A Cautionary Tale for Blind Flaneurs

An accident in Jilotepec, Mexico. Traffic injuries are the ninth leading cause of death worldwide. [Photo by ]Juan Garcia/AFP/Getty Images/NYT]
An accident in Jilotepec, Mexico. Traffic injuries are the ninth leading cause of death worldwide. [Photo by ]Juan Garcia/AFP/Getty Images/NYT]

A new report issued by the World Health Organization confirms what every blind flaneur knows. It’s a dangerous rat race out there, and our navigation skills and foot rage will never compensate for the arrogance and negligence of people in their machines.

According to Sarah Arnquist in the NYT:

A vast majority of the world’s countries — 85 percent — lack adequate laws to address the growing problem of traffic deaths and injuries, according to the World Health Organization’s first global report on road safety, released Monday.

Traffic injuries are the ninth leading cause of death worldwide, and public health experts say that without intervention they will rise to fifth within 20 years, surpassing AIDS and tuberculosis.

“In many countries, the laws needed to protect people are either not there or are too limited in scope,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the health organization’s director general, as she announced the findings on Monday in New York. “Even when the legislation is adequate, the problem we have is enforcement.”

The report was financed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg helped announce the findings.

The 287-page report is based on data from a 2008 survey of 178 countries, representing 98 percent of the world’s population. It builds on a 2004 report that estimated that 1.27 million people die and that 20 million to 50 million were injured annually in traffic accidents.

Among the new findings: pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle riders make up almost half of the deaths. Read more

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