Press release: 12.795-093/22

Fewer road fatalities in 2021, but all-time-high figures for injured cyclists

Vienna, 2022-04-28 – In 2021, 362 people were killed in road accidents, according to Statistics Austria. Thus, the number of traffic fatalities was significantly lower than in the years before the Corona pandemic, although 5% higher than in 2020 (344) with the lowest figure since records began in 1961 due to the pandemic. A further 40 889 people were injured in road accidents in 2021 (see Table 1). This is the equivalent of an average of 112 people injured per day, of which 19 people were seriously injured. In 2021, both the number of injured cyclists and the proportion of traffic fatalities attributable to truck accidents reached the highest level in the past 30 years.

Lockdowns also had a significant influence on road traffic accidents in 2021

During the lockdown at the beginning of 2021 (calendar weeks 1 to 5), the number of road traffic casualties decreased by 39% compared to the average of the comparable weeks in the pre-pandemic years 2017 to 2019. There were also measurably fewer casualties (-27%) during the "hard" lockdown in November and December (calendar weeks 47 to 49), as well as in calendar weeks 45 to 46 and 50 to 52, during the "lockdown for unvaccinated" (-24%). In contrast, the number of casualties in September 2021 increased by 12% compared to the average of September values from 2017 to 2019.

Highest number of injured cyclists in 30 years; twice as many e-bike fatalities as in 2019

50 cyclists were killed on Austria's roads in 2021. This is a quarter more than in 2020 (40 fatalities) and 52% more than in 2019 with 33 fatalities. A further 9 617 cyclists were injured (see Table 2), 3% more than in 2020, when already a peak was recorded. This means that never before in the past 30 years have so many people been injured while cycling as in 2021. More than a quarter of those injured while cycling in 2021 and half of all fatalities on the road by bicycle (24 fatalities) were on an e-bike. Compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019 (11 fatalities), the number of e-bike fatalities increased by 118%. 46% of all cyclist casualties occurred in single-vehicle accidents in which cyclists were also presumed as the main accident originators. The proportion of single vehicle accidents in e-bike accidents was even higher at 51%.

47% of the cyclists involved in accidents were wearing a helmet, with this proportion increasing in recent years (2018: 41%). The proportion varied greatly between the federal provinces (see Table 3) and the age groups. In Styria, 63% of cyclists involved in accidents were wearing a helmet, while the proportion was the lowest in Vorarlberg at only 32%. The age group over 85 was the least likely to use a helmet (27%), closely followed by 15 to 19 year olds (28%). This compares to 49% among 20 to 64 year olds.

Share of road fatalities in truck accidents higher than ever before

88 people died in accidents involving trucks in 2021, which means that a total of 24% of all traffic fatalities occurred in truck accidents. Never before in the past 30 years had this proportion been so high. The highest value was recorded in Vorarlberg with 62% (8 out of 13 fatalities), the lowest proportion with 16% in Carinthia (6 out of 38 fatalities). Of the total of 31 fatal accidents between a truck and a passenger car, 25 were caused by the driver of the passenger car (81%). In contrast, 70% of all fatal accidents between a truck and a bicycle or a pedestrian were caused by the driver of the truck. Ten pedestrians and ten cyclists were killed in these accidents.

For more detailed results and further information concerning statistics of road traffic accidents please refer to our website.

Information on methods, definitions: Statistics Austria has been compiling and publishing statistics on road traffic accidents with personal injury since 1961. The traffic accidents are recorded electronically by the police authorities and transmitted to Statistics Austria via a web service. 
Injury accident: any accident involving at least one road vehicle in motion on a public road, resulting in at least one injured or killed person.  
Casualties: include persons injured or killed in and as a result of an accident. 
Person killed: any person killed immediately or dying within 30 days as a result of an injury accident. 
The traffic unit "bicycle" also include e-bikes and electric scooters. 
Trucks refer to articulated vehicles "up to 3.5t" ("light trucks") and "over 3.5t" ("heavy trucks").  
The information on the "presumed main accident originator" is provided according to the estimation of the police bodies carrying out the registration of the accident.  
When analysing the accident figures in the course of the lockdowns - in order to be able to achieve comparability with previous years - the calendar weeks were used as comparison periods, even if the lockdowns did not always fall exactly into a calendar week. For the period in September, calendar weeks 36-38 were included in the evaluation.

Table 1: Accidents and casualties (injured or fatally injured) 2017 to 2021
Accidents and Casualties20172018201920202021Change 2021/2020 in %
Accidents37 40236 84635 73630 67032 774+6.9
Casualties47 67246 93445 55638 07441 251+8.3
  Of which injured  47 25846 52545 14037 73040 889+8.4
                 Fatally injured414409416344362+5.2
Table 2: Accidents and casualties (injured or fatally injured) 2021 by traffic unit
CasualtiesPedestriansBicycle1)MopedsMotorcyclePassenger carsTrucks2)OtherTotal
Casualties2 8549 6673 3723 75919 1111 2621 22641 251
  Of which injured  2 8179 6173 3593 68418 9501 2431 21940 889
                 Fatally injured37501375161197362
Table 3: Bicycle casualties, share of helmets used by federal province
 BurgenlandCarinthiaLower AustriaUpper AustriaSalzburgStyriaTyrolVorarlbergViennaAustria
Bicycle casualties1548081 5161 2809881 3761 3737321 4409 667
Of which used helmet 883886756554478696782365204 556
Helmet used in %

For further inquiries please contact Directorate Spatial Statistics, Statistics Austria:  
Brigitte ALLEX, Tel.: +43 1 71128-7553 resp. and 
Stefan ORTNER, Tel.: +43 1 71128-8037 resp.

Media owner, producer and publisher: 
STATISTICS AUSTRIA, Federal Institution under Public Law 
1110 Vienna, Austria, Guglgasse 13, Tel.: +43 1 71128-7777