Only person died on Oslo, Norway roads in 2019

One.

That was the number of traffic-related fatalities in Oslo, the capital city of Norway in 2019 – a first-ever fete recorded, even as road accident deaths climbed in the opposite direction in Kenyan cities.

According to official figures from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, no pedestrian, cyclist or child under the age of 16 died in traffic.

Local newspaper Aftenposten reported that the single fatality was recorded when a driver smashed his car into a fence in June.

There were only 110 deaths in the rest of the Nordic country with 5.3 million people, a rise from 108 in 2018.

Anders Hartmann, who works as an adviser at Oslo’s municipal authority department for environment and transport, said they were “making great progress, there is still a way to go to consistently keep deaths at zero for all road users.”

In comparison, at least one man dies every hour on Kenyan roads, according to a report by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) released in October 2019.

NTSA says 3,123 people were killed in road accidents from January to November 2019, compared to 2,743 in a similar period in 2018. That was an increase of 380.

The authority notes most victims were pedestrians at 1,206, followed by motorcyclists at 640, passengers (621) and drivers (298).

Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Nakuru, Kakamega, Makueni and Murang’a lead in the number of accidents, which according to research, largely happens on Sunday and Saturdays.

NTSA has not released the official statistics of the accidents recorded during the festive season but media report has highlighted tens of deaths, including early today when two people died in a car smash in Ugunja, Siaya County.

A screengrab of some of the latest road accident stories covered by Standard Digital

The horrid statistics continue to pile up despite stringent rules introduced by the government at the start of last year.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, in October 2019, bemoaned the numbers, saying, road accidents were the highest contributors to disability, health burden and poverty (through the loss of breadwinners).

“The economic cost of road crashes is three to five per cent of our Gross Domestic Product or Sh300 billion annually,” he said.

His ministry in the same month ordered NTSA back on the roads, 10 months after President Uhuru Kenyatta withdrew the officers from Kenyan highways.

Oslo success story

The city, with around 650,000 people, in 2002 introduced a number of regulations to curb the road accidents in a plan called Vision Zero.
It reduced speed limits, barred cars from certain areas, expanded its bicycle network, and added traffic calming measures around schools.

Over 700 parking spots were last year replaced with bike lanes, plants, little parks and benches. The city is now very friendly towards cycling and walking.

It also made public transport efficient by adding more trams and metro lines and reduced the ticket prices to encourage people to ditch their personal cars.

Vision Zero has been adopted by European Union members, including the United Kingdom.

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