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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019
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Road deaths falling in Europe - but up 19 per cent in Ireland

The European Commission expressed concern today about trends in deaths of vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists.

Image: Andy Delaney/Photocall Ireland

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has said 2013 was the second year in a row that saw an impressive decrease in the number of people killed on Europe’s roads. Unfortunately, this was not the case in Ireland, where there was a 19 per cent increase year-on-year, following years of decline.

Overall in Europe, there has been a 17 per cent decrease in road deaths since 2010. The Commission said some 9,000 lives have been saved.

However it pointed out that statistics show the numbers still vary greatly across the EU. On average, there were 52 road deaths per million inhabitants in the EU. The countries with the lowest number of road fatalities remain the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark, reporting around 30 deaths per million inhabitants. In Ireland, road deaths were falling consistently until last year when there was an increase of 19 per cent.

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Notably Spain, Germany and Slovakia have improved their positions on the list, moving in among the traditional top performers.

The Commission said another worrying feature of the statistics is the situation of vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists. The number of pedestrians killed is decreasing to a lesser extent than expected and the number of cyclist deaths has recently been increasing.

“This is partly due to the fact that more and more people cycle; the challenge for Member States is to encourage people to use their bicycles rather than their cars more often, but to make sure that the shift from car to bicycle is a safe one,” the Commission said in a statement this morning.

EU Commissioner for mobility and transport and Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas said the EU is “fully back on track” to reach its road safety target of halving road deaths between 2010 and 2020.

“However, there are still 70 people who die on Europe’s roads every day, so we cannot be complacent,” he said. “We must continue our joint efforts at all levels to further improve the safety on European roads.”

Read: Road deaths down 57% in last six years>

Read: 80% of drivers killed on Irish roads last year were male>

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