World Pedestrian Day
World Pedestrian Day was created after Bridget Driscoll was run over and killed by a car in London on August 17, 1897. The World Health Organization proposed this day to commemorate World Pedestrian Day.
World Pedestrian Day was born out of the accident of Bridget Driscoll who was run over by a car in London on August 17, 1897. The World Health Organization proposed this day to commemorate World Pedestrian Day.
We at P(A)T believe it is intolerable that anyone should lose their life or be seriously injured while walking. We must remember on the one hand that walking is a universal right and on the other hand that behind every number there is a truncated life and a shattered family.
We know that speed kills, especially the most vulnerable users such as pedestrians and therefore we applaud the reduction of speed in urban areas, which will undoubtedly help to reduce accidents and improve coexistence between different road users.
The higher the speed, the greater the distance traveled before the brakes are activated (reaction distance = reaction time x speed), increasing the speed of impact and therefore the severity of injuries. Braking distance itself also increases rapidly with speed. Extensive research shows that the higher the impact speed, the greater the likelihood that pedestrians and other vulnerable road users will be killed or seriously injured.
The new mobility resulting from the pandemic has highlighted the need for more pedestrian space. In addition, there is an international movement for streets for life, where people live, walk, socialize and work. In other words, where the pedestrian has more and more prominence and reclaims his space currently parasitized by the car.
In fact, if we think about it, most streets are designed for cars: with wide streets, space for parking, traffic lights that force us to stop or walk faster depending on the needs of motor vehicles. Just think of the elderly or people with reduced mobility who often feel their physical integrity threatened when they have to cross certain streets.
Let us remember that we are all pedestrians and that the most natural way to get around is on foot. That is why we must guarantee a safe, accessible and attractive walking network to encourage active mobility that also improves our health.
For all these reasons and prioritizing pedestrian protection, P(A)T proposes:
– widen the pedestrian’s space in which they feels safe and protected where, for example, if he/she changes direction or stops suddenly to talk to someone or look at a shop window, he/she does not feel threatened by a vehicle.
– reduce speeds to 30km/h or less as we pushed for during the recent UN Road Safety Week. We applaud the 30 streets and ask citizens to respect the speed limit. Contrary to what some people think, the goal of this measure is to save lives, not to issue fines.
– We would like to see raised crosswalks at the same level as the sidewalk, which would facilitate accessibility for people with reduced mobility and force vehicles to reduce their speed.
– with regard to personal mobility vehicles, we must bear in mind that, as their nomenclature states, they are vehicles (just like bicycles) and therefore have to circulate in bicycle lanes and in the case of streets where pedestrians coexist, the rest of the vehicles must always respect the pedestrian and adapt their speed to the pedestrian’s speed.
– with climate change and extreme temperatures – for example, the heat wave we have suffered – the need for more trees to provide shade is evident in order to be able to walk more protected and regulate the temperature of the city.
– work to improve the feeling of personal safety, for example by helping to reduce crime by improving lighting, as has been done recently in some neighborhoods of Barcelona.
We also call on city councils to sign the International Charter for Walking – promoted in Catalonia by the association Cataluña Camina – and to comply with its recommendations by taking action to protect pedestrians, who, let us remember, are all of us.
Let’s not forget that as a direct result of our inactivity we are suffering from high levels of obesity, depression, cardiovascular diseases, anxiety, etc. On the other hand, walking is healthy and brings us well-being. In fact, it is the typical prescription recommended by the doctor to improve our cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health: “walk at least 30 minutes a day”!