An MSP has called on the Scottish Government to “think again” about its timetable for upgrading Scotland’s road network, after a number of fatal accidents since the start of the year. 

It comes after a fatal crash involving three vehicles in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, at the weekend, brought the death toll on Scotland’s roads to 20 in the past six weeks.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Transport Minister Graham Simpson told The Herald that it is “vital” that improvements are carried out across the road network “to avoid any more avoidable deaths”.

He said: “The number of fatal road accidents and other serious incidents by this early in the year must make the SNP Government think again about their timetable for crucial maintenance and upgrades.

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“In particular, they must make good on their pledge to dual the A9 and A96, where delays have meant notorious accident blackspots are still not being tackled. It’s vital that action is taken.”

An analysis of Police Scotland data by The Herald has found that, of the 20 road deaths so far this year on Scotland’s roads, eight have involved pedestrians and two have involved cyclists.

Responding to the figures, Scotland’s national cycling organisation, Cycling Scotland, said one death or serious injury involving a cyclist is “one too many”. 

The Herald: Police at the scene of a fatal accident in Glasgow last monthPolice at the scene of a fatal accident in Glasgow last month (Image: Newsquest Colin Mearns)

A Cycling Scotland spokesperson said: “It’s tragic and unacceptable that anyone is being killed or seriously injured cycling on our roads.

“The chance of being seriously injured or killed cycling on Scottish roads is low but one death or serious injury is one too many. And in the majority of crashes with people cycling, the vehicle driver is wholly or partially at fault.

“Cycling Scotland and partner organisations have been clear for many years that the top priority for safe cycling is to create more dedicated networks of cycle lanes, separate from vehicle traffic and pedestrians. Many other steps are also needed to create safer roads for all, including tackling speeding, failure to look and other dangerous driving behaviour. Dangerous driving puts everyone at risk and it cannot be accepted.

“We work in partnership with the police on Operation Close Pass, to educate people about giving space to people on bikes while driving. Safer roads for cycling will be safer roads for everyone”.

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “The fact that road casualties have fallen in recent years, even with increasing car use over time, means very little to those who have sadly lost friends and loved ones in tragic circumstances. 

“We are aware this year has already seen tragic accidents across the road network and we remain committed to acting with our partners to address the issues these present to communities, society and the individuals involved.

“To improve safety for all road users, the Scottish Government published an ambitious Road Safety Framework for the next decade. The framework sets out a compelling long-term goal, Vision Zero, where there are zero fatalities and injuries on Scotland’s roads by 2050. 

“In addition to enforcement undertaken by Police Scotland to challenge behaviour, this work will be supported by new educational campaigns led by Road Safety Scotland and other partners, to change attitudes and improve safety for all road users.”