Editor's note: This article first appeared on Sustainable Cities Collective and is reposted with permission.
More than 270,000 pedestrians are killed in run-ins with cars and other motor vehicles each year around the world. On Brazilian roads alone, over 10,000 pedestrian lives are lost each year. This staggeringly high number reaffirms the urgent need to think about the steps to be taken to save lives on Brazil’s roads. How do we begin to implement meaningful change?
The Ministry of Cities in Brasilia answered the call for change with a creative, and effective, initiative, during the Second Annual Global Road Safety Week, established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, and recognized the most vulnerable demographic of daily urban transit: pedestrians.
In a campaign entitled, “His Majesty, the Pedestrian,” volunteers wearing a crown, or dressed as royalty escorted pedestrians crossing busy intersections in Brasilia. The concept of the initiative was simple: “Respect for pedestrians must be at the caliber of royalty — after all, we are all pedestrians.” “Long live the pedestrian!” was their rallying cry.
Though the initiative was humorously theatrical in delivery, its underlying purpose was serious, and the action did not go unnoticed by drivers; it generated overwhelmingly positive reception from road users and bystanders.
It makes one wonder — what if pedestrians were treated like royalty the entire year?
Video (warning, it's in Portugese)