The Scottish Government’s new road safety campaign has been criticised for its “lack of commitment” to saving lives and reducing the number of road accidents.
The claim was made by cycling campaign group Pedal on Parliament (Pop) ahead of the launch of the Nice Way Code advertising campaign, which encourages road users to be more considerate of one another.
A statement issued on behalf of Pop said: “Research shows that the most effective means to reduce road deaths are changes to the road environment and lower speeds.
“Education campaigns, especially where not backed up by visible enforcement, do very little. Spending nearly £500,000 asking drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all to be nicer to one another offers poor value for money on its own.”
The group also criticised the Scottish Government’s 2012 campaign Give Me Cycle Space, saying it did little to reassure parents that their children would be safe on their bikes.
“This ‘words rather than actions’ approach demonstrates the government’s lack of commitment to saving the lives of cyclists and other vulnerable road users,” the statement continued.
It said reform is particularly urgent in light of five years of rising cycling accidents, with nine cyclists already killed this year.
That is the same total as the whole of 2012 with five months of the year still to go. In 2009 the total was just four.
Sally Hinchcliffe, from Pop, said: “While we don’t disagree that behaviour needs to improve between road users, simply asking us all to be nice to one another without backing it up with real changes and enforcement is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“We’d rather see that money spent on cutting speeds, or improving known accident blackspots.”
The Nice Way Code, which has the backing of Cycling Scotland and the Institute of Advanced Motorists in Glasgow, is due to begin on August 5.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and we make no apology for raising awareness of this issue or for seeking to improve behaviour.”