Safer roads in PH a must, says active transport advocates

Transport advocacy group Move As One Coalition and the Department of Health (DOH) have emphasized the importance of having safer roads work in tandem with active transport on the occasion of Road Safety Month.

(Photo by Şahin Sezer Dinçer / Unsplash)

Citing how the current health crisis has changed how Filipinos move around, Move As One Coalition's Robert Siy has called for a safer road system to protect the safety of the "vulnerable" road users such as bikers, cyclists, pedestrians, and commuters.

"When we protect the most vulnerable road users, other road users are protected as well. Road safety is a shared responsibility that lies with those who design, build, and manage roads, and those who drive the vehicles," Siy, an urban planner and transport expert, said.

For the part of the DOH, its Promotion Bureau and Disease Prevention and Control Bureau Director Beverly Ho discussed the benefits of active transport to an individual's health.

"The benefits of promoting and effectively implementing active transport in our cities and communities contribute to our shared goal of ensuring better health for the Filipino people," Ho said.

"However, mainstreaming active transport will require us to make roads safer - for pedestrians, commuters, and cyclists - who constitute the majority of road users," she added.

During a recent virtual briefing, Siy and Ho led the launching of this year's theme for the observance of Road Safety Month. The theme is, "Safety First on the Road para sa Healthy Pilipinas (for a healthy Phiippines)!"

To guide local government units (LGUs) in building healthy and active transport environments, especially in this time of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the DOH and Move as One Coalition encouraged them to adopt the "Local Health System Health Promotion Playbook: Active Transport."

Launched in December 2020, the playbook provides LGUs with ready references from evidence briefs and template ordinances, to tools for monitoring and evaluation that will help them in implementing active transport programs.

Presidential Proclamation No. 115-A declares the month of May as Road Safety Month. It is aimed at promoting road safety and raising awareness on traffic rules to reduce casualties due to road accidents.

Based on 2020 figures from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), there were a total of 65,032 road accidents that year, with a reported 337 fatalities.