Minister Harbers (Infrastructure and Water Management) is setting aside €50 million for bicycle safety. Recent studies have shown that the number of road casualties among cyclists in particular will increase in the coming years if no additional measures are taken. In order to improve bicycle safety in a targeted manner, four focal points have been established: the elderly, single-vehicle crashes, sports and school environments and traffic on the bicycle path.
Cycling has become increasingly popular in recent years. Over the period 2010-2019, the number of bicycle kilometers increased by 10%. In addition, more elderly people have taken up cycling. These increases entail an increase in the number of cycling casualties. The Integral Mobility Analysis 2021 predicted that by 2040 the number of cycling casualties will have increased by 80% to 100%. The SWOV study published today on halving road casualties also predicts an increase in the number of cycling crashes.
The €50 million for bicycle safety comes from the Traffic Safety Investment Impulse. The government had thus made €500 million available for the period between 2020 and 2030, which provides financial support to provinces, water boards and municipalities in their road safety plans. When the investment incentive was determined, it was agreed that €50 million would be earmarked for 'innovative measures'. Partly as a result of the latest studies, it has been agreed with fellow authorities that these resources will be used to promote bicycle safety.
Safer cycling must be achieved through four focus points:
- Older people: This group needs extra protection, because they are overrepresented in the accident figures. In addition, they have a greater chance of being seriously injured in an accident.
- Single-vehicle crashes: In 2019, more than 80% of serious bicycle crashes did not involve a motor vehicle. That is why major steps can be taken in this area.
- School and sports environment: The group of 'children' is also vulnerable and therefore needs extra protection. Approximately 1 in 5 cyclists who visited an emergency room after an accident was younger than 17 years.
- Crowded cycle path: More and more people use the cycle path, and also with different vehicles with different speeds. With urban densification, it will become even busier in the coming years.
The cabinet announced last week that it will invest € 780 million in cycling infrastructure. An important point in which investments have been made is in the further construction of cycle routes throughout the country. These are wide cycle paths where there is little or no crossing traffic, so that cyclists can cycle smoothly and safely.
The published SWOV study concludes that it is too ambitious to halve the number of road casualties by 2030. Even with additional measures, this halving will not be achieved, in the most favorable case, the number of road deaths can be halved.
Minister Harbers remains committed to reducing the number of road casualties. That is why he follows the SWOV advice to take measures for the greatest risks. This includes bicycle safety, but also driving more than 30 kilometers per hour within built-up areas.