Figure: Road traffic accident deaths in Helsinki 1960–2019

No pedestrian fatalities in Helsinki traffic last year

In 2019, there were no pedestrian fatalities in road traffic in the capital city. Precise statistics on accidents have been kept since 1960, and during this time, there have been zero years in which there were no pedestrian lives lost in traffic. 

When it comes to all methods of travel, the accident statistics are not as good: in 2019, three people died in traffic in Helsinki – one car driver and two motorcyclists. It should be noted that this is the best year in the period under review, with the exception of 2016, when three people also died in traffic. 

More than 400 people were injured in traffic in Helsinki in 2019, of whom almost 80 were pedestrians. Many less serious injuries are never reported to the police, which may affect the statistics. Pedestrians slipping and falling are not recorded as traffic accidents.

The number of people who have died in traffic in Helsinki has decreased significantly over the past few decades. In the 1980s and up until the beginning of the 1990s, there were approximately 20–30 deaths each year. After this, the number of deaths started to decline significantly. In the 2010s, on average seven people a year died in traffic in Helsinki. Most of the fatalities have been pedestrians almost every year. In the course of the current practice of recording statistics, the worst year was 1965 – 84 people died in traffic in Helsinki. 

Positive development backed by several factors

“The improvement in traffic safety is the sum of several factors. Traffic safety has improved due to betterments to the street environment, increasing traffic control, the development of vehicle safety measures and technology, and the development of rescue services. Reducing speed limits has also been a key factor,” says City of Helsinki traffic engineer Jussi Yli-Seppälä.

Helsinki decided to lower speed limits in 2018, and the new limits took force last year. Currently, the speed limit on streets in residential areas and the city centre is primarily 30 km/h. The speed limit on main streets is 50 km/h in suburban areas and 40 km/h in the inner city.

The City will start installing 70 new traffic control cameras and making alterations aimed at improving the safety of pedestrian crossings in the most dangerous locations this year. 

The information on traffic accident victims is based on traffic accidents reported to the police. The information for 2019 is only preliminary, and may change.

Read more:

Graph: Road traffic accident deaths in Helsinki in 1960–2019 (pdf)

Statistics Finland statistics on road traffic accidents