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Plea for everybody to take care on busy rural roads

By Chris Saunderson

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COVID-19 restrictions have seen a surge in the numbers of people walking and cycling in the Scottish countryside.

And that has prompted NFU Scotland and Sustrans Scotland to call for extra consideration to be shown between all users of rural roads across the busy summer period to ensure all remain safe.

There is extra traffic of all kind on the rural roads at the moment.
There is extra traffic of all kind on the rural roads at the moment.

Tom French, chairman of NFU Scotland’s legal and technical committee said: “The combination of Covid-19 restrictions, more people exercising on country roads and the longer and warmer days, we have seen a huge spike in the number of people accessing the Scottish countryside by foot and bike.

“This time is a critical and busy time for Scotland’s farmers. The volume of large agricultural traffic is heavier on rural roads at this time of year with silage-making, meaning that that the public are more likely to come into contact with it.

“We would urge other road users, including more vulnerable users such as walkers, cyclists and horse riders to be aware of the presence of agricultural traffic on rural roads.

“It is equally important that drivers of these agricultural vehicles are aware of other road users and take due care around them. I would urge any agricultural drivers to slow down and leave plenty of space for other road users.

“The important message to get through is that care and common courtesy from all road users will make our country roads safer for everyone.”

And Tom Bishop, head of network development at Sustrans Scotland said: “With longer and warmer days, the summer months always encourage a spike in people exploring walking and cycling routes including the National Cycle Network by foot and bike.

“As lockdown restrictions are eased, we anticipate this year to be just as busy with people exploring some of Scotland’s most spectacular landscapes.

“With many rural sections of the Network incorporating stretches along minor roads, it is crucial that consideration is shown by everyone along the roads, whether they choose to walk, cycle, wheel or drive.

“We urge all those exploring the outstanding beauty along these routes to maximise their enjoyment by remaining aware and considerate towards all fellow travellers.”

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