Today it was reported that the well-known former Kyiv city mayor, now NUNS deputy, Oleksandr Omelchenko, was last night involved in a fatal driving 'accident' in his Mistubishi Pajero. He knocked down and killed a 48-year old pedestestrian.
The current Kyiv mayor, Leonid Chenovetsky, killed a pedestrian on the same road in 2003. Serious road 'accidents' involving high profile figures occur on a regular, almost weekly basis in Ukraine.
By coincidence I was looking at the World Health Organisation Global Status Report on Road Safety yesterday, comparing Ukraine's awful statistics with those of similar-sized countries in Europe.
In 2007 there were 9921 road traffic fatalities reported in Ukraine, 56% of which were pedestrians. So, over five and half thousand pedestrians were killed on the roads that year in the country.
In the United Kingdom by comparison, 2398 road deaths were reported in 2006, 21% of which were pedestrians, i.e. about 500 pedestrians were killed - 10 times less that in Ukraine, even though it has a larger population and many more vehicles on the road.
But more disturbing are the trends. In the U.K., as in most West European countries, road deaths have been declining for many years. In the last 20 years road deaths in the U.K. and other Western European countries, have halved. In Ukraine road deaths are increasing....
Many more pedestrians will be killed on the roads in Ukraine than will die from swine flu, but there's no political mileage to be gained from tackling this carnage is there?