What Can The US Learn From Mexico’s New Right To Safe Mobility?

Last month Mexico established a constitutional right to safe mobility. Approved by the country’s Senate in 2019, the constitutional amendment became official when the 17th of Mexico’s 32 states, Querétaro, ratified it. Mexico’s highest legal document now treats safe mobility as a fundamental human right.

As a report by TheCityFix observes, World Health Organization data indicates that there were 16,000 motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2016, and fatalities in Mexico have been rising in recent years. The new amendment “calls for accessibility for all; efficiency in the use of space and resources; environmental, social and economic sustainability; gender, age and income inclusion; and equity as an overarching priority so that the result is a positive change for everyone, not just a fraction of the population.”

TheCityFix argues that Mexico should take more forceful action to build on the amendment—specifically, a “general safe mobility law” that sets directives for the federal and local governments to improve road safety across the country. As the report notes, the United Nations has “declared 2021 to 2030 the ‘second decade of action’ for road safety,” setting a goal for its member nations to cut their road fatalities and injuries in half. Member nations are encouraged to build on existing approaches to urban planning, roadway design, vehicle safety, and behavioral control.

The safe mobility amendment enjoyed broad support across Mexico’s political parties and movements, with supporters including the Mexican Red Cross, an insurance industry group, and React for Life, an NGO advocating for the victims of car crashes. TheCityFix notes that “more than 30 civil society organizations” helped campaign for the amendment, and that a government session in Querétaro featuring victims of car crashes ended in a unanimous vote in favor of the amendment. TheCityFix notes that cycling NGOs in particular “have made up a fundamental pillar of support” for the amendment, responding to a spike in cyclist fatalities in the country. One of the NGOs, Bicetekas, reportedly said in a statement that the victims of those incidents “are not statistics; they are people we love. An homage to victims and all the recognition to their families; together for the #RightToMobility.”

The mobility amendment ultimately sets an example for the rest of the world, TheCityFix suggests, challenging other countries to follow Mexico’s lead and enshrine a “right to mobility under conditions of safety, accessibility, efficiency, sustainability, quality, inclusion and equality.”

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