The corona pandemic caused the number of traffic accidents and the number of people killed and injured to fall to an all-time low in may.
In view of the low volume of traffic, there were 23 percent fewer accidents than in the previous year, at 181,000, according to the federal statistical office in wiesbaden on friday. According to preliminary results, 237 people died in these accidents, around six percent fewer than in may of the previous year – and the lowest level in 30 years. The same applies to the number of injured, which fell by 16 percent to around 27,600.
In april, the number of accidents had already fallen to the lowest level since reunification in 1990, as fewer people were on the roads due to home offices and distance learning. The number of accidents in the month was even more than a third lower than in april 2019. However, the number of traffic fatalities had hardly moved yet. In march, too, the corona restrictions had led to fewer accidents.
In general, fewer and fewer serious accidents have been happening for years, also thanks to modern technology such as assistance systems. However, this does not apply to the growing volume of bicycle traffic, which cannot benefit from the corona-induced decline either. The latest available detailed figures on traffic accidents from april even show an increase in the number of serious accidents: the number of cyclists killed rose from 40 to 45, while the number of people seriously injured increased by 235 to 1,625.
The construction of safer cycle paths must be accelerated, said the head of accident research at the german insurance association (GDV), siegfried brockmann, in view of the figures. Intersections and entrances and exits were among the accident blackspots. It was also problematic when bike lanes passed parked cars because car lanes could suddenly open up and the view was generally blocked.
One cause of the increase could also be that during the corona period, more unaccustomed people switched to bicycles, for example to avoid public transport for fear of contracting the virus. "There is talk of a real run from the bicycle stores," said brockmann. Even previous car drivers now bought pedelecs with battery support and, wrongly, felt as safe on them as they did in their cars.
The general german bicycle club (ADFC) also renews its call for rapid expansion of cycle paths. They had to be separated from the other lanes, and special attention had to be paid to intersections and junctions. In the current year, 19 cyclists had already been killed by turning trucks.