Eurosafe Vulnerable road users
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Vulnerable road users  print friendly

Road traffic injuries are a major cause of premature mortality, disability and economic loss to society. Each year, 127 000 people are killed due to road traffic injuries in the 53

countries in the European Region . The non-fatal consequences are also severe with millions of people requiring medical attention, and a large proportion of them become permanently
disabled. 2.4 million people are reported to be injured each year. This figure, however, is underestimated due to the fact that police services under-record non-fatal injuries; thus the true figure is more likely to be around 6 million.

Within the 27 countries of the European Union an annual average of 50.000 deaths result from RTIs. It is estimated that 38% of these deaths concerned vulnerable road users comprising motorized two wheelers (14%), pedestrians (18%), and cyclists (6%).

Measures such as area wide traffic calming, and safer road design – such as upgraded pedestrian crossings, pedestrian bridges or underpasses, cycle lanes, guard rails and street lighting – are cost-effective and equitable, making environments inherently safer. Wearing a helmet is known to be protective in reducing the severity of head injury among motor cyclists as well as bicyclists.

The response to preventing death and disability in vulnerable road users needs to be multisectoral and the participation of the transport, justice, education sectors and nongovernmental organizations is considered essential. The health sector has an important role to play in coordinating a response, whether this is through surveillance and data sharing, building the evidence base of cost-effective interventions, increasing injury prevention capacity, and advocating to put safety for vulnerable road users higher on the policy agenda and contributing to policy formulations.


Road accidents by type of road user and country Source: 'Injuries in the European Union', Issue 4, summary of injury statistics for the years 2008-2010 (Fig. 6.2)