Streets aren’t safe, data and a recent study show

Who has a greater right to move safely along a street — an 8-year-old child on a €30 scooter or an adult man in a €30,000 vehicle who considers Estonia’s climate too cold for biking? The answer: everyone has the right to safe mobility in public spaces. But in reality?

Last year, a total of nine people died and 134 people were injured in traffic crashes involving motor vehicles in Tallinn. The streets of Tallinn are safe for children so long as they remain at home or ride in cars — so indicate the results of “Children’s accessibility to public space and services” (link in Estonian), a recent study commissioned by the Estonian government and Ministry of Social Affairs and conducted by the Center for Applied Anthropology of Estonia (CAAE). The core message of the recently published study? Tallinn is not, nor do children themselves feel that Tallinn is, safe for kids.

Sticking to traveling by car is an understandable and natural reaction on parents’ part to the increasingly motorized city created by the city government. How else should one get around such a city? There are no safe opportunities to get around it by bike.

Helsinki, Oulu, and Oslo have achieved “Vision Zero,” in which not a single traffic death is recorded all year. Vision Zero, or a target of zero traffic-related fatalities, has been adopted as a clear goal and priority by several cities. Tallinn, meanwhile, has refused to do so, even in its “Tallinn 2035” strategy.