Fewer road fatalities but more serious bike accidents in the Netherlands
In 2021, the Netherlands recorded its lowest number of deaths caused by car accidents since 2015, but the number of bike accidents resulting in serious injury continues to increase.
The Netherlands records lowest number of fatalities since 2015
According to figures published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), 582 people died as a result of a traffic accident in 2021 - the lowest number recorded in the Netherlands since 2015. The number of road fatalities fell by 28 between 2020 and last year.
The provinces of Gelderland and South Holland saw the highest number of deadly road accidents, while Zeeland recorded the fewest. 382 of the victims in 2021 were cyclists, motorists or other car passengers. The number of motorcyclists or moped drivers who died following an accident increased by 24 victims to 101 last year.
According to the statistics office, this dramatic decrease can be attributed to reduced traffic as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the various restrictions put in place by the Dutch government. CBS also notes the apparent success of the government drink-driving campaign, which is likely to have contributed to the drop in fatalities.
Number of cyclists seriously injured in accidents continues to rise
While the overall number of road fatalities has reached a seven-year low, data released by Dutch safety organisation SafetyNL reveals that the number of cyclists seriously injured in road accidents has increased by a third over the past 10 years, likely as a result of the rise in popularity of the e-bike.
SafetyNL notes that one way to prevent serious injuries and fatalities would be to ensure vulnerable cyclists wear a helmet when on the roads. According to their research, only 3 percent of injured cyclists who ended up in a hospital last year were wearing a helmet.
The Amsterdam branch of the national cyclists’ union has called for a speed limit on all bike lanes in the Dutch capital in order to improve overall road safety. “With the narrow cycle paths you have here, fast e-bikes are even more dangerous,” explains Florrie de Pater from Fietsersbond Amsterdam. The union would like all cyclists to adhere to a maximum speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour.