Nearly half of the 1.2 million people killed in traffic accidents around the world each year are not in cars. They are on motorcycles and bicycles or walking along roadsides. That finding, released in a World Health Organization report yesterday, may help explain why 90 percent of the world’s traffic fatalities occur in countries that have fewer than half of the world’s cars, according to the Washington Post.
The WHO report focuses on an overlooked problem in public health, and it gives a sense of where 178 countries stand in their use of such safety measures as speed limits, helmet laws and blood alcohol restrictions. Traffic accidents were the 10th-leading cause of death in the world in 2004, behind lung cancer and ahead of diabetes, and they are on track to become the fifth-leading cause by 2030.