There has been a worrying rise in the number of motorcycle and pedal cycle casualties and also pedestrian and pedal cycle fatalities on Scotland’s roads, according to the latest figures released by Transport Scotland.
The Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2012 statistics give provisional indications on the number of road injury accidents and casualties that were reported to the police throughout the year.
Overall fall in road casualty figures
The figures show that there were 12,575 reported road casualties in 2012, (202 or 2% fewer than 2011), the lowest figure recorded. A breakdown of this figure reveals that there were:
Overall, there was a drop in the number of car user casualties - 7,577, down 3%. Of these, 72 were killed (17 fewer than in 2011) and 836 were seriously injured (80 more than in 2011).
There was also a welcome drop in the number of bus and coach casualties. These fell 13% in 2012 to stand at 439, including one fatality and 43 serious injuries (eight less than in 2011).
Rise in injuries to vulnerable road users
However, although the overall casualty rate continues to drop, the number of injuries and fatalities suffered by some of the more vulnerable groups of road users continues to rise. The figures show that in 2012 there were:
Need to focus on cycle safety
Speaking in response to the publication of the figures, Ian Aitken, Chief Executive of Cycling Scotland, commented that the statistics relating to vulnerable road users were concerning.
“The annual summit between the Transport Minister Keith Brown and senior transport officials from local authorities in September will provide an opportunity to focus on cycle safety as one of its priorities,” he said.
Safety concerns prevent more people cycling
In light of the Transport Scotland figures, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has highlighted the continuing need to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Karen McDonnell, head of RoSPA Scotland, pointed out that while the reductions in deaths among car users and motorcyclists are on course to meet the target set for 2020, a great deal more work is needed if the target is also to be met for cyclists and pedestrians.
Action is particularly important in view of the fact that people are being encouraged to walk and cycle more often as an alternative to taking the car - for both environmental reasons and to help increase public health.
Improved safety measures are essential in order to protect these additional road users and, given that safety concerns are one of the reasons why people say they are reluctant to walk or cycle, to get them out on the road in the first place.
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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.