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Cars and Transportation

Deaths on German roads increased in 2018

July 10, 2019

Road deaths in Germany increased in 2018 after two years of decline. The largest increase was among cyclists, and with the introduction of e-scooters, advocacy groups are calling for change.

A real car crash on the autobahn
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Wiesbaden112.de/S. Stenzel

A total of 3,275 people died in road accidents in Germany in 2018, 95 more than the previous year, according to Germany's Federal Statistics Office. 

This 3% annual rise in road fatalities is the first increase after two years of decline. A further 396,000 people were injured in traffic accidents in 2018, an increase of 5,706 cases. 

Overall, the number of road deaths fell by 10.2% between 2010 and 2018. Road deaths reached a 60-year low in 2017. 

Passenger car occupants accounted for 43.5% of all road deaths in Germany last year, with 1,424 people killed in cars in 2018. A further 697 deaths were people on motorcycles, and there were 174 fatalities of occupants of goods road transport vehicles.

A total of 458 pedestrians died in road accidents in 2018, while another 77 people died in other accidents, such as bus passengers (9) and people using agricultural tractors (20).

Rural roads accounted for 24.3% of all accidents, but these accounted for 57% of all fatal accidents. Meanwhile, 6.7% of all accidents and 12.9% of all fatal accidents occurred on motorways.

Rise in cyclist deaths

The largest increase in deaths last year was among cyclists. According to the statistics office, 445 cyclists died in accidents in 2018, a 16.8% increase over 2017.

The German Cyclist Association (ADFC) said on Tuesday that accidents involving two-wheeled traffic could continue to increase in 2019, citing increasing congestion on cycling paths and recently approved e-scooters.

"It is irresponsible to have more and more vehicles on miserable cycling lanes without adapting the infrastructure to increasing demand," ADFC head Burkhard Stork said in a statement from the association.

The German Road Safety Council (DVR) has called on local authorities to invest more in road safety. DVR president Walter Eichendorf said that authorities have to think of weaker road users when planning new roads.

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