News article

Do not let the attention for pedestrians decrease

In 2016, there were 51 fatalities among pedestrians in traffic in the Netherlands, Statistics Netherlands announced earlier in May. If we also take into account the road injuries that fall outside definition of 'road crash casualty', the problem must be much greater. If no good insight in the actual extent of the problem, the problem itself will also remain unnoticed by the professionals whom it concerns: policy makers, spatial designers, safety organisations, to name but a few. On 13 April 2017, SWOV Guest Staff Member Rob Methorst spoke about pedestrian crashes during the SWOV knowledge café on crashes with pedestrians. The PhD research that he carries out at SWOV is also on pedestrians.

'Two weeks before the numbers of road crash casualties in 2016 were announced, we already established in the knowledge café that pedestrian safety deserves more attention, ' says Rob Methorst.  ‘15% of our time as road users we are pedestrians.  Of our total travel distance 5% is on foot. The data of safety organisation VeiligheidNL's show that more than half of the crashes involving pedestrians are attributed to the condition of the pavement or street.  And that around four times more pedestrians need to seek hospital treatment after a fall than after a collision with a moving vehicle. These are very substantial numbers. '

"It is primarily the responsibility of the municipalities to make public space safer for pedestrians. The ageing population is already sufficient reason to give this more priority. But municipalities need to be presented with the right knowledge about a safe, high-quality layout of public space.  The design of beautiful, modern pedestrian areas in inner cities is often given a lot of attention. But it's more important to focus on the residential areas, the zones 30 and the woonerfs. This is where the people live and where the pedestrian facilities are most commonly used and, therefore, where action should be taken first. '

Methorst is of the opinion that this should not the first and the last knowledge café on pedestrian safety, but at it should be followed by several knowledge sessions, coupled with specially developed pedestrian modules and sample projects. 'Money is also often the problem,' says Methorst, 'but if the government were to use 1% of their budget for traffic and transport for collecting and applying knowledge about pedestrian safety, much can already be done.'



Road safety in numbers, Transport mode, Pedestrian