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.”
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.