SCOTLAND’S two largest cities have among the highest rates in Britain for deaths and serious injuries on roads around schools, according to research published today.
Glasgow was placed sixth worst, with an average of 4.5 such casualties among children and adults per school over the five-year period between 2006 and 2011. Edinburgh was in tenth place with a rate of 4.2.
Nottingham had the worst rate (6.8), followed by Liverpool (5.5) and Birmingham (4.8).
The Scottish capital was also tenth worst for collisions, with an average of 32 per school over the same period. The figures were compiled by dividing the number of casualties which occurred within a third of a mile of schools by the number of schools in a city.
AXA Insurance and consultants Road Safety Analysis, which compiled the figures, said casualty and crash figures for every school in Britain would be published online today at www.axainsurancezone.com/localroadsafetyindex.
They said these would “help parents better understand the risks associated with the roads around their local schools to keep their children safe”.
However, campaigners for pedestrians said this would simply brand schools “unsafe”.
Keith Irving, head of Living Streets Scotland, said: “Stigmatising schools as unsafe is not helpful in addressing the very serious issue of child pedestrian casualties and fatalities.
“If this report prompts local councils to take a holistic approach to removing the barriers to walking to school, such as identifying safe walking routes and implementing lower traffic speeds, then it is welcome.
“But Living Streets Scotland fears it will simply brand some schools unsafe without recognising or tackling the root causes.”
Siobhan MacMahon, campaigns officer of road safety charity Brake, said: “Reducing vehicle speeds can make a massive difference to the safety of kids on foot and riding bikes.”
Edinburgh City Council said there had been no child road deaths around schools for six years and it was considering further road safety improvements such as closing nearby streets when pupils arrived and left.
Transport convener Lesley Hinds, said: “Statistics like these will always show cities as having higher casualty rates because of their dense urban environment compared to rural areas.
“Road safety around our schools is something that we take very seriously.”
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We analyse all casualties on a regular city-wide basis and target those areas with the most casualties.
“Serious injuries suffered by children in Glasgow are down 35 per cent this year based on the 2004-08 average national targets, and there were no child fatalities in the city last year.