19 January 2021

Risks for pedestrians in January

With current COVID restrictions meaning that limited opportunities exist for usual leisure activities, more north east residents are taking to the streets and footpaths to enjoy some winter walking opportunities.

The increase in walking occurs in a month which historically has produced higher levels of pedestrian casualties in both Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.  While Scottish Government casualty data has shown reductions in pedestrian casualties over the past 15 years, data for 2019 (whole year) reveals there were 27 pedestrian casualties in Aberdeen City and 17 in Aberdeenshire.

Road Safety North East Scotland (RSNES) is seeking to remind road users of the seasonal risks linked to walking and is offering basic advice to help keep pedestrians safe on north east roads.

While traditional winter hazards such as snow and ice may make walking challenging, other factors such as reduced daylight hours and the low winter sun can pose additional risks.

Ewan Wallace, Chair of RSNES and Head of Transportation at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “With more people out walking throughout North East Scotland, everyone needs to be mindful of road safety, given January’s statistical prevalence for pedestrian casualties.

“Reduced daylight hours and weather factors including a low winter sun, mean that road users have to be particularly careful and take time to check that any proposed action or manoeuvre is safe. We hope that by taking a few extra seconds to think about these simple road safety measures will lead to having a safe January on north east roads.”

Pedestrians should use recognised footpaths where available and cross the road at safe locations or where crossing facilities are provided; in poor-daylight conditions they should wear or carry something light-coloured, bright or fluorescent. 

In darkness, they should consider wearing something reflective which allows vehicle headlights to highlight them from further away and gives drivers more time to react.

In urban areas, crossing the road between parked cars should be avoided as drivers may not see people waiting to cross. 

In rural areas and on other routes where no footpaths exist, pedestrians, including runners, should follow Highway Code guidance and for most locations walk or run facing oncoming traffic.  This allows them to see what’s approaching and provides time to react for actions such as stepping onto the verge. 

When walking with young children adults should seek to place themselves between the road and the child; holding their hand can reduce the chance of them suddenly straying onto the carriageway.

You can follow RSNES on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/roadsafetynes