The SMARTA Project » How can we make cycling and walking safer in EU cities?

How can we make cycling and walking safer in EU cities?


On Wednesday, 14/10, ETSC held the virtual event “What it takes to deliver safer cycling and walking in European cities”. The event focused on current challenges and opportunities on how European citizens can start using bicycles or walk more instead of using their cars. SMARTA2 was there to give you a summary of the event that featured interesting stories from the cities of Oslo and Brussels.

The event was moderated by Ellen Townsend from ETSC and featured a short introduction by Didier Stevens from Toyota Motor Europe. The event unfolded in five sessions.

In the first session, Jenny Carson from ETSC presented first-hand data on the current safety levels for cyclists and pedestrians across Europe. The key findings suggest that walking and cycling is not as safe as we may think, as circa 5000 pedestrians and 2000 are killed every year in EU roads. Ms. Carson then presented ETSC’s recommendations for EU cities: from establishing more 30km/h zones supported by traffic calming and safe pedestrian crossing, intersections and footways to separate cycling paths and improved enforcement.

Touching upon Ms. Carson’s point, Matthew Baldwin said that in road safety terms, if you are struck by a car speeding at 30km the chances of surviving is 90% while if you are struck by a car speeding at 50km, these chances drop to 10%. Mr. Baldwin then presented the European Commission’s work on road safety, including the road infrastructure safety management directive, and hinted the roll-out of a new sustainable and smart mobility strategy. Mr. Baldwin also stressed that cycling and walking are strongly interlinked with public transport, a reality that we recognise in #SMARTA2 by connecting mobility solutions such as e-bikes to existing public transport services.

The webinar then focused on interesting stories from Oslo and Brussels. Ida Kongsrud from Oslo Municipality presented how through strategic coordination, redesign of urban intersection, creation of safer school surroundings and expansion of cycling infrastructures her city is moving towards “Vision Zero”. Afterwards, Stefan Vandenhende presented lessons learnt from the case of Brussels’ “Good Move = Vision 2030”. Mr. Vandenhelde explained how citizens seized the opportunity of the lockdown to demand radical improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, with authorities responding with 40km of additional bike corridors. The case of Brussels shows that the pandemic, although unfortunate, can change peoples’ behaviour towards mobility. This is in line with our vision in SMARTA2, whereby we want to steer peoples’ behaviour towards smart and sustainable options, such as e-carsharing and carpooling services. The final session concluded the event with a round discussion between the participants and a Q&A section.

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