Lockdown and the restrictions on mobility during the Covid-19 health crisis helped bring road accident figures down by 38% in 2020. There was also a 30% drop in serious injuries, along with 36.36% fewer traffic fatalities in the city than the previous year. To raise public awareness about the consequences of infringements and distractions, the City Council and the City Police have launched a road safety campaign using footage of real accidents, in collaboration with the associations P(A)T and Stop Accidents.
There were 5,715 road accidents with victims injured or killed in Barcelona in 2020, an average of 15 accidents a day, with motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists the most vulnerable. Half of traffic fatalities in 2020 were motorcyclists (7), along with four pedestrians, one cyclist, one vehicle driver and one driver of a personal mobility vehicle.
Out of the five thousand plus accidents, 155 resulted in people sustaining serious injuries, a figure 30.8% lower than the previous year and the lowest in the last sixteen years. Most of those who were seriously injured were motorcyclists (73) or pedestrians (32).
In terms of vehicles involved in road accidents, this figure was down by 42.87%, from 18,975 in 2019 to 10,841 in 2020. These were mainly:
- Cars: 3,892
- Motorbikes: 3,600
- Vans: 815
- Bicycles: 618
- Mopeds: 489
- Personal mobility vehicles (electric hand-scooters): 478
Worth noting is the increase in the number of personal mobility vehicles involved in accidents, rising from 2.6% in 2019 to a total of 4,415 in 2020.
Accident by name, incident by nature
Most traffic accidents, originating with motor vehicles, were caused by distractions or carelessness, rather than entirely accidental circumstances. The three main causes of accidents in 2020 were a lack of attention at the wheel (1,300 cases), not respecting safety distances between vehicles (803) and improper turns (673). Other causes were skipping traffic lights (444), changing lanes without proper care (508), not respecting pedestrian crossings (214) and undue care when joining traffic in a road (221).
The main causes of accidents directly resulting from carelessness by pedestrians continues to be not respecting traffic lights (160 cases) and crossing roads away from pedestrian crossings (103).
In terms of indirect causes of road accidents, alcohol was the main cause in 2020, being a factor in 204 accidents (2.8% of the total). The City Police conducted over 30,000 breathalyser tests, with 4,966 of them positive. The police also brought criminal proceeding for reckless driving in 41 cases, plus 1,213 for driving without a licence.
Public awareness campaign ‘That’s not accidental’
Barcelona City Council and the City Police have started the public awareness campaign ‘That’s not accidental’, showing the main causes of avoidable traffic accidents and their consequences through real footage of accidents in the city. The campaign is being conducted with the help of the associations STOP Accidents and P(A)T.
The initiative is one of the measures to improve road safety, reduce accidents and plan mobility included in the City Council’s Local Road Safety Plan 2019-2022 and the strategy to introduce 30 km/h speed limits in most city streets.