Protestors demand action to improve road safety
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Taipei – demanding the government take immediate action to tackle road safety issues on Sunday (20 August).
The "Stop Killing Pedestrians" event was organized by the Zero Pedestrian Death Promotion Alliance. Protesters called on the Tsai administration to take "concrete steps," including systematically upgrading of pedestrian infrastructure, improving driver education, and overhauling traffic laws to protect vulnerable road users. They also urged local governments to work toward halving pedestrian casualties by 2030 and achieving zero pedestrian deaths by 2040.
The organizers' demands are in line with the European Union's goal of zero fatalities in road transport by 2050 Vision Zero.
Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) Minister Wang Kwo-tsai accepted the group's list of demands, bowing to demonstrators during the event and saying his office will make improving pedestrian safety a top priority.
The rally was after a series of fatal traffic accidents involving pedestrians. The most recent incident took place on Saturday and resulted in the death of an 82-year-old man.
All three candidates for the 2024 presidential election, as well as a possible candidate participated in the "Stop Killing Pedestrians" rally in Taipei.
DPP candidate Lai Ching-te, KMT candidate Hou Yu-ih and Taiwan People's Party candidate Ko Wen-je were joined by Terry Guo at the rally, with all four backing the participants' five demands.
All of the island's major political parties and their respective presidential candidates had been invited to attend the rally. They were then asked to sign a pedestrian declaration prepared by the Zero Pedestrian Death Promotion Alliance.
They then addressed the crowds. Guo urged motorists to stop and carefully look in all directions before driving through a crosswalk for the safety of pedestrians.
Ko called on the government to fundamentally overhaul traffic-related infrastructure so that people can feel safe walking on the street.
Hou told participants that one of the major problems is that the government has done little to distinguish between the space for pedestrians and vehicles on the road.
Lai promised to implement a draft traffic safety basic law recently proposed by the MOTC, which is expected to be reviewed by lawmakers in the next legislative session starting in September.