Scotland’s most deprived urban areas more dangerous for young road users

Children walking or cycling in Scotland’s poorest areas are three times more likely to be injured by vehicles than in the richest ones, a study shows.

Authors Sustrans Scotland called for road improvements to cut the risk.

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The cycling and walking developers said factors could include busier roads in deprived areas where fewer people travel by car.

It said improvements could include better pavements and crossings, traffic calming and segregated cycle lanes.

The study is likely to be seized on as further evidence for wider 20mph limits, as the Scottish Greens are seeking.

The report, which included Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, found 0.83 incidents involving under-17s per data zone in the most deprived areas compared to 0.25 in the least deprived.
Sustrans Scotland director John Lauder said: “This analysis shines a light on a ‘double injustice’ being done to Scotland’s poorest communities.

“Firstly, communities are locked out of opportunities through transport poverty.

“Secondly, children in those communities are at higher risk simply due to their postcode. We are calling on local authorities and government to implement more widespread high-quality infrastructure and slower speed streets.”

Peter Kelly, director of campaigners The Poverty Alliance, said: “There is a pressing need to better understand the precise reasons why children in some parts of Scotland are more likely to be the victims of road traffic accidents.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We are working to improve road safety, such as car-free school zones, 20mph zones and developing more walking and cycling infrastructure. It is essential the benefit of all our road safety initiatives is felt in all of our communities.”

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Edinburgh City Council transport vice convener Karen Doran, said: “The safety of children across the city is a priority, so the findings of Sustrans are concerning.

“We are committed to providing equal opportunities for safe and accessible transport city-wide.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is committed to reducing risk on Scotland’s roads and we recognise that tackling vehicle speeds is a crucial factor towards improving road safety.

“There is evidence that while pedestrian casualties among adults and children were at the lowest level in 2017, there remains higher road casualty rates in our most deprived areas.”