Cycling casualty rates up in Scotland
Transport Scotland reports worrying rise, campaigners call for increase in transport budget for cycling
The latest figures from Transport Scotland show that serious injuries to cyclists rose by 13 per cent last year, sparking campaigners to demand better road safety provision.
Casualty rates increased similarly for pedestrians, with a 12 per cent rise.
These figures were unearthed by the Sunday Herald, which said that they were "buried in a statistical publication from Transport Scotland last month. Its headlines highlighted downward trends in car casualties, and reassuring long-term trends in road injuries and deaths."
The number of cyclists seriously injured on Scottish roads rose from 138 in 2010 to 156 in 2011 - a sharp contrast to the declining rate in previous years.
But the number of serious motorist injuries fell by 16 per cent in the same period.
The Sunday Herald wrote: "Experts point out that the increase in cycling injuries far outstrips the estimated 1%-2% increase in the number of cyclists on the roads. They also suggest serious accidents are more frequent on fast rural roads than on slow city streets."
At the moment, the provision for cycling in Scotland amounts to just 1 per cent of the transport budget.
Campaigners say that it should be increased to 5 per cent - one of the main tenets of Edinburgh's Pedal on Parliament. As many as 3500 riders gathered in April in support of the campaign's eight point plan to make Scotland a cycle friendly nation and help the Scottish Government achieve its target of 10 per cent of all journey being made by bike by 2020.
John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland, said: "Every death on our roads is unnecessary and tragic, and there is much more that needs to be done to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable road users," he said.
Ian Aitken, CEO of Cycling Scotland, a Scottish Government cycling promotion agency, said: "This increase in accident rates needs to be taken very seriously and all possible measure should be put in place to ensure we return to the downward trend in cycling injuries."
He also pointed out that cycling in Scotland was twice as safe as in the rest of the UK.
A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: "Since 2007 we have invested over £83 million on promoting active travel and improving facilities and infrastructure.
"Earlier this year we announced an additional £20m for infrastructure to support active travel over the next three years. We will continue to encourage local authorities to make cycling a priority in their areas, and promote more 20mph zones in urban areas."