DEATHS on Scotland’s roads have increased for the first time in nearly a decade, “worrying” new figures reveal.
Research shows that the number of people killed is at its highest since 2006 – with a jump in pedestrian and motorcyclist deaths causing the increase.
The figures, collated from police statements and media reports, revealed that the total number of road deaths last year was 179 – seven more than the official Scottish Government figure for 2013.
The data shows that in 2013, 38 pedestrians were killed on Scotland’s roads. By the end of 2014, this had increased by almost 50% to 54 people.
They included six killed in the Glasgow bin lorry crash in December – last year’s worst incident – and three spectators who died at the Jim Clark Rally in the Borders in May.
The motorcyclist death toll also increased by 25% – from 23 in 2013 to 29 last year.
This is despite riders being specifically targeted in a road safety campaign, with another being launched last month.
However, the number of car drivers and passengers killed was down by nine to 80. The total reported cycle deaths also fell, from 13 to seven.
Other deaths, involving lorries, buses, taxis and a tractor had similar numbers to 2013.
Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “This is worrying news, as we have not seen a year-on-year increase in road deaths in Scotland since 2006 and the long-term trend has been downwards for decades.
“Even if this is just a ‘blip’, it marks a slowing down in progress on death reduction, which must be taken seriously by the Scottish Government.”
Stuart Hay, head of Living Streets Scotland, which campaigns for pedestrians, said: “It is clear the pedestrian safety battle is far from won, despite years of public information campaigns and changes to our streets.”
Police Scotland’s head of road policing said overall road casualties, including injuries, had dropped.
Chief Superintendent Iain Murray said: “We will continue to do everything we can to reduce these numbers, including supporting high-profile campaigns which highlight important issues such as motorcyclist and pedestrian safety.”