85% fewer fatalities without helmet laws

By February 8, 2011 July 16th, 2015 7 Comments

Here is fantastic little case study about how to really make cycling safer.  The Dutch, experts on cycling safety, have long known not to ignore the bull in the china shop.  Instead of blaming the victim and demonizing cycling, they like to address the cause of the problem – getting hit by a car or truck.  Here we see how the Dutch react to reckless driving that could have killed a group of teenagers.

In just 9 years, Den Bosch (population 136,000), has managed to reduce traffic injuries by 60% and fatalities by 85% while increasing the number of people riding.  They did this by reducing urban speed limits, providing proper cycling infrastructure and giving legal protect to non-motorised travellers.

The Dutch, Danes and Germans have been making cycling safer for 40 years.  They know what policies work.  We’ve tried helmet laws for the last 20 and the evidence shows they don’t work.  So why can’t we learn from others who know what they are talking about and make cycling normal and safe in Australia?

Like helmets but hate helmet laws? Its time to do something about it.

Video by Markenlei


  • Morten says:

    Great video !
    Could you provide the numbers behind the following : “In just 9 years, Den Bosch (population 136,000), reduce cycling injuries by 60% and fatalities by 85% while increasing the number of people riding. “

    • Dave Kinkead says:

      The data was published by the local paper. You can view it in the video from 4:17.

      In 2000, the injury & fatality levels were 331 & 7. By 2009, that had steadily declined to 113 & 1.


      • Morten says:

        Thanks. So the numbers were specifically relating to cyclists ?

        As an aside, not a single cyclist has been killed in traffic here in Iceland since 1997.
        Population about 300.000. Modal share of cycling probably rising from <1% to 3% during this period (yearly average).

        Cycling is on the rise, and is now socially acceptable, partly because of people coming home from studies abroad in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands etc, partly because of the keeping-fit and healthy fashion wave, and to a large extent because of a very successful cycling to work campaign (3 -4 weeks in May since 2004), where about 3% of the entire population participates !
        However although cycling is now socially acceptable, and drivers are much more considerate of cyclists, even when sharing the road, we have a long way to go before the authorities can be said to support cycling, walking and public transport as much as they support and incentivize private cars (and big monster trucks amongst them, much bigger than the one in the video. )

  • Mark says:

    One correction; the figures in de video were for all traffic injuries/deaths in the city, they are not only cycling injuries. It is unknown whether the one road death in 2009 was a pedestrian, cyclist or driver.

  • Gmgarymac says:

    Can you imagine if this happened in Australia? Seven tow trucks would drive like maniacs to the scene to secure the tow & probably engage in a fist fight with each other to make sure they get it. The police would show up & comment that his UTE is “sweet mate”. Then the cyclists would be blamed for not wearing a helmet or that by wearing a skirt while cycling the young girl has contributed to the incident by distracting the driver. The driver would receive a small fine but there is no chance he would lose his licence. The incident would not make the media because no one was killed & our major cycling organizations would make some statement that this further support the need for MHLs. Yes indeed Australians rejoice for we are young & free (except when we choose to not wear a plastic skid lid).

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