In the wake of last month’s Transport Scotland figures that showed an increase in people on bikes north of the border suffering death and serious injuries on road collisions, Police Scotland has been cracking down on the kind of driver behaviour that results in the deaths of vulnerable road users.
In the week commencing July 5, a total of almost 3000 offences were reported. Police Scotland officers detected 1171 drivers speeding and 218 motorists driving while using a mobile phone. There were 113 reports of careless or dangerous driving and the Scottish Safety Camera partnerships detected 1209 vehicles speeding.
During this period, a 79-year-old man, Douglas Brown, was killed in a collision with a lorry. He was hit while riding on a B-road in West Lothian last Thursday and died of his injuries on Sunday.
Inspector Tracey Robinson, Divisional Road Policing Unit Edinburgh, said: “Our officers have been patrolling Scotland’s roads focusing on educating everyone about the vulnerability of certain groups of road users. It is disappointing that a number of motorists are still not heeding our advice.
“All road users must be aware of their surroundings at all times. This is particularly important when carrying out manoeuvres at junctions, roundabouts and whilst reversing. In particular, be aware of cyclists and motorcyclists who sometimes travel in groups. When one passes be aware that another could be travelling behind.”
Ian Maxwell, from Spokes Lothian Cycle Campaign, said: “While welcoming the attention paid by the police to the safety of cyclists, Spokes hopes that these frighteningly high levels of speeding and mobile phone use will lead to police action.”
However, it does seem that old habits of thinking die hard. Announcing the crackdown, Police Scotland said, “All road users are asked to ensure that they are properly prepared, including suitable hi-visibility clothing and helmets.”
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.