Edinburgh drivers worse than those in Glasgow according to study to safest cities survey

League table shows Capital is number eight in UK for safe cities to drive in – but Glasgow sneaks in one place above
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Edinburgh drivers are worse than Glasgow’s, according to a new nationwide study.

A league table of road accident statistics puts both the Capital and its traditional rival in the top ten safest UK cities to drive in – but Glasgow takes seventh place, sneaking in just ahead of Edinburgh at number eight. According to the data, Edinburgh saw 9.73 road accidents per 10,000 people in 2021, compared with Glasgow’s figure of 9.22 per 10,000 people.

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Meanwhile the title of safest UK city to drive in goes to Aberdeen, with just 2.78 accidents per 10,000 people, and Dundee was fourth safest in the UK, with 7.97 accidents per 10,000 people. The UK city where it is least safe to drive is Doncaster, where there were 36.23 accidents per 10,000 people. The study, by insurance company Zego, analysed ONS data to discover the number of road accidents in each UK city in 2021, both fatal and non-fatal. The number of accidents was calculated per 10,000 people to determine the rankings.

Edinburgh recorded 9.73 road accidents per 10,000 residents, according to the study.  Picture: Esme AllenEdinburgh recorded 9.73 road accidents per 10,000 residents, according to the study.  Picture: Esme Allen
Edinburgh recorded 9.73 road accidents per 10,000 residents, according to the study. Picture: Esme Allen

A spokesperson from Zego said: “Although the factors that contribute to the safety of driving in these cities isn’t clear, it’s particularly interesting that four cities in Scotland make the list as well as three cities in Wales, suggesting that these countries are the least dangerous in the UK when it comes to road safety."

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM Roadsmart, said he was surprised the Capital was not top of the road safety table. “I would have thought Edinburgh, with its 20mph zones and so on, would be number one – which kind of suggests the 20mph zones aren’t as totally effective as some would have us believe. And there’s also this tradition that Glasgow has faster traffic because it’s got the M8 going through it.

"There is more traffic down south – roads are busier than they are in any of our Scottish cities, but the major things to restrict traffic in Scottish cities, like Low Emission Zones, haven’t come in yet so there aren’t many differences between Scottish and English cities other than Edinburgh having a large area designated as 20mph and the other Scottish cities having smaller areas.”

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He said there were many factors which could influence road safety. “Public transport is maybe a bit better in some of our cities than some of the English cities, so people are using that. It could also be that with poorer weather up here fewer people are cycling – and if you have a lot of cyclists and a lot of pedestrians that can lead to more incidents and more injuries. But I’m surprised that Edinburgh isn’t above Glasgow, bearing that Edinburgh has the biggest 20mph zone in the whole of Scotland.”

Top ten UK safest cities for driving

1 Aberdeen 2.78 road accidents per 10,000 people

2 Swansea 6.60

3 Stoke-on-Trent 7.85

4 Dundee 7.97

5 Cardiff 8.16

6 Bath 9.20

7 Glasgow 9.22

8 Edinburgh 9.73

9 Newport 11.09

10 Milton Keynes 11.38