Accidents between Prague trams and pedestrians decreased by almost half in 2020

For the first time in the last 15 years there were no fatalities, but safety efforts to reduce accidents will continue.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 12.01.2021 13:50 (updated on 12.01.2021)

Accidents between Prague trams and pedestrians fell significantly in 2020. The Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) registered 47 incidents last year, a decrease of almost 50 percent compared to 2019. The vast majority ended up with minor pedestrian injuries and only three with severe ones.

More positive news is that last year, for the first time in began 15 years, not a single collision with a tram ended in a pedestrian’s death.

The long-term safety campaign “Don't jump under my wheels!" helped to draw attention to the issue that pedestrians need to be mindful of trams. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to the drop, as there was a decrease in people using public transport, reduced tram schedules, and a lower number of tourists in Prague.

DPP has been closely monitoring tram collisions with pedestrians for 15 years. In the long run, it turns out that children are more attentive and cautious than adults. Among adults, women are more careful than men.

Of all 47 pedestrian and tram accidents last year, only three involved children. Of the 44 involving adults, almost 62 percent involved men. That was almost 10 percentage points more than in 2019. Last year, men were involved in 29 cases and women only in 15. In addition, women last year saw the largest improvement in the number of accidents, almost 60 percent fewer than in 2019.

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Despite Prague seeing a significant drop in foreign tourists last year, DPP recorded 11 cases of accidents between trams and foreigners, only eight (or 42 percent) fewer than in 2019.

“No deaths and half the injuries after tram collisions with pedestrians is a great result, even though the effects of the corona crisis helped us in part,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě), who is also chairman of the DPP supervisory board, said in a press release.

“We would like the zero in the death column to remain in this statistic for years to come,” he added.

Scheinherr said the city does everything to ensure that Prague’s public transport is not only comfortable, clean and user-friendly, but also safe in all respects. “Last year's results are a motivation to always look for new ways to protect pedestrians,” he added.

A woman crosses the tram tracks next to a safety warning sign. (photo: Raymond Johnston)
A woman crosses the tram tracks next to a safety warning sign. (photo: Raymond Johnston)

The city together with DPP this year will test a new generation of anti-collision systems. “We are also preparing a special application for avid smartphone users, because their inattention and perception of the surrounding world is the most common cause of accidents,” he said.

Petr Witowski, chairman of the board and CEO of DPP, said he was pleased that they are gradually succeeding in reducing the number of tram accidents involving pedestrians.

“This ultimately means fewer injured and killed, fewer people with lasting consequences and lifelong tragedies in families,” he said.

There were 105 accidents in 2018, which was reduced in 2019 to 87 and last year to 47.

"In 2018, eight people died after collisions with trams, the year before last there were three, and last year for the first time in 15 years of keeping these statistics, not a single person, which I consider a small miracle,” he said.

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“Undoubtedly, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to this. However, I am convinced that our long-term campaign and greater education of passengers, and last but not least the attention and foresight of our drivers, as well as their training, have contributed to the good results,” he said.

“I call on all road users, not just pedestrians: please be careful when crossing tram tracks. Never confront a tram!” he added

DPP in cooperation with the city, safety organization BESIP, the Czech Police and regional transit organizer ROPID will continue the “Don't jump under my wheels!" campaign that was launched in July 2019.

The most common cause of pedestrian accidents with trams is inattention. The main culprit is watching the displays of various devices while walking. Another cause is headphones, since people do not hear the bell signal of the oncoming tram. Failure to correctly estimate the distance and braking time of an arriving tram also causes accidents when the pedestrian tries to cross while a tram is approaching.