Efforts Aim to Make Roads Safer for Pedestrians


ENTEBBE, UGANDA — It’s not uncommon for pedestrians to get knocked down by vehicles or bikes in Uganda. It has transpired to Cissy Ojara three instances.

“Once by a motor vehicle and twice by a motorcycle taxi,” says the mother of one particular from Namugongo, a few kilometers outside the house Kampala, the capital.

An allegedly unlicensed and intoxicated driver on Entebbe Road left Birungi Margaret without the need of a knee and led to the complete collapse of her enterprises, which have been the moment thriving. “I really don’t recall how it occurred, but I remember waking up in so much suffering in the healthcare facility, my legs ended up supported by metallic and hanging previously mentioned my bed,” she says.

They echo the tales of numerous Ugandan pedestrians, who are far more susceptible to website traffic collisions than any other highway users in the country. Highway security advocates say that speed, unsafe roadways and a lack of governing administration motion gas a devastating amount of pedestrian deaths.

Even though some like Birungi and Ojara endure with injuries, pedestrians account for the greatest variety of roadway fatalities. The Kampala Capital Town Authority reports that 38% of the full selection of visitors-connected fatalities the metropolis recorded in 2019 concerned pedestrians, adopted intently by motorcyclists at about 27%. Nationwide, pedestrians also accounted for the most roadway fatalities in 2020, in contrast to motorcyclists, passengers, motorists and bicyclists.

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Graphics by Matt Haney, GPJ

In a March 2022 press launch, Highway Security Advocacy Coalition Uganda, a network of civil society companies pushing for street security in the country, faulted the transportation ministry for failing to develop and enact new speed rules, even though the framework by now exists. Rather, the state relies on the out-of-date 2004 Targeted traffic and Road Security Act, which regulates pace centered on the type of highway or the standing of enhancement in the location, and not the number of pedestrians applying the road.

The corporations get in touch with on Uganda’s transport ministry to replicate intercontinental requirements by establishing a 30 kph (about 19 mph) pace limit in populated locations, such as all around educational institutions, churches and hospitals.

Although most of the world has adopted the proposed speed restrict, Uganda lags, states Godfrey Mwesigye, interim chairperson at the advocacy coalition. “There is nevertheless a large gap we need to bridge.”

The transfer could cut down injuries and fatalities by about 75%, in accordance to the coalition. The existing velocity restrict in Uganda’s populated spots is 50 kph (about 30 mph).

It was in 1 of these 50 kph stretches where by Robert Ariongo died in 2019. During the last hrs of his existence, the 32-calendar year-outdated could not stop chatting about his future wedding ceremony, recollects his pal and colleague, Eliakim Mationdo. It was soon after faculty, and the two teachers ended up helping learners cross the busy Entebbe Highway, along which the college is positioned. They managed to get the schoolchildren securely to a person side of the road. Then they began again.

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Traffic moves alongside Jinja Road in Kampala. The zebra crossings for this intersection have light, additional exacerbating the dangers pedestrians encounter when they check out to cross the road.

“The crash occurred so quickly,” Mationdo suggests. The speeding truck didn’t even slow down, he recalls, despite the adult men strolling in a obvious zebra crossing and a close by indication saying the velocity restrict. “I obtained trapped under the truck and Robert acquired operate more than.”

Sam Bambanza, executive director of Hope for Victims of Site visitors Accidents, a Uganda nonprofit that promotes road safety, hopes that decreased pace restrictions in parts with a lot of pedestrians will minimize the range of accidents and fatalities. “Lesser crashes will occur if motorists oblige,” he states, introducing that an enhance in registered motor automobiles tends to make the make a difference even additional urgent.

But inadequate street infrastructure in the place, which does not cater to the wants of pedestrians, also is a aspect, claims Bonny Enock Balugaba, venture officer at the Highway and Targeted visitors Damage Investigation Network at Kampala’s Makerere University. “They have to compete for room with motorized targeted traffic.”

New street building recommendations are wanted, he states, that include harmless areas for pedestrians.

The Ugandan govt designs to strengthen street infrastructure for pedestrians and perform toward decreased speed limits in significant-hazard areas, claims Katunguka James, senior street basic safety officer at the Ministry of Performs and Transport. “We are reviewing all the present rules to make them detailed and adhere to greatest tactics,” he states.

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The governing administration has manufactured some strides. In 2020, with funding from the United Nations, it redesigned Namirembe Highway and Luwum Street in downtown Kampala — a active small business spot — to put in the country’s initial pedestrian-pleasant route with shielded sidewalks as nicely as bicycle lanes, according to a assertion by the Kampala Capital City Authority. The new 2-kilometer (about 1.2-mile) corridor has removed website traffic injuries and fatalities alongside the route, in accordance to the assertion, as properly as boosted economic growth in the place and made it much easier for individuals to get all around.

In an Oct 2021 press launch, the area Kampala authorities reported it has designs to set up a more 134 kilometers (about 83 miles) of very similar non-motorized targeted traffic routes, together with sidewalks and bike lanes, as aspect of the $288 million Kampala Metropolis Roadways Rehabilitation Project supported by the African Improvement Bank.

But government improvements can only do so a lot, Katunguka suggests, due to the fact some street consumers continue to disregard traffic rules even though other individuals vandalize signals.

Kawuma Regan, a truck driver, agrees that street end users are partly to blame. He claims pedestrians are usually reckless and impatient. “They cross in the center of the road and frequently arrive from nowhere, and as soon as a driver realizes he is in the mistaken, he assesses the possibility,” he says, including that motorists also absence right coaching.

The governing administration is conscious quite a few drivers absence instruction, Katunguka says, so the transport ministry plans to digitize the training and licensing method. He hopes this weeds out corruption and makes sure incompetent motorists don’t pay out off licensing officers. “We can not say when it will consider impact, but it’s already proven,” he claims.

But that does little for injured pedestrians or the people of these killed in roadway incidents. “I however have burial money owed,” says Awino Eunice, spouse of the late Ariongo, who has experienced to consider on a task as a matron in an Entebbe school.

The accident together Entebbe Street has also upended Mationdo’s everyday living. “I simply cannot stand or walk for about 10 minutes without the need of sensation discomfort,” he suggests. “This is affecting my instructing work, but I can’t afford time off because of the personal debt I obtained in medical center expenses.”

Birungi, who used to be extremely social, suggests she spends her times indoors due to the fact of pain from her accidents.


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