Take responsibility for safety as Capital’s roads get busier - Mark Patterson

This is the first Road Policing Capital Cops column of the year and it comes at a very opportune time as this is the period where, typically, we start to see the number of road users increase – particularly if we are blessed with fairer weather than over the winter months.
In 2023/24 there were 151 road deaths of which 27 were motorcyclists. Picture: Motorcycle Law ScotlandIn 2023/24 there were 151 road deaths of which 27 were motorcyclists. Picture: Motorcycle Law Scotland
In 2023/24 there were 151 road deaths of which 27 were motorcyclists. Picture: Motorcycle Law Scotland

One group that will be out in greater numbers are motorcyclists and this a demographic that we are keen to engage with during spring and summer as they make up a disproportionately high percentage of fatal and serious injury collisions, despite reflecting a relatively small percentage of actual road users.

With that in mind Police Scotland launched its annual motorcycle safety campaign last month, and this will be in place until September, as this is the period where we see the highest number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured.

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In 2023/24, there were 151 road deaths and 27 were motorcyclists and we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce this number and raise awareness among other road users of the increased frequency of motorcyclists on the Edinburgh road network.

Our message to car, van and truck drivers is to please look out for motorbike riders, particularly at junctions and in rural areas. Failing to look properly or losing control can happen in a split second. Of course, we know there is a responsibility on the part of motorcyclists to help keep themselves safe and so if you are planning on getting out on your bike, please always ensure you wear appropriate high-visibility clothing and helmet, as well as adhering to all the laws of the road.

Engagement and enforcement activity will take place throughout the spring and summer months using both marked and unmarked police vehicles and officers, including those from the national motorcycle unit, will be carrying out intelligence led patrols to engage with all drivers and riders.

Another initiative we are undertaking within the Capital is to deter and detect distracted driving. By this, I mean, driving while using a mobile telephone or any other device, which takes your attention away from the road and the driving conditions you face. Any distraction while driving could have serious consequences and we’ll have road policing patrols deployed within the city to monitor for these offences. If you’re caught you face points on your licence and a fine, so please don’t risk it.

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We’re also continually on the lookout for those who are breaking the speed limits, particularly within built-up residential areas and school zones. Like driving while distracted, driving at excessive speed reduces your control over your vehicle and hinders reaction times. Also, like driving while distracted, if you are caught driving above the speed limit you face a fine and points on your licence.

While it may be hard to contemplate the summer holidays, with kids having only just gone back into school after Easter, it’s important for us to highlight that the summer months see increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic on our roads and these vulnerable road users need us to be extra vigilant, give additional time and space when passing them and be alert to crossing zones.

I would also ask that cyclists, like motorcyclists, wear appropriate high-visibility clothing and helmets to always ensure their visibility and that pedestrians utilise designated crossing areas. Please do not attempt to cross a road from behind a parked vehicle, as this limits how visible you are to other road users. Road safety is a police priority, but it should be a priority for us all, so let’s all take responsibility and take care of each other on the road.

Chief Inspector Mark Patterson, Road Policing Unit