Oslo’s Pedestrian and Cyclist Deaths Brought to Zero in 2019 as it Moves to Reduce Cars in the City
Posted: February 25, 2022
Posted in: Bicycle Accidents Pedestrian Injuries Road Traffic Accidents
In 2019, Oslo, Norway, lead the way in road safety. Not only did it record zero pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in the capital, it also saw no child die in road traffic accidents across the whole country. Norway’s crash statistics have seen a slow, but downward trend in the last decade, as it moves to improve safety for its citizens. Such projects like Oslo’s “Vision Zero” demonstrate to the world that saving the lives of vulnerable road users is doable with the right infrastructure and commitment to safety.
Pedestrians and Cyclists are at Massive Risk of Injury
You may have heard the old adage “you’re more than likely to die on the way to the airport…” but this frighteningly accepted fact isn’t limited to car accidents. In London during 2019, 73 pedestrians and 6 cyclists were killed in road traffic accidents. For reference, in New York, that number is 121 and 38, respectively. For Norway to have contributed policies and investment to drive this number down to nothing clearly shows that, by comparison, capital cities can be safer places to live. Oslo’s Department of Mobility Director, Rune Gjøs, has said: “The car became the owner of our cities, but we’re resetting the order again.”
Oslo’s quest to eliminate all public road deaths has been dubbed “Vision Zero.” City officials have taken steps to remove over 1000 curbside parking spots in favour of bike lanes, more footpaths, and pushing the power of their public transport system, which is affordable and flexible. Large swathes of Oslo have also been boxed off from cars altogether, especially around schools.
Oslo’s idea for a pedestrianised city isn’t recent, but has been accelerated in the time leading up to 2019. This came after significant push back from those who feel a lack of access via private cars would lead to dead high streets. With Oslo, this has proven to be the opposite, as Gjøs explains:
“The city centre is now a thriving area, and all the top-brand shops want to establish themselves on the car-free streets, this shows that consumers find these streets attractive, and they’re leaving as much money behind as if they were coming by car.”
In contrast to what is typically happening with cities such as London, where residents are leaving the city, Oslo city centre has actually seen an increase in demand. The is largely down to better air quality, lower traffic noise and levels, as well as better safety for families. As Oslo’s vice Major for Urban development says:
“It used to be that people take their families out of the city on the weekends, but now people are coming into the centre, they’re using the centre as a place for activities, not only shopping and business.”
Oslo is not alone in implementation of pedestrianisation projects, across the world, public offices are seeing the benefits of such infrastructure changes. Germany, Canada, Colombia, France, and Italy have all taken different steps to remove the blight of cars from their major cities in favour of pedestrians and cyclists.
Heavy Goods Vehicles are Responsible for the Most Accidents in Norway.
Whilst Oslo has been world-leading in terms of its city road user’s safety, elsewhere in Norway, such as Nordland, issues with car accidents are still a concern, despite improvements. Trygg Trafikk director Jan Johansen has said they must “significantly strengthen our efforts in road safety work in the years to come. It is a long way to go before we are where we need to be.”
This comes after figures illustrate that road traffic fatalities have stayed level in the last 3 years. 71% of deaths are men, and people in the 25-44 age grouping are typically more often killed than all others. Collisions with heavier vehicles accounted for a third of all of Norway’s traffic fatalities. The highest they’ve been in 5 years. Johansen continues:
“There are many heavy vehicles on the roads, and this will only increase in the time ahead. The accident [analysis] show that it is often not the driver of the heavy vehicle who is to blame for the accident, and therefore we motorists must be extra careful.”
Ingrid Dahl Hovland, Norway’s Road Director, added:
“Our most important weapon is knowledge. We analyze all fatal accidents, and this knowledge allows us to implement measures that we know work and that have a great effect. The work will continue systematically and long-term on a broad front with undiminished strength.”
Have you Been Injured in a Road Traffic Accident in London?
London is a famously busy city, and danger from other road users is still one of the most common forms of accident we see. If you’ve been injured as a cyclist, pedestrian, or any other road user, we can help you seek compensation for your pain and suffering.
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