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Rwanda National Police

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Public perspective on Gerayo Amahoro road safety campaign

A fortnight ago, Rwanda National Police (RNP) rolled out a mass 'Gerayo Amahoro' road safety campaign  to farther the national efforts against road carnage.

Gerayo Amahoro loosely translated as "arrive safely" was relaunched in December last year after it was suspended in the 39th week in 2019, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign seeks to drive change, address human behaviors that are largely attributed to road crashes in order to make road safety a choice and ultimately a culture.

Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death to children and young people aged between 5 and 29 years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Despite the reduction in road accidents in Rwanda, more than 650 fatalities were registered on Rwandan roads, last year, and more than 4000 others were left nursing injuries.

Over the past two weeks, the vigorous campaign has been extended to primary and secondary schools, higher institutions of learning; religions, community gatherings commonly known as 'Inteko z'abaturage', motorists and pedestrians, among others.

It focuses on educating the difference categories of road users on traffic rules and regulations.

Particularly, it educated motorists to respect right of way, speed limits, pedestrian rights, avoiding using a phone when driving and other distractions when on the road.

It also introduces road safety practices to students and pedestrians such as use of zebra crossing, sidewalks and traffic lights; not playing on the road, standing or playing in the vehicle; putting the head or arm out of the car window, using a phone when crossing the road, among many others.

These risky practices fall under three major causes of road accidents, namely; human behaviors, mechanic and road conditions.

Teachers, grassroots leaders, religious leaders and community members have welcomed the campaign and expressed optimism on its impact.

“Many road users have limited knowledge of road rules and regulations, especially pedestrians. As a result, they use the road carelessly and as we all know, the results are fatal," said Innocent Tega, the village chief of Gikundiro village, Nyakabanda cell of Niboye Sector in Kicukiro District.

Pedestrians are among the majority victims of road accidents, according to statistics by the RNP Traffic and Road Safety department.

"Some pedestrians are knocked by vehicles because they don't know which safer side of the road to use. Personally, I didn't know that pedestrians walk on the left side of the road and many others do not know when to cross at traffic lights. This is a good opportunity to learn and follow these traffic rules for our own safety on the road," he added.

Like Tega, Bosco Ntaganira, a resident of Niboye suggested that Gerayo Amahoro should be integrated in their Tuesday community meetings in order to make it a culture.

“From what I have learnt, currently, obeying traffic rules and regulations is by law. It should be everyone's choice to be safe because my safety should be my priority.

We can play our part in promoting behaviors that make us and our children to make right choices on the road," said Ntaganira.

Philomena Kabalisa, a mother, shared her everyday worries on the safety of her children, who uses the road everyday going to school and coming back.

Kabalisa said: "In our community meeting, the Police reiterated the importance of making safe choices on the road, which is for everyone to arrive safely to their respective destinations. Who wouldn't wish that?

As a parent, I am always worried when my children leave home going to school, wondering what might happen when they are transported by reckless or distracted drivers, or when they use the road carelessly. Safe roads would be a gift for all of us; no one wishes for a short life."

She added: "We want our children to grow healthy and safe, we want them to leave their homes and come back safe and sound.

As a parent and a road user, Gerayo Amahoro is the path to making our roads safe, and it is our duty to play our role in this campaign to make it a success."

According to Kabalisa, parents have a big role in this campaign to sensitize their children how to behave when using the road.

Jean Claude Habineza, a resident of Rusororo in Gasabo District, shared his ordeal as a victim of road accident.

"Back in 2018, I was knocked by a drunk driver and I am lucky to be still alive. Life is fragile, we should keep that in mind whenever using the road," said Habineza.

For Apophia Niyonshuti, punishment for violating traffic rules and regulations, for putting people's lives on the edge, should also be increased and reinforced.