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Europe casualty figures down - but are still 'cause for concern': ETSC

Friday 13th May 2011

While the number of car drivers, PTW riders, pedestrians and cyclists killed on Europe’s roads in 2009 fell significantly compared with the 2001 baseline figures, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) says the figures give ‘great cause for concern’.

The data is published in a new report, the Road Safety Performance Index Flash 19, which shows that car driver deaths fell by 39%, pedestrian and cyclist fatalities fell by 34%, and the number of powered two-wheeler (PTW) fell by 18%.

However, while the overall number of PTW casualties decreased, in 13 countries the number of deaths rose. In total 169,000 pedestrians, cyclists and PTW users have been killed on European roads since 2001.

The figures for deaths among ‘unprotected road user’ were greeted with apprehension by Antonio Avenoso, ETSC executive director, who said: “These figures are a great cause for concern. The European Commission prioritised PTW users in its ‘Road Safety Policy Orientations’ last year. Although pedestrians and cyclists were identified as a vulnerable group, little was proposed to address the risks they face.

“Transport ministers in December 2010 called for the development of a specific strategy to tackle safety of this target group. Now it is the turn of the MEPs, who are currently preparing to adopt their ‘Report on Road Safety’, to show their political leadership and stress the need for action to reduce road deaths among the most vulnerable road users.”

Citing the fact that nearly 50% of car journeys are shorter than 5km, Antonio Avenoso called on the Government to promote walking and cycling, but warned that this cannot be achieved until roads are made safer for this form of transport.

For more information contact Graziella Jost, PIN programme manager (European Transport Safety Council).

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