60,000 accidents at intersections in three years; fatalities on the rise

In the past three years there were over 60 thousand traffic accidents at intersections in the Netherlands. A total of 476 of these accidents proved fatal, and people were injured in nearly 16 thousand accidents, reports RTL Nieuws. The broadcaster conducted its own analysis of police and Rijkswaterstaat data of over 250 thousand road accidents in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

People died in 172 accidents at intersections last year, 25 more than in 2016. The majority of fatal accidents happened within built-up areas where many different road users come together. More than half of the fatal accidents involved cyclists. ​Noord-Brabant counted the most fatal accidents at road crossings in the past three years at 95. The most accidents in which people were injured happened in Zuid-Holland. 

Bert van Wee, professor of transport policy at TU Delft, called the increase in fatal accidents at intersections significant. "It is so big that it can no longer be explained by chance alone. Something must be wrong", he said to RTL. The exact cause of the increase will have to be investigated. "It could be that cyclists, for example, use their smartphone more often. It is also possible that motorists drive faster at a number of points, but we don't know that yet."

He believes intersections can be made safer by reducing the maximum speed limits within built-up areas. "If you can reduce the speed of traffic, you will see that there are far fewer fatal accidents." Another problem is that the traffic rules around intersections are not uniformly implemented across the country. "We have guidelines in the Netherlands for the design, so that they are recognizable. For example, where cyclists should be given priority and where not. Unfortunately, they are not used everywhere. The whole of the Netherlands is full of examples of where there is a lack of clarity."

142 intersections in the Netherlands had 10 or more accidents or more than six injuries over the past three years. These crossings are therefore considered black spots. The crossing of Bornholmstraat and Kotkastraat in the city of Groningen had the most accidents, at least 30.