Helsinki records first year with zero bike or pedestrian traffic deaths since 1960

Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki says it takes a number of factors including technology and improvements to street environments to improve cycle and pedestrian safety.

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File picture of bikes in Helsinki / Credit: iStock

The Finnish capital is reporting on a milestone – 2019 was the first time since records began that the city recorded no bike or pedestrian traffic deaths.

The number of traffic fatalities has been decreasing steadily in recent years from a high in the 1980s and 1990s when as many as 30 people were being killed on the capital’s roads each year.

The worst year on record was 1965 when 84 people died.

Describing it as “historical“, Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki (Green) says improved traffic safety is the result of a number of different measures.

“Traffic safety has improved due to improvements to the street environment, increased traffic control, the development of vehicle safety measures and technology, and better rescue services. Reducing speed limits has also been a key factor” she explains in a statement.

Speed limits in Helsinki have also been lowered over the past several decades and now the maximum speed in most residential areas and the city centre is 30 km per hour; rising to 40 km per hour on major roads; and 50 km per hour in suburban districts.

In other positive news for road users, only three people died overall in traffic accidents during 2019 – one motorist and two motorcyclists. This low number has only been matched one other time, in 2016.

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