Police Scotland has launched a campaign focusing on three categories of vulnerable road users – children, cyclists and the elderly.
Supported by Road Safety Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, Age Scotland and Brake, the campaign will run from August 2015 until spring 2016, and focus on the ‘road users’ life cycle’.
The campaign was launched as schools across Scotland return for a new academic year, and the initial phase urges children settling into a new school term to remain vigilant while crossing roads.
Police Scotland points to figures showing that child pedestrians are most at risk before and after school – at 8.00am and from 3.00-6.00pm, with a peak at 3.00pm.
The campaign will also highlight the changes other road users, in particular cyclists and the elderly, experience at the start of the new school term, when roads become busier.
Chief superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing, said: “Pedestrians, especially the young and the elderly, are particularly at risk, and as kids across the country go back to school, we want to make drivers think about how their actions, carelessness or inattention may impact these vulnerable groups.
“After nearly eight weeks of holidays, the roads will again be busier in the mornings and during the late afternoon. The area in the immediate vicinity of schools and residential estates will see more activity, and there is always the chance a child could step onto the road without looking properly.
“We are therefore asking drivers, parents and children themselves to be careful, and develop new stay safe routines as the school term starts.”
Michael McDonnell, director of Road Safety Scotland, said: “Protecting our most vulnerable road users is vital as we work towards Scotland’s road safety framework commitment to reduce casualties across all road users.
“In built-up areas across Scotland, there are thousands of interactions every hour between vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, and everyone needs to be on their guard to prevent these from going wrong.
“We all share the road space and need to be constantly aware of what is going on around us and of what other people are doing.
“As drivers, that means good observation skills and making good decisions about appropriate speed for the circumstances; as cyclists it means following the rules of the road and being aware of dangerous manoeuvres; and for pedestrians it means crossing where it is safe to do so and not taking any chances.
“If we foster mutual respect for other road users and take responsibility for their safety as well as our own, we will help make safer journeys a reality rather than just an aspiration.”