The European Transport Safety Council has urged local authorities to consider a restriction on SUVs around town and city centres in order to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

The Brussels-based thinktank has highlighted that at least 51,300 pedestrians and 19,450 cyclists were killed on EU roads between 2010 and 2018, with fatal accidents involving cyclists falling eight times more slowly than vehicle occupant fatalities.

A report issued by the ETSC says that cities ‘could also consider introducing access restrictions for cars considered to present a high risk to pedestrians and cyclists,’ adding that ‘the risk of severe injury or death for a pedestrian is higher in collisions with Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and vans compared to passenger cars’. The group states that SUVs’ higher bumpers and heavier weight have a great influence in severe collisions.

The number of people killed in a vehicle fell by 3.1 per cent a year between those years, while cyclist fatalities dropped by just 0.4 per cent. Cyclist and pedestrian fatalities make up 29 per cent of all recorded road deaths in the EU, while 99 per cent of pedestrian deaths and 83 per cent of cyclist fatalities are caused by cars.

Graziella Jost, projects director at ETSC, said: “The EU is facing a multitude of challenges: the climate emergency, road deaths and serious injuries, air pollution, and obesity.

“Policies that improve the safety of cycling and walking can also make a major contribution to tackling all these challenges. Some EU countries, the Netherlands and Denmark in particular, are showing the way forward. If they can do it, so can the rest of the EU.”