Fatalities on local roads fell last year for the first time since 2012

New Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) figures have shown that 50 deaths were recorded on Northern Ireland’s roads last year – six less compared to 2020.

Of that total, twenty were motorists, fourteen were motorcyclists, eight were pedestrians and seven were passengers in a vehicle. No pillion passenger or cyclist deaths occured over the last 12 months.

The highest number of fatalities were recorded during the month of December, with nine people losing their lives as a result of road traffic collisions, the PSNI has said.

And in the 12 months to August 31 last year, 452 people were seriously injured – an increase from 383 for the same period in 2020. A final total is expected to be confirmed in Spring time.

Following publication of the statistics, Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Minister expressed frustration that numbers remained stubbornly high despite traffic volumes being stymied for the initial part of 2021 due to COVID lockdown restrictions.

Nichola Mallon is appealing to road users to exercise responsibility, and to behave in a safe and considerate manner. “I am acutely aware that too many people have tragically lost their lives on our roads in this past year, and many hundreds more have suffered serious injuries,” said the Minister.

“My sincere sympathies go to those families, their friends and wider communities who are going through this bereavement; and to those who endure life-changing injuries as a consequence of a road traffic collision; all whose lives have now changed forever.

“It is disheartening that, with less traffic on our roads this year again so many people have sadly lost their lives on our roads. Recent events show us how quickly normal life can turn to tragedy in the blink of an eye.

“What is particularly shocking this year is the high number of motorcyclists’ deaths – 14 motorcyclists died in 2021, compared to eight last year and three in 2019,” she continued.

While reiterating her commitment to engagement and enforcement, the Minister said road safety rested heavily with motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“The evidence continues to show us that most road deaths are avoidable, as more than nine in ten deaths and serious injuries are due to human error,” she said. “However we choose to travel, each one of us has a responsibility to ourselves and others to do so safely.

“If we all take that extra second on our journey to consider our actions as we walk, wheel, cycle, ride or drive, we could see a further reduction in the number of people being killed or seriously injured.

“As we begin 2022 with hope, I ask all road users to follow these four basic rules: slow down, pay attention, never drive having taken alcohol or drugs and always wear your seatbelt, however short your journey.”

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