Despite a reduction in traffic and deaths on roads in 2020, the Netherlands recorded the highest number of cycling deaths in 25 years. Deaths were higher during periods of lower traffic intensity.
Passenger car deaths decreased while cyclist deaths increased
The Netherlands released national statistics on road deaths for 2020. The country recorded 610 casualties during 2020, a 7% decrease compared to 2019 and the 3rd best result in the last 20 years.
However, despite this improvement, the Netherlands recorded the highest number of cycling deaths in 25 years.
Most traffic victims in 2020, 38% of them, were cyclists. This is more than the passenger cars, the category that was the most hit by traffic accidents in 2019.
All casualties, whether they were on motorcycles, scooters, passenger cars, or pedestrians but the cyclists decreased in number of deaths.
A third of the cycling fatalities happened on electric bikes.
More deaths during periods of substantially lighter traffic
Deaths on roads mostly increased during the periods of low traffic.
During the first Covid-19 lockdown, between March and April 2020, traffic was at least 50% less intense than the year before, according to the National Road Traffic Data Portal (NDW). And yet, traffic deaths were higher.
During three periods of 2020, in March-April, in June-July and in November 2020, traffic mortality was higher than in 2019 while traffic intensity was substantially lower.
The number of deaths and injuries on roads decreased slower than the number of accidents.
The Police explains the speed limits were less respected with lower traffic, and also suggested the presence of more pedestrians, children and cyclists on the streets might have led to more accidents.
Media sources and useful links:
- 610 traffic deaths in 2020, CBS, April 2021, Free access
- Door corona veranderd verkeersbeeld leidt niet tot veel minder slachtoffers, NU, April 2021, Free access