DEATHS on Scotland’s roads increased by 24 to 191 in 2013-14, indicating their first rise for six years, Police Scotland figures showed today.
They included a 55 per cent increase in motorcyclist fatalities, from 18 to 28, and a 50 per cent rise in cyclist deaths, from eight to 12.
The national force’s first annual figures, for the year to March, also showed deaths among other drivers went up by six to seven, and 36 passengers were killed - six more than a year ago.
However, there were three fewer pedestrian deaths, which were down to 48.
Previous figures have been published by the Scottish Government covering calendar years, with those for 2013 expected next week.
These figures have shown the road death toll falling every year since 2006, from 314 to 174 in 2012.
Despite the 14 per cent increase in deaths, Police Scotland said the number of collisions and injuries both fell in 2013-14.
The number of serious injuries was down by 15 per cent, or 281, to 1,622, while slight injuries fell by 10 per cent, or 1,027 to 9,325.
Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “If this increase is accurate then it is extremely worrying to see an upsurge in deaths after so many years of constant improvement.
“With traffic on the increase again as the recession fades it is absolutely essential everyone involved in the road safety sector redoubles their efforts to keep Scotland’s roads safe.
“Targeting every death is essential but the rise in two wheel fatalities requires particular focus. In our view, that requires a combination of enforcement and education for motorcyclists and an even greater push for early investment in segregated facilities for cyclists.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency said: “Every life lost on our roads is one too many. There are some encouraging signs in these figures such as reduction in overall casualties.
“There is still much to be done over the longer term. Transport Scotland has been making good progress towards meeting our road casualty reduction targets.
“In recent years we have invested significantly in training, infrastructure and safety campaigns for the benefit of cyclists, and are continuing to do so.
“We encourage training and support for motorcyclists through the Bikesafe initiative and other advanced rider training schemes, and continue to target motorcyclists with appropriate road safety messages.”