Edinburgh's deadliest streets: Fatal collisions map reveals pedestrian and cyclist blackspots
The Capital’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians and cyclists have been identified by Police Scotland and made public by Edinburgh City Council
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Data gathered by police chiefs reveal the city centre and Leith have been the most deadly neighbourhoods for pedestrians over the last decade, with nine deaths in central Edinburgh and six in the north.
In total, 74 people have lost their lives on the city’s roads in the past decade, according to the statistics.
For cyclists, Portobello appears to be the most dangerous area, with three deaths over the last ten years, and one motorcycle death. Two of the deaths in Portobello occurred at the junction of High Street and Sir Harry Lauder road, and both involved lorries.There has also been two motorcycle deaths on Silverknowes Road, and two pedestrian deaths on Morningside Road.
Princes Street and a number of junctions leading to it have also been identified as high-risk, with three fatalities.
Leith Walk has seen two tragedies while Ferry Road, Ocean Drive, Great Junction Street and Waverley Bridge were the scenes of single fatalities.
Portobello Road and Portobello High Street each had a single fatal accident while there were two on Morningside Road.
And two people lost their lives in accidents on Old Dalkeith Road, Burnshot Road and the M9 spur.
The data, ranging from January 1 2011 to December 31 2020, has been collated by Police Scotland and released by the council in response to questions submitted by City Centre Green Party councillor Claire Miller.
As well as 74 collisions that resulted in fatalities, there have also been 1,433 serious injury collisions in the city over the last ten years.
At a meeting of the full council last month, councillor Miller also asked for a summary of measures to address the death toll.
In a written response, the convener of the transport committee, SNP councillor Lesley Macinnes, wrote: “Road safety remedial measures are not progressed at every location where there has been a fatal or serious collision.
“Instead, the council has two ongoing programmes of work aimed at reducing road traffic collisions: remedial measures following fatal collisions; and remedial measures arising from ongoing monitoring of collisions in the city - the Accident Investigation and Prevention (AIP) programme.
“Following any traffic collision that results in a fatality (or where injuries sustained are likely to prove fatal), a site meeting will be arranged by Police Scotland and attended by a council officer.
“The timing of the meeting is determined by the police and this can vary, depending on the progress of their investigations into the collision and whether it is likely to be referred to the Procurator Fiscal.
“Following this meeting, if there are actions for the council to progress, these will be incorporated into the council’s Road Safety Programme.
“The timescale for delivery of the changes can vary considerably, depending on their nature and scope.
“Site meetings are not held routinely for serious accidents.”
Councillor Miller said: “I asked for this information to be brought together because I believe it is important to highlight the sheer awful consequence of our current way of organising transport.
“There have been 74 deaths and hundreds of life-changing injuries – and every one an unthinkable loss to family, friends and colleagues.
“Of course, it is people walking and wheeling who are most vulnerable but the maps show that the impact can be felt by anyone and everyone.
“That is why I am strongly urging Edinburgh to sign up to a ‘Vision Zero’ commitment as part of how we plan for the future.
“That means a radical rethink of how the city plans roads, footways, junctions and places as a whole so that no-one faces the loss of a loved one from the simple act of getting from A to B.
“Every day these changes are delayed or contested by those defending the status quo is another day when the city is playing roulette with lives.”
Speaking after the meeting, councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “People’s safety is of utmost importance to us, and our road safety team work to improve this on a continuous basis, both through the city’s Road Safety Programme and in response to specific collisions and concerns raised by the public.
“It’s heartening to note a long-term trend of falling numbers of personal injury collisions each year in Edinburgh which reflects our commitment to improving road safety for all.
“As well as our Accident Investigation and Prevention programme of remedial measures, which respond directly to our monitoring of collisions, we carry out regular traffic monitoring to identify and address speeding issues, work with schools to improve journeys for pupils and evaluate road crossings for improvements, amongst other measures.
“Most recently, the Road Safety team began investigating ways to improve safety for vulnerable road users at major junctions across the city.
“This is in addition to long term efforts to create protected spaces for people walking, cycling and wheeling and better public transport connections through our City Mobility Plan and projects such as City Centre Transformation, West Edinburgh Link and City Centre West to East Link, which will lead to a truly people-friendly city.”
Conservative group leader Iain Whyte, who is also a member of the transport committee, added: “Thankfully road deaths in Edinburgh have been on a reducing trend for a number of years and the aim should be to continue this to zero.
“What is very stark is that almost half of the people killed were pedestrians so we should be concentrating spend on pedestrian safety. Making designs simpler and reducing pedestrian conflict with other road users.
“The Evening News map shows how difficult it is to address safety through specific road design measures as the vast majority of the fatalities have been at an individual location.
“However, it wasn’t clear from the data the council made public whether action has always been taken.
“Some locations where safety work was done don’t relate to a fatality and other works seemed very limited.
“The council should use the full data on all fatal and injury accidents to resolve hotspots and spend should be concentrated where it is most needed on specific accident prevention schemes rather than the somewhat less targeted approach of the current administration.”