When comparing the ranking of the Netherlands in number of road deaths for the most important transport modes to the five European countries with the lowest mortality rates (see the question How does the Dutch number of road deaths compare to the numbers elsewhere? ), the Netherlands performs relatively well as far as motor cyclists and pedestrians are concerned, but are at the bottom of the list where (light) moped riders and cyclists are concerned.
Figure 5. Number of road deaths for six modes of transport per million inhabitants, in the top five countries and the Netherlands. Averages over 2015-2018 (Norway: 2014-2017). Sources: Statistics Netherlands and CARE (deaths), Eurostat (population), consulted October 2020.
It is not yet clear why the mortality rate of (light) moped riders is higher in the Netherlands than in the other well-performing countries. There are several possible reasons, such as differences in the number of (light) mopeds, in the number of kilometres travelled, in type of usage (for example in or outside the urban area), in regulations (for example road position, helmets not being mandatory for light moped riders), or in road user groups (for example children, older road users).
As can be seen in Figure 5, mortality among cyclists is significantly higher in the Netherlands than in the other well-performing countries. Even when comparing mortality among cyclists to that in a larger number of countries, the Netherlands is right at the bottom of the list.
Figure 6. Number of road deaths among cyclists per million inhabitants, averages over 2015-2018 (Norway 2014-2017). Sources: Statistics Netherlands and CARE (deaths), Eurostat (population), consulted October 2020.
In the Netherlands, cyclists heavily contribute to the lack of road safety: in 2019 almost one third of the number of road deaths were cyclists (see SWOV fact sheet Road deaths in the Netherlands). The low mortality ranking of the Netherlands may partly be explained by the fact that the Dutch cycle more than the inhabitants of most other European countries. When we adjust the numbers for the number of kilometres cycled, the Dutch ranking is somewhat better: sixth out of ten countries for which this information is available and comparable. On the basis of the available data, it is hard to determine unequivocally why countries such as Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Belgium still outperform the Netherlands. Possible explanations may be differences in the average age of cyclists and in helmet usage.
Figure 7. Number of cyclist fatalities per billion kilometres cycled (averages 2015-2018, Norway 2014-2017). Sources: Statistics Netherlands and CARE (deaths), ETSC (bicycle kilometres ). In addition, Norway, Germany and Switzerland supplied data about cyclist mobility.