Some 1666 people were either killed or seriously injured on Scotland's roads last year - despite the Covid lockdown curbing people's movement.

It amounts to a 38% drop from 2019 when there were 2692 serious casualties.

According to Department for Transport data, the numbers who were killed on Scottish roads only fell by 13% from 165 in 2019 to 143 last year.

As Road Safety Week starts today concerns remain over casualties as the numbers of cars and pedestrians on and off the streets plummeted during lockdown.

Even during the second lockdown last November, car journeys on Britain's roads had fallen to about two-thirds of the usual level.

There were 1523 people seriously injured last year - a drop of 31% from the 1999 casualties the the the pre-pandemic year.

Road safety charity Brake, remains concerned about the Covid road casualty list - and has launched a new campaign to cut the number of accidents.

It said that the level of deaths and serious injuries on road is "still causing devastation to families across the country".

It comes as cycling deaths on Scotland's roads hit a seven-year high in 2020 as thousands more people got on their bikes.

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Cycling was the only form of transport to report an increase in the number of fatalities last year.

The 11 cycling deaths figure is one higher than the previous year and a significant rise on the six cyclists who died in 2018.

Serious accident numbers involving cyclists have also increased by around a third – from 182 to 242.

Former Royal Marine Tansy Lee, 61, was one of those to lose their lives in 2020 following an accident in the Angus village of Auchmithie.

Last month Danielle Falconer, whose three-year-old daughter Robyn Knox died in an accident last year, criticised claims by the Scottish Government that the country’s road safety record is improving.

Her daughter die in August 2020 in an accident in Townhill, Dunfermline, when she left a shop and was killed by a car.

Ministers said in a Reported Road Casualties analysis that it had “met all targets” set out 12 years ago to reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads.

With a huge reduction in traffic due to lockdown last year it was felt the numbers dying on Scotland's road are at the lowest level since records began in 1950.

But Mrs Falconer said she "struggled" with the targets and said the number of children killed in Scotland trebled on the 2019 total.

Critics say that the targets were only met because of the "extreme" circumstances of lockdown.

In its latest publication the Scottish Government states there was an original ambition for a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed by 2020 but the actual figure was 52 per cent.

Similarly, the 2020 target of a 55 per cent reduction in those seriously injured was exceeded, with an actual figure of 68 per cent.

Originally it was hoped 2020 would deliver a 50 per cent reduction in the number of children killed below the age of 16. Instead the figure was 76 per cent down on the 2009 figure.

As Road Safety Week starts, critics say the figures show that despite the best efforts of government and other road safety groups to reduce the number of casualties, there are still a large number of major incidents occurring, relative to the amount of traffic on roads.

Jeanette Whyman, serious injury lawyer from Wright Hassall commented: "Despite the significant decrease in traffic in 2020, we are still seeing a considerable number of serious injuries on our roads, often resulting in people needing compensation for their life-changing injuries.

“Although the latest figures show a decline in the number of road traffic casualties, this 1reduction must be taken in context against an overall drop in car traffic vehicle miles.

“This shows major road traffic incidents are still a regular occurrence, which unfortunately means a lot of innocent victims will have their lives negatively impacted as a result. And ultimately, if it wasn’t your fault, then you shouldn’t be left to bear the emotional or financial consequences.”

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Brake has launched a campaign to celebrate the "invaluable" efforts of the emergency services, and has called for individuals, communities and organisations to share stories of their own road safety heroes – through social media, in schools, in company team meetings or special events.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “Whilst it is no surprise that with fewer car trips over the lockdown period, we’re seeing fewer road casualties – prior to the pandemic road casualties in Scotland had been showing a clear, ongoing reduction. Improving road safety further remains a priority for the Scottish Government.

“Our road safety partners and I know that one death on Scotland’s roads is one too many. The fact we’ve met all our casualty reductions targets, putting us among the best performing European countries, means very little to those who have sadly lost friends and love ones in tragic circumstances.

“In February we launched our new road safety framework for the next decade. It sets out a vision for Scotland to have the best road safety performance in the world by 2030 and an ambitious long term goal where no one is seriously injured or killed on our roads by 2050."