Kameli Koroivukivuki, Database Administrator at MWH in Fiji distributing wristbands at the parade welcoming back the Fiji Sevens team as international champions on Friday
The staff of MWH in Fiji have became so concerned about the number of children unable to be seen when walking on country roads at night, they have come up with a special reflective wristband to address the problem.
“Our staff are out and about driving, in our work for the Fiji Roads Authority, all the time,” says MWH Fiji Manager, Mike Rudge. “Especially at night, we come across many young people who can’t be seen until it is almost too late. After many casual conversations in the office we sat down to think seriously about something simple, effective and fast that we could do to address the problem.”
The answer turned out to be snappy – and yes, they snap when you put them on – neon yellow wristbands that reflect car headlights, making the wearer visible.
“In partnership with the Land Transport Agency (LTA) we’ll be distributing them to schools in the areas where the pedestrian injury and death rates are highest,” says Mr. Rudge.
Schools along Kings, Queens, and the Trans-insular Roads will be targeted first, due to their heavy usage by both cars and young people on foot.
MWH Statistics show that the number of serious and fatal pedestrian crashes continue at the same pace on Fiji’s rural roads, while they have declined in towns and cities over the past three years.
From a high of 80 – 90per year earlier in the decade, serious and fatal crashes in cities and towns now number between 50 – 60 a year.
“There is no doubt that things are improving in urban areas, in terms of safety enhancements like lights, footpaths and reflective features. The numbers of people seriously injured or killed is also declining,” says MWH Fiji Manager, Mike Rudge.
“However it is not always feasible to apply the same safety solutions to country roads, as to towns and cities. Country roads are longer, but used by far fewer people, and often extremely expensive to upgrade with safety features. So encouraging people to keep themselves safer and visible is a smarter approach.”
Mr. Rudge says the decision to distribute the bands through schools was a very deliberate one.
“The bands themselves are not enough, and no good at all if they are sitting unused at home. Our youngest pedestrians also need ongoing education into keeping themselves safe when they are walking and how important pedestrian visibility is. We are grateful to the LTA for their support in this initiative.”
MWH in Fiji has prepared educational materials specifically targeted at children, addressing issues around being safe and seen when walking near roads.