Ecuador’s Coalition for Safe Mobility Makes Progress for Safer Roads Amid Political Instability
In Ecuador one person dies in a car crash every four hours, and the most vulnerable are pedestrians and cyclists. According to the National Transit Agency, a total of 9,986 crashes took 1,156 lives and left 8,904 people injured during the first half of 2023.
Political and social instability complicate any response to this public health crisis: violence and homicide rates are rising, the National Assembly was dissolved in May 2023 with call for early elections, and the president faced impeachment proceedings. Despite this instability, the “Coalición por la Movilidad Segura Ecuador” (the Coalition for Safe Mobility Ecuador), with the support of the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) and the Global Road Safety Partnership, continue to advocate for safer road policies in the country. The Coalition aims to make road safety a priority issue for the outgoing and incoming government, as well as with recently elected municipal authorities. Founded in November 2022 by five Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the Coalition now has the support of more than 50 CSOs nationwide dedicated to advancing road safety policies. Since its inception, the Coalition has focused on advocating for safe and sustainable mobility, which puts vulnerable road users at the center. While taking a holistic approach to road safety, the Coalition focuses primarily on advocating for the regulations associated with the 2021 Transit Law – which the government has not yet finalized – on improving the penal code for traffic violations and advocating for municipalities to adopt a model ordinance containing best practices in road safety.
To date, the Coalition has generated political will and achieved major milestones. These include:
- In November 2022, the Coalition of Safe Mobility Ecuador delivered its technical recommendations based on data-oriented research to various governmental authorities regarding road safety and risk factors and be included in the rules and regulations of the 2021 Transit Law.
- After local elections in February 2023, advocates delivered a manifesto with recommendations to be included in their territorial and management plans to elected mayors and encouraged them to become road safety champions themselves.
Delivery of the Manifesto to the Riobamba city mayor on April 23, 2023.
- In March 2023, local advocates launched the campaign “There are no accidents, they are casualties and are preventable”, which includes video testimonials to demonstrate the impact of road crashes on families and how to reduce the number of these incidences.
- In May 2023, the Coalition launched the campaign “Reduce speed limits” during World Road Safety Week. Coalition members stood in school and hospital zones with signage to ensure a 20KM/h speed limit was followed.
The Coalition’s representatives Sofia Gordon and Sarahi Machado, among others, have remained active spokespeople for key road safety observances during the year. With the help of its supporters the Coalition will now plan to develop a media advocacy campaign to create awareness among the voters ahead of the expected runoff vote for president in October. They will focus on identifying road safety champions within the newly elected legislature and administration. In the midst of the violence and uncertainty that the country is currently experiencing, the CSOs remain strong, vigilant and opportunistic in their quest to make Ecuador’s roads safer for all.
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