More lives lost on Victorian roads in 2021

Lives lost on roads across the state ticked upwards by 13% in 2021 for a total of 239.

Eleven of those involved people on bikes, down from 14 the previous year and just above the 5-year rolling average of 10.

Deaths involving bikes were well down across most of Australia last year despite many new riders taking up the pursuit during COVID.

According to the official statistics, the year-on-year increase was primarily impacted by an increase in the number of lives lost on metropolitan roads, where there were 117 deaths compared with 84 in 2020.

There was also an increase in single vehicle fatal crashes, which accounted for 46 lives lost, compared with 33 last year.

Despite the state-wide increase, regional Victoria recorded its second-lowest number of lives lost on record with 119 deaths compared with 126 in 2020.

The Government says crashes on high-speed roads continued to be a challenge in regional Victoria where people are often driving longer distances and fatigue is too often fatal.

A total of 36 people died while not wearing a seat belt, well up on the five-year average (23), while 96 fatalities were in vehicles more than 10 years old that often lack the modern safety features known to save lives.

A total of 20 pedestrians in metropolitan Melbourne and nine in regional Victoria lost their lives, while motorcyclist deaths increased to 41 (from 32 in 2020) and were equal with the five-year average, with 26 of these occurring on metropolitan roads.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll said: “Far too many families feel the pain of losing a loved one or having their lives changed forever due to serious injury, which is why we’re continuing to make significant investment in education, technology, infrastructure and vehicle safety to end road trauma.”

“We have looked out for each other over the last two years and now as Victorians enjoy travelling and the holidays in the new year let’s carry that attitude with us and help each other stay safe by being calm and taking it easy on the roads.”

Transport Accident Commission CEO Joe Calafiore said: “Victoria’s road safety agencies are working together to protect Victorian road users and will continue rolling out the measures required to achieve this, but we can’t do it alone - everyone has a role to play in keeping our roads safe.”

“Whether you’re driving, riding or crossing the road, please make the right choices – pay extra attention, share the road safely, click in your seat belt, stick to the speed limit and don’t drive drunk or on drugs.”

All of the bike fatalities in Victoria were men, mostly over 50 years in age, and there was a cluster of incidents between the hours of 2pm and 4pm across the year. Not all fatal crashes involved motor vehicles.

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