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Bilbao’s traffic calming as a European example to improve urban road safety.

A fast driving blue speeding truck with motion blur effect near the traffic sign limiting the maximum speed to 30 kph

On 4 October 2021, the European Parliament debated a report on the EU Road Safety Policy Framework for 2021-2030. The framework includes a series of recommendations on the next steps to be taken at the European, national, regional, and local level to move towards the so-called "Vision Zero", eradicating road deaths and serious injuries. Every year in the European Union, there are one million road and urban accidents. In 2019, these accidents resulted in 23,000 deaths and 120,000 serious injuries.

Basque MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (EAJ-PNV) has encouraged the European Union to strengthen its commitment to promote road safety in urban areas by using the example of Bilbao. The Biscayan capital won European recognition this spring for being the first city of its size to introduce a speed limit to 30 km/h in the entire city centre, which has reduced the accident rate by 30%. Similarly, she called for zero tolerance towards drunk or drugged drivers and a productive connection between vehicles and infrastructures thanks to digitalisation.

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, a member of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee, insisted on the need for trans-European transport networks to speed up digitalisation as a road safety tool. At a time when European legislation is forcing vehicles to incorporate automated safety equipment, a parallel effort must be made in infrastructures because "a productive connection between infrastructures and vehicles will make roads safer and will provide us with a lot of information for further improvement. These are the regulatory and financial commitments that the Union can make towards road safety, which needs better indicators and more coordination between the authorities of the member states".

Finally, the Jeltzale representative called for a special effort to be made in cities, which are undergoing a profound transformation in terms of mobility in which walking and cycling play an increasing role. "In this environment, she concluded, it is urgent to protect pedestrians and cyclists better to promote more sustainable mobility safely. Bilbao, awarded a prize by the Commission for being the first European city to implement a 30 per hour limit throughout the city centre, has avoided in one year with this and other measures, one in three accidents that were recorded on its streets".