Press Notice
Friday 18 February 2000

New international review of safety policies for pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas

  • More than 9,000 pedestrians and cyclists are killed each year in EU countries; most are children or older road users; most are involved in crashes in urban and residential areas; many of these crashes could be avoided and many serious and fatal injuries reduced.

  • Policies to encourage walking and cycling need to be safety-oriented or this casualty problem will get worse.

  • Urban traffic systems and design of vehicle rarely give sufficient attention to the safety needs of pedestrians and cyclists. Speed management is a key element in a safe traffic system for vulnerable road users.

  • Demonstrably effective measures should be taken at EU level (vehicle engineering Directives such as safer car fronts for pedestrians and cyclists and the promotion of best practice) and at national and local level (implementation of highway and road user measures) to make walking and cycling safer.

These were the conclusions of a new ETSC report, "The safety of pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas" prepared by independent experts from across Europe. The report identifies best practice internationally and makes recommendations for initiatives by the EU and Member States.

Chairman of the review Professor Rudolf GŁnther said: "It should be a high priority for those responsible for traffic systems in our urban areas to cater much better for the needs and physical vulnerabilities of pedestrians and cyclists, including people with reduced mobility. Walking and cycling are otherwise healthy and environmentally-friendly means of transport, but the risks of death and injury are higher than for all other modes except motorcycling."

Co-editor of the review, Professor Richard Allsop said: "By implementing known countermeasures it should be possible to achieve considerable increases in walking and cycling and still reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries among pedestrians and cyclists. However, much deeper commitment is needed from policymakers at local, national and EU levels to bring about improvements in the safety of vulnerable road users."

Jeanne Breen, Executive Director, ETSC said: "At EU level, legislation requiring safer car fronts for pedestrians and pedal cyclists on new car designs is an important action that could be taken now to improve road safety. If cars on the road now met tests then up to 2,000 deaths and 19,000 serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists would be prevented annually. The socio-economic cost of the injuries and lives that could be saved is over 6 billion euro."


For action by Member States and Local Authorities

  • Give priority to the safety and convenience of walking and cycling in policymaking for planning, development and transport in urban areas, and in the implementation of development plans and the maintenance and enhancement of the transport and traffic systems of towns and cities.

For action by EU

  • Give priority to the safety and convenience of walking and cycling in all aspects of policymaking relevant to planning, development and transport in urban areas and encourage Member States and Local Authorities to do likewise.

    Legislation and standards

  • Bring forward mandatory EU fitment requirements for:
    • safer car fronts for pedestrians and cyclists incorporating al EEVC test procedures
    • closed sideguards on all new heavy goods vehicles
    • daytime running lights for motor vehicles.
  • Introduce EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval for cycles incorporating a range of technical safety criteria
  • Develop a European standard for cycle child seats and promote the use of cycle helmets for which a European standard (EN 1708) already exists.

    Best practise guidelines and information exchange

  • Encourage information exchange to promote better conditions for walking and cycling through development of EU technical guidelines for professionals particularly on:
    • ways of providing for walking and cycling
    • safety audit and safety impact assessment
    • urban safety management
    • speed management
    • low cost/high return road safety engineering measures
    • training and encouragement for drivers in helping the intergration of pedestrians and cyclists into the traffic system
    • initial and in-service training in the integration of pedestrians and cyclists for those involved in road safety education and training, driver training and the enforcement of traffic law
    • road safety education and training at pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary levels, emphasing activity as pedestrians and cyclists
    • education and training of elderly road users
    • in-service training for professionals in providing facilities for walking and cycling all in the context of the interdisciplinary approach that the task requires.
  • Develop and disseminate advice on sensible road use via a European Highway Code summarising the common and differing traffic laws applying to road users in different Member States.
  • Give continued support including more financial support to Euro NCAP.

    Data collection

  • Encourage Member States to collect exposure data on pedestrian and cyclist travel and include it in the CARE database (Community databank on road crashes and casualties in Europe).
  • Regularly ascertain the level of under-reporting and extend the EHLAS (European Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance system) database to include road collision reporting.