Mon 03 Jul 2023

Staying safe on Scotland's roads this summer

Summer is in the air. The BBQs are being lit, the evenings continue to get longer, and the school holidays are just around the corner. The arrival of summer brings with it (a chance of) warm weather and more opportunities to spend time outside.

Diversity of road users

The lighter mornings and longer evenings mean people are more likely to opt for active forms of travel such as walking or cycling in their day to day lives.  Over recent years there has also been a significant increase in the number of road users using e-scooters, e-bikes and e-skateboards.  Our recent blog sets out the law relating to these.  While there has been an increase in the diversity of modes of active travel, our public spaces have not been adapted to allow for these and our roads continue to be used by traditional modes of transport, including pedestrians, cyclists, cars and buses.  So, it is more important than ever that all road users are mindful of the diversity of road users and maintain an awareness of their surroundings when using the roads. 

Active travel

Morton Fraser have recently partnered with Brake the road safety charity, and support the work they do.  Brake is dedicated to improving road safety, preventing unnecessary road deaths and supporting victims of road collisions and their families.  'Safe Roads for All' was the theme of Brake's national campaign for Road Safety Week in November 2022 which brought attention to the growing diversity of road users and all forms of active travel.  There are many benefits to active travel, both for the individual's mental and physical health along with the benefit for our planet, by reducing carbon emissions.   This is also recognised by the Scottish Government, who also advocates for more active travel and Transport Scotland have recently published a plan to encourage cycling across the country.  This plan supports the Scottish Government's 2030 Active Travel Vision - that walking, wheeling and cycling become the most popular modes of transport for shorter everyday journeys. 

Whilst these campaigns are undoubtedly positive for all, a greater diversity of road users does present its own risks. The existing infrastructure in Scotland doesn't always support a greater number of road users on more diverse modes of transport.  Higher numbers of road users also bring increased risk of collisions, particularly at those times of year when the roads get busier with people travelling for day trips and holidays.   

Tips for staying safe

Whilst the onus is on the Government to provide safer infrastructure and guidance to ensure the roads are safe for all, we should all take responsibility for our own actions and do what we can to create safer roads.  Drivers should limit their distractions when driving by avoiding making hands-free calls, programming journeys on a sat-nav before setting off, keeping background music or podcasts at an appropriate volume and avoiding driving when upset or stressed.  This is often easier said than done when setting out on a long journey!  It's important to be mindful of all of the distractions and the impact they can have on your concentration.  During these longer journeys, it is important to stay hydrated and take regular breaks.  All road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, have a responsibility to pay attention and take care, avoiding distractions whilst on pavements and roads. 

If you or a family member have been injured in a road traffic collision, our experienced Personal Injury team will support you and provide you with the legal advice you require. For more information visit our dedicated page.

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