THE creator of a new website that shames badly-behaved Edinburgh motorists has claimed the Capital has the worst drivers in Britain.
Linked Facebook and Twitter pages entitled Edinburgh’s Worst Drivers were launched last week by a 29-year-old father-of-three from Wester Hailes who has taken it upon himself to compile a library of photographs and video showing reckless driving and illegal parking across the city.
The Scottish security officer, who asked not to be named because he did not want to detract from from his sites’ purpose, moved to Edinburgh from Aberdeen seven years ago and has been a driver for ten years.
He said motorists in the Capital often used public roads as their own race track by running red lights and failing to stop at zebra crossings, claiming taxi drivers were regularly the worst offenders. “They think they own the road,” he said.
“I hope that if this page becomes a hit people will improve their driving behaviours as they will now see from an onlooker’s perspective how reckless their driving was, how their parking affects others and how inconsiderate and selfish their driving behaviour can be.” The website author is encouraging residents to capture cases of bad driving on their smart phones and send them in as evidence. He said he hoped Lothian and Borders Police would use the resource to convict offenders caught on film.
Green transport spokesman, Councillor Nigel Bagshaw, said introducing 20mph zones in all residential streets was an important step to help tackle the problem. He said: “Some drivers do seem to go the extra mile to put others’ lives at risk, with mobile phones clamped to their ears as they cruise past the school gate, cutting across cyclists and speeding without regard to limits. “The problem is worse with the number of so-called ‘urban tractors’, which some drivers hardly seem to be able to control.”
John Lauder, national director of sustainable transport charity Sustrans Scotland, said: “We consider that the very existence of this website highlights the need for better street design in Edinburgh. Our streets should be designed to accommodate multiple users, including cyclists.”
THE chief of one of Edinburgh’s leading taxi companies says cabbies are far from the worst drivers on the Capital’s streets.
Central Taxis secretary Murray Fleming defended the taxi industry, saying increased insurance premiums meant it was never in the interests of drivers to have an accident. He said: “I think the driving standard for the most part is pretty good. Most guys take a very responsible approach to how they go about their day’s work.
“I think most cabbies are aware their driving comes under greater scrutiny than others and clearly the risk or the likelihood that should they do something that’s unsafe the matter will be reported to the relevant authorities.”
Mr Fleming said constant roadworks in Edinburgh had contributed to problems.
“I think all drivers have faced difficulties in navigating their way around the city,” he said.
“I would also say the impact of the diversions on the road surfaces on alternate routes is clear for all to see. The roads are in a scandalous condition and then that leads to having to be aware that cyclists may need to take last-minute action to avoid a pothole or things like that.”
‘Cars don’t seem to want to stop in the morning’
LEITH mother-of-two Linda Scott admits she decided not to get a driver’s licence because of the high risk on the Capital’s roads.
The 42-year-old was involved in a minor car accident with her husband about ten years ago and said it had put her off getting behind the wheel for good.
She said there was a trend towards poor driving behaviour in Edinburgh, particularly during morning and afternoon school runs.
Mrs Scott said: “There are problems were the cars don’t seem to want to stop in the morning. They just seem to want to keep going.
“No-one’s willing to stop to let you over. Everyone seems to be in a hurry. They’re not really bothered about anybody trying to get out of a side street or anybody crossing.”
Mrs Scott, whose two sons are aged 13 and eight, urged motorists to consider the lives of school children. She backed the Edinburgh’s Worst Drivers Facebook site, saying: “It would show drivers what they’re doing.”
‘There’s a lot of stress to driving in Edinburgh’
NEIL Greig, policy director for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, says Edinburgh drivers often got an unfair reputation for bad behaviour.
The former AA Motoring Trust spokesman said drivers were generally responsible, given the extra stresses caused by the Capital’s complex road system.
He said: “We’ve had the tram works, we’ve got parking issues in the city centre, we don’t have the major roads near the city centre that you find in Glasgow.
“I think there’s a lot more stress to driving in Edinburgh and perhaps that may lead to some people driving in a less than perfect way.
“But in strict crash terms or any other measures that I’ve ever seen, I haven’t seen any evidence to show that Edinburgh is any worse than any other modern city.”
Mr Greig said he was worried websites like Edinburgh’s Worst Drivers could lead to vigilantism. He added: “At the moment it’s anecdotal, it’s a bit of a joke and I think that’s the way it’s probably best it stays.”
• Have your say: Does Edinburgh really have the worst drivers – and do you have the evidence? Send your pictures and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our Facebook page facebook.com/edinburgh.evening.news or Tweet @edinburghpaper with the hashtag #worstdrivers. And don’t use your mobile or camera while you are at the wheel or you may find yourself featuring – and fined.