The Lebanon Helmet Vaccine Initiative launched operations in Beirut on the 14th of October, led by local road safety NGO Kunhadi. Kunhadi staff distributed 1,200 free helmets to restaurant delivery motorcyclists and will donate an additional 850 helmets to Internal Security Forces motorcyclists in January 2011. The event was so-sponsored by Mawared Bank in a public-private partnership with the local government, Kunhadi, and the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative.
The Helmet Vaccine Initiative will support Kunhadi, a national road safety organization that tackles issues including helmet use, drink driving, and seat belt use. Fady Gebrane, founder and president of Kunhadi, delivered a presentation on the importance of motorcycle safety and law enforcement.
“$1.4 billion or 4% of GDP is the cost of injuries and fatalities in roadcrashes annually,” said Gebrane. “Whereas the rate allocated for speeding cameras is around 100 million USD, and you only have to pay it once and for all.”
Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative CEO Greig Craft attended the event and welcomed Lebanon as the newest member of the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative, whose other member countries include Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Uganda and Senegal. The Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative strives to put “a helmet on every head in the Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011 – 2020),” targeting developing countries which account for 90% of road traffic crash fatalities.
“Fady Gebrane’s dedication and commitment to road safety will be the catalyst to Lebanon becoming a leader for saving lives in the Middle East,” said Craft. The Lebanon Helmet Vaccine Initiative will focus on providing police training and police helmets, establishing helmet standards, and advising on construction of a helmet test lab.