While the total number of offences relating to driving and vehicles has reduced by 13.3%, Edinburgh Police have reported an increase in dangerous driving offences in the city.
These have gone up by 64.2% over the 5 year average, and driving without a licence offences increased by 45.3% over the 5 year average.
But Superintendent Mark Rennie said that these figures do not necessarily reflect an increase in that type of driving, it is down to the police having more time to catch offenders. He said that in terms of roads policing there is still less traffic on the roads than usual and that has increased their capacity and ability to be proactive about dangerous driving offences. He also pointed out that the police are now using a safety camera motorbike around the city to ensure compliance with the 20 mph speed limits in particular.
The police have in recent weeks noted an increase in traffic due to fair weather and also people returning to work, and they have been carrying out Operation Close Pass in different areas of Edinburgh, including an operation today.
The police plan more activity in the coming weeks to improve both driver and cyclist awareness. Chief Superintendent Sean Scott said: “Our efforts to improve road safety for cyclists has been further supported by the creation of additional cycle lanes across the city.”
Conservative councillor Nick Cook used the opportunity to raise the matter of the new cycle lanes across the city (‘whether people want them or not’) and asked about police enforcement of cyclists’ behaviour towards ‘others on two wheels’.
In response, Chief Superintendent Sean Scott explained that Operation Close Pass (which is to explain the safe distance a vehicle should use when passing a cyclist on our roads) is aimed at all road users. He said: “Operation Close Pass, isn’t just about cyclists, it is about educating drivers as well, which is really important. There’s a continual stream of messaging around road safety, especially driver awareness of cyclists and others. I can certainly send you a more detailed response table about all the measures that we do around that, but I’m fairly confident we’re doing as much as we can, possibly to try and ensure that there’s that kind of synergy between driver awareness and cyclist awareness, and hopefully the two shall coexist safely going forward.”
The number of collisions on our roads fell by 14 in the period reported on, but sadly fatal collisions increased with two fatalities reported in Edinburgh. These involved a three year-old boy in Morningside and a cyclist in Gilmerton.