KINGSTON, Jamaica — The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) has partnered with the UK-based FIA Foundation to tackle the issue of motorcycle crashes on Jamaican roads through a helmet safety project.
Motorcycle accidents represent the largest fatality group on Jamaican roads. So far this year, motorcyclists account for 27 per cent of the road users killed since 2022.
Having participated at the FIA Foundation’s 20th Anniversary forum on Safe & Healthy Mobility from June 21-22 in London, United Kingdom, Minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Floyd Green shared: “We cannot sit idly by as road safety issues skyrocket and negatively impact our healthcare system, our infrastructure, our economy, all our government resources and most importantly, our families.”
Welcoming the partnership with the NRSC and the FIA Foundation, Green said, “Road Safety and sustainable mobility remains an urgent world crisis. In my own island home of Jamaica, an island of three million people, we lost 484 lives last year on our roads. Thankfully, the FIA Foundation has shown us, through advocacy and action, that we can tackle this issue head-on. What it requires is political will, an all-hands-on-deck approach, sustainable financing and of course, ownership of the process.”
The project will last for three years at the cost of £750,000, (JM$139,261,136) aiming to understand and address the barriers to effective helmet wearing across Jamaica.
In his sectoral presentation in parliament on May 24, 2022, Green stated that Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is the chair of the NRSC, has tasked him to work with the council and Minister Audley Shaw to strengthen the road safety culture on the island.
Under the “I Am A Safe Biker” motorcycle outreach and training programme, the council has trained over 420 bikers and has distributed over 720 helmets.
Green added that the crash situation on Jamaican roads is a huge cost to the hospital sector as it lessens resources that could be redirected to other sectors, like education.
“The culture must change, and this is why the National Road Safety Council has embarked on a training and education campaign. This, along with the helmet project, will no doubt, reduce the number of injuries and deaths on our road,” he said.
The participants included representatives from Jamaica, Vietnam, Rwanda, Mexico, Kenya, US, Switzerland, and the UK.