Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen: more European infra funds to cyclist and pedestrian safety

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) wants Europe to allocate more infra funds to the protection of the most vulnerable traffic participants, i.e., cyclists and pedestrians. The Minister tabled this today in Ljubljana (Slovenia) during the European Ministers’ conference on investments in the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). 

EU Commissioner Bulc and Dutch Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen shaking hands at TEN-Tdays in Ljubljana, Slovenia

The European Commission has set aside a sum of €24 billion for investments that will improve the European road, rail, and waterways network in the period of 2014-2020. Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen wants to target a greater proportion of these funds to cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure. ‘Additional investment is needed to improve road safety in Europe. Furthermore, we can use these funds to encourage more people to walk or cycle in busy urban areas. This will also enhance the liveability of cities.’

Improving road safety is one of the spearheads of the European Commission. EU Commissioner Bulc is working on a new set of mobility measures which feature road safety as a key component. In 2016, Europe saw 25,500 road fatalities, and serious traffic injuries number 135,000 per annum.

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen gives priority to the improvement of road safety, focusing special attention on cyclists and pedestrians. Data published by Statistics Netherlands this week shows a decline in overall traffic fatalities last year, whereas the number of fatal accidents among cyclists has increased.

During the TEN-T Days in Slovenia, Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen also made a case for improving international rail connections, in order to encourage travellers to take the train rather than an airplane for shorter distances.