Children in Scotland’s poorest areas nearly 3 times more likely to be injured by road traffic than those in the richest

Children scooting along the pavement in a suburban area
A map showing the occurrence of accidents in Edinburgh

Edinburgh datazone with pie charts of accidents taking place there. Areas high on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation highlighted in red.

A map showing the occurrence of accidents in Aberdeen

Aberdeen datazone with pie charts of accidents taking place there. Areas high on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation highlighted in red.

A map showing the occurrence of accidents in Glasgow Centre

Glasgow Centre datazone with pie charts of accidents taking place there. Areas high on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation highlighted in red.

22 May 2019

Sustrans Scotland analysis highlights that children on foot or bike are more than three times as likely to be involved in a traffic accident in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland than the 20% least deprived areas. 

The findings were shared at the Scottish Transport Applications Research conference (22 May 2019) as part of a presentation entitled “Investing in cycling to tackle transport poverty and promote equity” by Sustrans Scotland Senior Policy Officer, Alex Quayle. 

Though it is well-established that there are more road traffic accidents in more deprived areas, this data looks at children travelling on foot or by bike only and maps clusters of accidents. It also makes a direct comparison between the most deprived and least deprived areas in Scotland.

Commenting on the analysis, Sustrans Scotland National Director, John Lauder said:

“This analysis shines a light on a ‘double injustice’ being done to Scotland’s poorest communities. Firstly, communities are locked out of opportunities through transport poverty. Secondly, children in those communities are at 3 times higher risk of death or injury while out walking or cycling, simply due to their postcode.

“We are calling on local authorities and government to implement more widespread high-quality infrastructure and slower speed in streets to make children and young people safer, especially in Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas”.

Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance, one of Scotland’s leading anti-Poverty charities commented:

“These figures from Sustrans are very concerning. We know that living on a low income can damage young lives in a variety of ways, impacting on health, education and future employment prospects. But there is a pressing need to better understand the precise reasons why children living in some parts of Scotland are more likely to be the victims of road traffic accidents.

"Whatever the reasons, we need to ensure that resources are made available to improve safety standards in communities across Scotland."

Read Alex Quayle’s analysis of the data 

Read more about our work in Scotland