of pedestrians in our urban centres, the opposite is the case with cyclists Oyeyemi advised that bicycle lanes should be included on all urban roads in Nigerian cities, Trending down of urban motor vehicle speed to improve safety, Provision of bicycle parking facilities in every public premises and encourage their constituencies to ride bicycles.
Oyeyemi defined NMT as all modes of transportation that is not powered by any external source such as electrical or mechanical motors, instead powered by the physical energy of the user is referred to as
Non-Motorised Transportation (NMT). It is sometimes called human powered mobility