450 Child Bike Ped Deaths per Year Drove Decades of Reforms in Holland
In the late 1960's & '70's, the Netherlands was far from the pedestrian and bicycling mecca it is today. As documented by SNOV of NL in Road deaths in the Netherlands (2015), road deaths totaled well above 3200 per year at the peak of the traffic carnage (see multi-decadal charts, figures 5 & 6). The first depicts annual fatalities by cause of crash. The second shows the age distribution of each year's road deaths. In 1972 NL's population was 13.33 million; in 2015 its population was 16.96 M, or almost 1/3 more.
The bar graphs' time lines tell the story of incredible improvement in road safety, one that is all the more impressive because actual deaths and injuries from motor vehicle crashes fell dramatically despite population growth.
NL's Stop de Kindermoord movement can help put our contemporary challenges into perspective and demonstrates that activist mobilization is essential to achieve improved road policy, enforcement, infrastructure, and culture change. Hopefully our work will be as successful but without such transitional suffering.
Here is a sampling from the press & Wikipedia which recounts that struggle:
Cycling the city - How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world
In the 1960s, Dutch cities were increasingly in thrall to motorists, with the car seen as the transport of the future. It took the intolerable toll of child traffic deaths – and fierce activism – to turn Amsterdam into the cycling nirvana of today
The most authoritative report may be the one in Wikipedia titled Stop de Kindermoord, but, well, it's all in Dutch..., viz:
In this article, a Brit considers the NL experience, and compares it to UK now, especially with regard to school aged children:
A view from the cycle path: Stop the Child Murder
Cycling in the Netherlands