It's a bad time to be a cyclist North of the border...

Last year was a more dangerous year than 2011 to be a Scottish cyclist, official figures published on Tuesday reveal. Cyclist casualties in Scotland increased by 9 percent and there were 9 cyclist deaths, 2 more than in 2011.

The latest Statistical Bulletin from Transport Scotland says:

“There were 898 pedal cyclist casualties recorded in 2012, 9 per cent more than in 2011. 167 (19% and an increase of 7% on 2011) were seriously injured and  9 died (two more than in 2011).

The report suggests that the increased number of cyclists on the roads is a factor in the increase in casualties.

“There are now more cyclists on the roads which will impact on cycling casualty numbers with numbers increasing by around 30 per cent in the last ten years, as  shown by the National Travel Survey and Traffic estimates published in Scottish Transport Statistics.”

19 percent increase since 2004-8

A poster on the CityCycling Edinburgh forum, Instography, pointed out that the 9 percent increase is “the least bad figure they could have used.”

A comparison with the average between 2004 and 2008 “shows a 19% increase in killed or seriously injured. Or a 34% increase in the numbers KSI on non-built-up roads.”

Responding to the increase, Scottish cyclists’ rights organisation Pedal on Parliament said: “We are saddened but not surprised by the latest data on safety on Scotland’s roads, which indicates that while casualties for drivers and passengers have fallen, those for pedestrians and cyclists have risen.

“This data shows clearly that vulnerable road users continue to be at risk.

“It may be that the rates are increasing because the number of cyclists and miles cycled is increasing, but this should not be an excuse for complacency on the part of the government. Rather, it should indicate the need to improve safety on Scotland’s roads as they seek to encourage and support active travel.

“This will require more than a ‘mutual respect’ campaign. It requires the government to take responsibility and act.”


Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.


Colin Peyresourde [1794 posts] 3 years ago

Purely from an anecdotal point of view, when cycling through Glen Coe the drivers of the tourist buses seemed to have a complete disregard for my safety, driving inches from me on a windy day.

I even pass close to me while they were overtaking on-coming traffic. It was a ridiculous manoeuvre. Though Glencoe is the only place I had such dangerous experiences, however, our route was one which took us mostly through quiet Scottish roads so not the fairest reflection.

Around the popular tourist locations the roads are narrow and not conducive to both cyclists and shuttling lots of tourists to and from hotels.

Bigfoz [124 posts] 3 years ago

Doesn't this mean cycling is actually safer? A 30% increase i cycling, a 19% increase in accidents...

Paul M [363 posts] 3 years ago

Any information on pedestrian casualties? Presumably there hasn't been a 19% increaes in pedestrians so if KSIs are up there, that is pretty damning.

a_to_the_j [118 posts] 3 years ago

figures could be because they are so keen on promoting cycling in the region to gain the tourist coin, but not actually investing in "safer" roads for cycling on, for tourists and especially commuters,
These back "country" roads we are forced to use because super busy main A roads have no cycle paths or any kind of forthcoming investment/planning new cycle paths along these routes.
Narrow, unlit, pot holed and never-gritted, with few warning signs, coupled with these back routes are used as a speedy cut-through by motorists at peak times (when we need to commute to work on bike) because of traffic jams in cities like Inverness, Aberdeen - all of which have been earmarked for "much needed" dual carriageway bypasses required XXX million pounds in funding, while cycle lanes get a couple of thousand each year.

I know this is not restricted to Scotland - but what these figures and probably equivalent figures in England show, is we are getting out and about on bikes more, yet the money to make us safer is just not being spent (outside of a few places like London)