The increase in cycling in Scotland’s streets shows the need for the Scottish Government to review speed limits during the Coronavirus lockdown, according to Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell.
Ministers should respond to a new report by Cycling Scotland, which shows a “significant increase” in cycling on Scotland’s roads, by lowering speed limits and reinforcing messages about compliance, the Mid Scotland and Fife MSP said.
This followed calls last week by leading doctors in the BMJ to reduce speed limits to ‘lower the baseline’ of accidents which are putting avoidable pressure on the NHS.
Cases of excessive speeding during lockdown have also caught the news, including a driver charged for driving 150mph in the highlands. Police have warned drivers have been “taking advantage” of empty roads
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham also released data last week showing that as traffic levels had dropped across the area speeding increased, with four in ten motorists breaking speed limits.
Mark Ruskell said: “This is a serious public safety issue. Official guidelines state that people can exercise close to their homes once a day, and must maintain social distancing. That has clearly led to more pedestrians and cyclists using the roads as traffic levels have dropped. The Cycling Scotland report shows one counter in Dunfermline recorded an increase in cyclists of 215 per cent, which is an incredible rise.
“Unfortunately, we are also seeing some drivers taking more risks as roads are less congested. It’s clear that lowering the speed limit and reinforcing road safety messages would be an important safety step at this time when many car journeys are unnecessary.”