Biel, also known in French as Bienne, is famous for being a bilingual (German-French) city, as well as being home to the headquarters of Swatch, the world’s largest watch company.
But statistics from the federal roads office released this week give it another reason to stand out: the city in the canton of Bern recorded the highest number of motor vehicle accidents leading to injuries or deaths on a per capita basis.
Biel registered 150 accidents per 50,000 residents in 2013, ahead of Geneva (147) and considerably higher than the average of 121 for the country’s biggest cities, including Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, Bern, Winterthur, Lucerne, Saint Gallen and Lugano.
Geneva topped the list for number of people injured or killed with 178 per 50,000 residents. ahead of Bienne (173) and comparing with an average of 142.
The numbers showed Basel (84 accidents) had the safest record, followed by Saint Gallen (85).
Overall, the roads office said the number of serious road accidents was lower in 2013 than the average for the four previous years.
Lucerne, which had the worst average record from 2009-12 of 187 serious accidents and 220 victims, recorded fewer accidents last year (134) leading to a reduction in victims (158).
Geneva was the only city to see its safety record deteriorate over the past five years, according to the figures.
When it came to victims from accidents involving alcohol, Lugano in the canton of Ticino had the highest number last year (25 per 50,000 residents), ahead of Geneva (23) and Lausanne (22).
Saint Gallen had the lowest number of victims from drink-driving crashes at seven.
For pedestrian safety, Winterthur had the fewest rate of accidents, followed by Bern.