The number of people dying on the Dutch roads soared almost 11% last year, with a total of 678 people killed in road, bike or other accidents, the national statistics agency CBS said on Thursday.
In total, 233 motorists and 228 cyclists died on the Dutch roads while the number of people killed while using mobility scooters rose from 25 in 2017 to 44 last year.
Most notable is the sharp rise in traffic deaths in the province of Noord-Brabant – where 150 people were killed last year, a rise of 50% on 2017
A spokesman for the road safety institute SWOV told broadcaster NOS that the figures for Noord-Brabant had been low in previous years. ‘A small rise was to be expected, but not such a leap as this,’ he said.
The number of traffic-related deaths had been fairly stable since 2014 after years of decline, since reaching a peak of over 1,000 at the turn of the century.
The figures also show that most people to die in traffic accidents are over the age of 50 and that older cyclists, particularly electric bike users, are vulnerable.
Last year the government outlined plans to reduce the number of traffic deaths to zero by 2050. ‘We knew it was an unrealistic target but it should be the aim,’ transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen told broadcaster NOS, in response to the new CBS figures.
She thinks the rise in fatalities may be connected to the fact that the population is getting older. ‘If an older person has an accident, it is more likely to be serious,’ she said. The minister said she is now analysing the findings to be able to take ‘the most effective measures.’
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