The number of road deaths has fallen sharply among motorists in the past twenty years, but barely among cyclists. Between 1999 and 2019, the number of passenger car occupants fell by 60 percent and the number of cyclists killed by 11 percent, according to an analysis by Statistics Netherlands.

In 1999, 587 passenger car occupants were killed, twenty years later this number had fallen to 237. Cyclists reported a decrease from 227 to 203 deaths.

The greatest number of fatalities on bicycles was reported in 2000: in that year, 233 cyclists were killed in road accidents.

Decrease thanks to measures

Statistics Netherlands attributes the decrease in the number of road fatalities to, among other things, the measures against drunk driving, the introduction of the novice driver's license in 2002 and the criminalization of using a smartphone behind the wheel.

Both the decrease in the number of car fatalities and the decrease in the number of bicycle fatalities now seem to have stopped. Both numbers have been fairly stable over the past five years.

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Substantially more road deaths among people over seventy

The number of cyclists aged seventy or older who died in a road accident was 68 percent higher last year than in 1999. A majority (59 percent) of the cyclists killed in 2019 were over seventy.

However, this increase can also be explained; the number of older people in society has increased. In 1999, there were nearly 1.5 million people over seventy, and by the beginning of 2019 they were 2.3 million.

In addition, people over seventy have become more mobile, according to Statistics Netherlands. In the measured period, both the average number of car kilometers and the average number of bicycle kilometers increased among that age group.

On balance more

If you zoom in on the past year, you will see that in absolute terms more people died in a car accident (237) than in a bicycle accident (203).

Based on kilometers traveled, this is the opposite, however: per billion passenger kilometers, far more cyclists than car occupants died (11 compared to 1.6 fatalities).