Cycling safety

The latest figures from Transport Scotland show the truly dire circumstances faced by road users across the board in Scotland on a daily basis.

With the overall total number of fatalities rising 16 per cent compared with 2013 and a large proportion of this increase accounted for by pedestrian deaths, we must ask ourselves why vulnerable road users are not enjoying satisfactory improvements in safety and what can be done about it.

Within the total, 56 killed were pedestrians, 31 motorcyclists and eight cyclists.

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I echo the thoughts of Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone’s thoughts that this is a “national disgrace”.

Vulnerable road users choosing to travel on our roads should be afforded the utmost protection and it is up to the Scottish Government to ensure this is achieved.

In light of these recent figures, I would strongly urge the SNP to seriously consider what steps can be taken to improve safety on our roads because it is clear the gap between safety for travel in cars and for active travellers is growing.

Action over the past 30 years has invested in engineering, education and enforcement measures to improve road safety, but it seems that additional action is required to close the gap.

One such measure would be the introduction of presumed liability to bring us in line with our European neighbours.

The introduction of presumed liability into civil law, as proposed by the Road Share campaign, could have a swift and considerable impact.

Our research has revealed that all countries with high levels of safe active travel have some form of presumed liability.

What is clear is that the Scottish Government needs to take urgent action to better protect vulnerable road users before we can fix the tragic situation on our roads.

Brenda Mitchell

Cycle Law Scotand & Road Share Campaign