Campaign launched to tackle summer cycling casualties

Lucy Johnston News

Partners across the North East have launched a collective campaign that aims to reduce higher incidents of cycling casualties over the summer months.

Research has shown an increase in local pedal cycle casualties during the summer months, as pedal cyclists get out on two wheels across North East Scotland.

Records show that in many of the cases, a common cause of the incident was that either the driver or rider ‘failed to look properly’. The campaign seeks to remind cyclists and drivers alike to pay attention to one another, particularly at critical decision-making moments such as junctions and roundabouts, and highlights this during the peak season for these incidents.

The campaign will be supported by police patrols on key cycling routes, as well as officers working in communities near collision hotspots.

In addition, the North Safety Camera Unit will continue to carry out speed enforcement on key routes as part of their ongoing work over the summer.

While the trend for higher cycling incidents over the summer is not unique to the North East, local partners are continuing to work to reduce the number and severity of all casualties, moving towards a vision of zero fatalities on the road network.

Chair of Nestrans, Councillor Sandra Macdonald said, “The Getabout partnership plays a key role in promoting and encouraging active travel, as well as working to make sure that people can do so safely and confidently. All road users have a role to play in sharing the space, respecting each other, and following the rules of road safety.”

Ewan Wallace, Head of Transportation at Aberdeenshire Council, and Chair of Road Safety North East Scotland states:

“The summer months provide a great opportunity for pedal cyclists to get out and enjoy what the north east has to offer – both in urban and rural environments.

“The rise in summertime cycling casualties is often caused by the most basic of road user mistakes – not looking properly.  Whether you’re a bike rider or driving a vehicle, it only takes a couple of seconds to make that extra check which will ensure your planned manoeuvre is safe.

“Drivers should also remember to give cyclists plenty of room when overtaking them; passing too closely is dangerous and can be both intimidating and frightening for the cyclist.  

“By remembering these simple measures while riding and driving, we hope north east cyclists can look forward to a safer summer on the road.”

Inspector Lorraine Mackie, of Police Scotland’s North East Road Policing Unit, said: “We are committed to improving the safety of all road users and particularly vulnerable road users, which includes cyclists.

“We use Operation Close Pass as a practical demonstration for drivers about the correct safe distance for overtaking cyclists, while we also work closely with a range of partners to educate all road users in order to improve safety for everyone. While we are committed to improving safety through education, where necessary appropriate enforcement action will be taken.

“There are more people out cycling during the summer months and we urge drivers to be patient and show consideration around other road users. There is room for everyone on the road and we all have the right to be safe.

“We also encourage cyclists to act responsibly on the roads and play their part in keeping the roads of the North East safe.”

“When you overtake a cyclist, allow plenty of space and time to complete the manoeuvre safely.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Station Commander Craig Shand said: “Cycling is a healthy and sustainable mode of transport.

“Before anyone embarks on a bike ride, understanding the risks involved in both the urban and rural environment is really important.

“We’d encourage people to familiarise themselves with safety advice from Cycling Scotland and Road Safety Scotland.

“Also be aware of your surroundings as those who enjoy outdoor leisure pursuits, like cycling, can often mistakenly fall into areas of water and find themselves in difficulty.

“We want people to enjoy the experience and always follow the Scottish Outdoor Code.”