Spain’s Minister has announced a 20% cut in urban road casualties in just one year.

In 2021, 417 people died on urban roads, 102 fewer fatalities than in 2019. This is a reduction in mortality of 20% in a single year, an unprecedented improvement.

Bringing in a 30 kph (20mph) speed limit is cited as the main factor in the change.

20 mph limits save lives

The decrease in deaths in cities has been reflected in vulnerable users. There has been a 34% reduction in cyclists, 31% in deaths over 64 years of age, 26% in pedestrians and 17% in motorcyclists

In 2021, 417 people died and another 4,142 were seriously injured in traffic accidents on urban roads. The figures represent 20% fewer deaths and 4% fewer hospitalisations due to injury compared to 2019, pre-Covid lockdowns.

Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, presented the results in Toledo together.

“417 deaths is an unaffordable number, and we are going to continue working to reduce that figure, but 102 fewer deaths than in 2019 represent an enormous amount of suffering saved”.

He added that “this significant reduction” coincided with the introduction of  “the speed limit of only 30 kilometers per hour”.

Crunching numbers

The 20% decrease in deaths has been reflected above all in the statistics of vulnerable users, particularly those over 64 years of age, as detailed below:

  • vulnerable users . Significant decrease in pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists killed. The only mode of travel in which fatalities have increased has been in tourism, going from 62 deaths in 2019 to 66 in 2021.
    • Pedestrians : Pedestrian deaths decreased by 26%. Specifically, there were 183 deaths, 64 fatalities less than in 2019.
    • Cyclists : The number of cyclists killed is reduced by 34%. In 2021 there were 21 deceased bike users compared to 32 in 2019, 11 less.
    • Motorcyclists : 123 motorcycle users died last year, 25 fewer motorcyclists (-17%) than in 2019.
    • These figures, better than those of 2019, are above the European average in the case of pedestrians and motorists. In Spain, pedestrians killed by accidents in the city represent 44%, while the average for the European Union is 37%.

      This same situation occurs with deceased motorcyclists, which in Spain represent 29% of the total number of deaths in cities, while the community average is 18%.

      On the other hand, in Spain the percentage of cyclists killed in the city is 5%, compared to 14% in which the community average is located.

  • 31% fewer deaths over 64 years of age . It is the age group that has registered the greatest decrease during the past year, 155 deaths in 2021 compared to 225 fatalities in 2019.



You can read a more detailed report here by 20sPlenty