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Scots are 19 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured if they walk a mile compared with driving

The latest road casualty statistics show that there is a need for change in the way we protect vulnerable road users in Scotland. If we want people to lead more active lifestyles then we need to make it safer to do so. People still live longer on average if they walk and cycle more, despite the greater accident risk, but our good car safety record in Scotland is not matched by good walking and cycling safety levels. Cycle fatality rates are still more than twice the casualty rates in some other countries. 

At the start of this century Scots walked on average 220 miles and cycled 25 miles per year. In less than 14 years people’s walking has fallen to roughly 150 miles, and cycling has increased to approximately 35 miles on average. The latest casualty statistics show that the number road casualties per mile has risen and fallen broadly in line with walking and cycling activity. Despite government claims of large casualty reductions, once changes in travel behaviour are included, the actual improvement in the most serious casualty numbers has been less than 10%


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Over the same period the fall in the number of the most serious car user casualties has been about 50%. In 2000 the fatal and serious casualty rate for walkers was 12 times that for car users per mile travelled but by this year this ratio has risen to 19.

The personal consequences of these injuries are also more severe for walkers and cyclists. When a car user is injured and unable to work, their car insurance protects them against the greatest financial losses. In contrast walkers and cyclists are not required to carry insurance and often find that they and their dependents suffer real hardship from loss of income due to injury.

The Road Share campaign argues that presumed liability legislation is the simplest way of providing financial protection to vulnerable road users. As roads across Europe have become busier nearly every country has adopted a system of presumed or strict liability to ensure that vulnerable road users are protected. Requiring injured walkers and cyclists at a time of trauma to go to court and show that drivers were at fault is not civilized. Better legislation will help to ensure that money gets to those who need it without treating drivers who have had an accident as criminals.

If car drivers have greater liability for vulnerable road users then all of the available evidence is that they also drive more carefully, helping to reduce the risk of accidents. Every country has different legislation to suit its own legal system. Scotland needs to develop laws that are consistent with the social conscience of the population.

These latest statistics are a wake-up call that more action to protect vulnerable road users is needed.


Steering Group


The Road Share campaign has set up a steering group to take things forward.

To find out more about the individual members of the Steering group and its overall remit.

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MSP Supporters

The campaign has attracted Cross Party support at Holyrood. See who is supporting, who is undecided and who doesn't support the campaign.

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Celebrity Supporters


The Campaign has successfully attracted a number of celebrity supporters who feel strongly about the introduction of presumed liability and have given their support.

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