Road accidents are the biggest cause of mortality among young people aged 15 to 29. As the United Nations (UN) kicks off its fourth edition of Global Road Safety Week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympians are helping to spread the word on the need to #SlowDown for safer roads and to save lives.
“Every day the health and lives of thousands of children are put at risk through traffic accidents around the world,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “This human tragedy comes at a huge cost for society. To make the world healthier and safer for all, road safety needs to be a priority. The world of sport can make a difference in raising awareness about the importance of road safety. By working together with our partners, I know that we can do our part to educate the public and make the roads safer for our children.”
To make the world healthier and safer for all, road safety needs to be a priority. The world of sport can make a difference in raising awareness about the importance of road safety.Thomas Bach IOC President
Everyone should have the opportunity to practise sport and enjoy physical and recreational activities in a safe and healthy environment. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road accidents are set to become the seventh global cause of death by 2030. The need to raise awareness about road safety and speed management has never been greater.
“We know that speed is one of the main risk factors for road traffic fatality,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt, who also serves as the President of the Federation International de l’Automobile (FIA). “The result is devastation for the families and loved ones involved. So always respect the speed limit and slow down.”
Encouraging people to pledge to #SlowDown, UN Global Road Safety Week, which is taking place from 8 to 14 May 2017, aims to increase understanding of the dangers of speed, and identify what can be done to address this key risk factor for road traffic deaths and injuries.
Visit www.unroadsafetyweek.org to learn more.
Sprinters limit their speed for safety
Jamaican Olympic champion Yohan Blake, an Ambassador for the FIA’s “3,500 Lives” campaign, which launched in March, is also backing this initiative. The sprinter will participate alongside fellow runners in a road safety event to be held in Jamaica with local authorities, UNICEF, the FIA and the FIA Foundation on 10 May 2017.
Speaking of his support for road safety, Blake said: “Too many lives have been lost because of speeding. If you are going somewhere and you are late, you are already late. Drive within the speed limit and remember that speeding kills”.
South African track and field Olympic sprinter Wayde Van Niekerk and Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal are also among the Olympians who are taking a stand on road safety as part of the IOC-supported FIA “3,500 Lives” campaign.
Support beyond UN Global Road Safety Week
The IOC efforts go beyond UN Global Road Safety Week. Earlier this year, the IOC signed an agreement with the IOC-recognised FIA committing itself to help promote road safety campaigns across the Olympic Movement network and ahead of sporting events. The IOC President, Thomas Bach, is a member of the FIA High Level Panel for road safety, which brings together global leaders to promote innovative solutions to meet the road safety health and development challenge.
At past Youth Olympic Games, the IOC has, through the Culture and Education Programme, raised awareness about this important issue among its young athletes, who feature in the most vulnerable age group, and will continue to raise awareness at future editions.