Italy is not a bike-friendly country

12 September 2023

Italy is not a bike-friendly country: we have the highest number of deaths per kilometer in Europe.

Cruising around the city on a bicycle, and perhaps using it for commuting to work or school, can be incredibly rewarding: it's cost-effective, environmentally friendly, eliminates the hassle of parking, and promotes good health. However, it only truly benefits you if you return home safe and sound, and unfortunately, Italy is not a safe haven for cyclists.

In Milan alone, since the beginning of the year, five cyclists have tragically lost their lives due to collisions with heavy vehicles. When we look at the entire country, an alarming statistic emerges: 5.1 cyclists die for every 100 million kilometers traveled by bike, as reported in 2022 by PATH (Partnership for Active Travel and Health). This might seem like a small number, but it's far from insignificant, especially when compared to other major European countries. No other nation on the continent performs worse than us; for instance, in France, the figure stands at 2.9 deaths per the same distance, while in Austria and Belgium, it's 2.5. Things improve in Ireland (1.9), Switzerland, and Finland (1.6). Sweden, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands, on the other hand, seem like cycling paradises, with death rates ranging from 0.9 to 1.1 for every 100 million kilometers.

Our country is also unsafe for pedestrians, not just cyclists: in 2021, there were over 700 casualties among pedestrians and cyclists out of a total of 2,875 road accident victims, roughly 25%. Identifying a problem naturally leads to seeking solutions, and when it comes to bicycles, what's needed are more dedicated bike lanes separated from motor vehicles. Several cities are also experimenting with reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h in central urban areas (Bologna became a "City 30" in 2023), another initiative that appears to decrease the number of accidents involving vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

Yesterday news - Cyclist hit by a car: in critical condition

Another serious accident occurred in Milan yesterday afternoon, where a 55-year-old cyclist was hit by a car. The collision took place on Via Ascanio Sforza, near civic number 73, and according to initial investigations by the local police, the woman was traveling in the same direction as the vehicle that struck her from behind. She was assisted by an ambulance and a medical car and was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

Following numerous fatal accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists being hit by heavy vehicles, a measure from the Milan city council has been enacted. Starting from October 1st, the circulation of heavy vehicles without blind-spot detection sensors in their mirrors will be prohibited in Milan. This decision amends the regulations for Area B, the large restricted traffic zone covering almost the entire city, and enforces the access ban for vehicles weighing over 3.5 tons that do not have blind-spot detection systems.


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