Dávid Vitézy, previous chief of BKK, has plans to introduce his Vision Zero Budapest program on Oslo’s example. Thanks to the significant decreasing of traffic in the Norwegian capital, the number of fatal victims of road accidents has dropped to almost zero. Almost 50 people die from road accidents in Budapest each year.

While in 1975 there were 41 people killed in road accidents, in 2019 one person died because of them, who drove his minivan into the railing next to the tram stop in Oslo, Vitézy wrote in a Facebook post, based on an Aftenposten article. It was the first time since WWII that no one from the group most affected by road accidents – children under 15, a single cyclist, a single pedestrian – was a victim of one in Norway’s capital in 2019. They are the ones most endangered by the car-centric city developments, because of the missing crosswalks, sidewalks, cyclist lanes, too high-speed limits and wide lanes. 35-40 per cent of victims in Hungary are either pedestrians or cyclists, while accidents are caused by passenger vehicle drivers 85 per cent of the time, reports Index.

According to Vitézy, Oslo’s low number of victims is due to their active decrease of traffic, the goal of which is specifically to lower the number of fatal and seriously injured victims of road accidents to zero. Many cities call this the Vision Zero project. Many roads were blocked off from cars in Oslo to achieve this, and in their place pedestrian streets and bicycle lanes were built. Seven hundred parking spaces in streets were removed from the capital, recognising that cheap public parking is part of the problem. The prices were raised. Passing traffic was mostly pushed out of the city centre, and the freed space was used to build new bus lanes and safer bicycle lanes, in just a few years. On main roads, the speed limits were lowered. Drivers pay more attention, drive more slowly and defensively on roads that do not tempt them to speed.

The decrease of traffic in Budapest is usually brought up in relation with environment protection and climate change, although the lowering of the number of accidents and number of fatal or seriously injured victims should be just as significant. The roads, the distribution of public places, the width of lanes, properly wide bicycle lanes all play into how safe the city is, and how tempted people are to get into their cars, and if they do, how tempted they are to speed.
According to KSH’s 2019 data, while Budapest is only 2.5 times bigger than Oslo, the number of people who died on the roads was 35 times higher in the first three quarters of the year than in Norway’s capital. In 2018 there were 49 people killed on the roads and 819 who were seriously injured. Vienna is similar in size to Budapest, but the number of victims was a third of the Hungarian capital’s. One in 36,000 people die in road accidents, that means people from Budapest are twice more likely to die so than Londoners, three times more likely than Viennese people and 20 times more likely than the people of Oslo. Vitézy believes it is time to start the Vision Zero Budapest project.

Source: https://index.hu/

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