After the European Commission released the road safety figures for 2015 earlier today, the ECF – the European Cyclists Federation – called for vehicle safety technology to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians.
In 2015 26,000 were killed in road accidents in the EU compared to 25,700 the previous year. This is the first time that there has been a rise in the number of fatalities on Europe’s roads. The commission recognised that one of the reasons for this rise is the “higher interaction between unprotected and motorised road users in our cities”.
The press release from the commission claimed also that in order to reach the target of halving the number of road deaths from 2010 to 2020 there will need to be a focus on better technology within vehicles. The European Commission is due to put forward a communication and then legislative proposal updating the General Safety Regulations and Pedestrian protection.
The ECF said that this is the ideal opportunity to confront this stagnation/decline in road safety with safer vehicles for cyclists and pedestrians and not just occupants, and an accompanying Commission memo also recognised that “cyclist fatalities decreased by only 4% between 2010 and 2014, which is much lower than the total fatality decrease (18%)”.
ECF General Secretary Bernhard Ensink said that: “While motor vehicles have been getting safer and saferfor those occupants inside the vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian reductions have not been keeping pace; it is time to also really focus on those outside the vehicle. Technologies like Intelligent Speed Assistance, automatic sensing and braking, safer HGV design are ready or almost ready; there should be less focus on automated vehicles and more on those technologies that could revolutionise vehicle safety across the EU today.”
It was also claimed by Commissioner Bulc that there was a fall in road safety funding across the EU by Member States which could have contributed to a lack of enforcement measures and safe infrastructure.
The Commission have also released for the first time a provisional serious injury figure of 135,000 serious injuries across the EU. ECF said that this was welcome news and hope that this goes towards the setting of an EU wide serious injury target that the Commission backtracked from last year.
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