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UNECE and the European Basketball Family join forces to promote road safety at EuroBasket 2009

Published: 17 September 2009

Katowice, Poland

In a Declaration for Road Safety signed today during the EuroBasket 2009, FIBA and FIBA Europe joined the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure, the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in a plea to respect road traffic rules.

The EuroBasket 2009 Declaration for Road Safety – “because a true champion respects the rules of the game!” – draws a parallel between basketball and road safety stating that non-respect for rules results in unfairness, on the road as on the court. The consequences of not following the rules on the road are, however, much more severe and sadly, many people do not play by the rules when they get behind the wheel.

In an effort to reach out to people’s everyday lives, the Declaration offers a new perspective on road rules. It tries to counter the “avoid getting caught” attitude with one of respect for fellow road-users. It also summarises 7 simple rules which have proven beyond any doubt, time and time again, that they save lives:

The basketball community has seen its share of tragedy on the, road loosing prominent players such as Radivoj Korać (1969) and Dražen Petrović (1993), and this is not the first time it teams up with UNECE to promote road safety. During a conference in Greece in June 2009, Greek basketball champions signed a similar declaration (press/pr2009/09trans_p06.html). With the EuroBasket 2009 as a second step in the collaboration, it is hoped this promotional campaign can be extended to the FIBA World Championship in Turkey in 2010 to reach an even wider audience.

On a global scale, 1.2 million people die in road traffic crashes every year, with millions more injured and disabled. The Declaration makes the point that these crashes are NOT accidents but events that can be prevented through daily action and awareness.

Through its Road Traffic Safety Forum, UNECE has established a multilateral legal framework for road safety which covers all factors influencing international road traffic, including the driver and the vehicle, in the Convention on Road Traffic (1968), and which prescribes common norms for traffic light signals and uniform conditions for road markings in the Convention on Road Signs and Signals (1968).

For further information, please contact:

Sakis Kontos

FIBA Europe Communications

Florian Wanninger

Communications Director

FIBA: + 41 78 738 52 84

Jean Rodriguez

Spokesperson

Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2872

UNECE, + 41 22 917 27 27

- Because true champion respects the rules of the game

Could you imagine playing a game of basketball without rules?

Or could you imagine playing a game of basketball with only some people following the rules?

It would hardly be a fair game, would it?

The same goes for the road.

Could you imagine driving without having traffic rules? 

And what if people didn’t follow those rules?

Can you imagine having to pay the price of someone else cheating in traffic? Like becoming disabled for the rest of your life because a drunken person hit you… How fair would that be?

As official representatives of basketball we know that without respect for the rules, there would be chaos. We know that if people cheat, the game is unfair.

But the consequences of not following the rules on the road are much more severe and sadly, many people do not play by the rules when they get behind the wheel.

As part of a touring operation, the basketball community frequently travels by road and as such we are exposed to varying traffic conditions from country to country.

The legendary basketball player Radivoj Korać died in a car accident in Sarajevo in 1969 at the age of 30. More recently, Dražen Petrović died four months before his 29th birthday when the car he was travelling in crashed on the Autobahn in Germany in 1993.

1.2 million people die in road traffic crashes every year worldwide. Millions more are injured and disabled. But these are not accidents. They are events that can be prevented through daily action and awareness. Our aim is to engage society in this struggle and to encourage respect for the rules of the road.

Regulations exist to help road users avoid loss of life, health and property. Individuals often do not recognize the importance of complying with road rules, thinking that a mistake, a minor “bending” of the rules or a lapse in judgment affects only them. Sadly, this is rarely the case.

What does it mean to respect road safety? Following 7 simple rules:

It has been proved beyond any doubt, time and time again, that these 7 simple rules save lives.

Foul play always ends up hurting someone. Be a champion: respect the rules and respect life!

Ref: ECE/TRANS/09/P10


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05