Netherlands

Fewer accidents on quiet ‘corona roads’, yet many cyclists and walkers are injured

In the ‘corona year’ 2020 there were far fewer road accidents than in other years. Nevertheless, the number of victims fell less sharply than expected, according to data over the past year that were collected and analyzed by the police, insurers and the traffic engineering office VIA.

The number of road accidents was 80,000 in the past year. That is a decrease of 20 percent compared to recent years, when an average of 100,000 accidents were registered.

19,000 people were injured in traffic, 10 percent less than in previous years when an average of 21,000 road casualties occurred. Police estimate that 500 people were killed on the road; a few dozen fewer than in previous years.

Totally different traffic picture

“You can see that the number of casualties does not fall in line with the number of accidents,” says Paul Broer, national infrastructure project manager at the police. In the past year, a relatively large number of cyclists, pedestrians and moped riders were injured.

“This is probably because we had a completely different traffic image than we are used to,” says Broer. As a result of working from home and the lockdowns, there were fewer cars on the road, but more cyclists and walkers, also at different times than usual. It is precisely this that led to accidents that resulted in casualties, especially in built-up areas.

Less car traffic does not automatically mean that it is also safer on the road. Empty roads encourage speeding, which increases the risk of serious accidents. Especially at the start of the corona outbreak, in March, there was now and then a lot of racing on the Dutch roads. “The particularity of very empty roads provoked excessive driving behavior in some drivers, even in built-up areas,” says Broer. This seems to be improving now.

New measures

In the spring of 2020, the maximum daytime speed of 100 km / h on the motorways came into effect. The police see that most people now adhere to this properly, perhaps also because, thanks to the lack of traffic jams, motorists know that they will arrive on time and are therefore less in a hurry.

If we continue to work from home more often after the corona pandemic, the traffic picture will change permanently, according to the police. In that case, new measures are needed, says Broer. “If there are permanently more cyclists and walkers on the street, road authorities and municipalities will have to construct wider cycle paths and make more streets car-free.” Such adaptations should better protect the most vulnerable road users, especially on emptier roads.

Fewer accidents on quiet ‘corona roads’, yet many cyclists and walkers are injured
Source link Fewer accidents on quiet ‘corona roads’, yet many cyclists and walkers are injured

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