The number of pedestrians injured on Aberdeen roads has reached its highest level for a decade, new figures reveal.
Questions were being asked last night after it emerged that the number of pedestrians seriously injured on city roads more than doubled between 2007 and 2008.
Statistics obtained by the Press and Journal show Aberdeen “bucked the trend” last year by recording its highest level of pedestrian injuries since 1998.
While the number of pedestrian fatalities in city roads dropped from three to two between 2007 and 2008, serious injuries jumped from 25 to 51, and slight injuries from 101 to 118.
A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents was concerned by the UK Department for Transport figures.
He said: “It’s always disappointing, especially when road casualties across Britain in 2008 were at a record low, to hear of a rise or of an area which is bucking the trend.
“It’s difficult to attribute a reason for the increase. It will be interesting to see when more detailed information comes out later in the year.
“When you hear of a rise in an individual city, it’s a jolt back to reality that there’s still a lot to be done.”
Each fatality on Scotland’s roads costs taxpayers an estimated £1,648,390, while every serious accident costs £185,220.
Aberdeen witnessed significant drops in the number of pedestrian casualties every year between 1990, when there were 372, and 1996, when the rate had almost halved, to 187.
By 1998 it had risen to 213, before it fell to a record low of 99 in 2003.
There were 129 pedestrian casualties in the city in 2007, and last year 171 were recorded, the highest figure since 1998.
Scottish Government targets to reduce casualties in all road accidents envisage the number of deaths being reduced by 30% by 2015 and 40% by 2020, and the number seriously injured dropping by 43% and 55% in the same period.
A government spokeswoman said: “Road casualties in Scotland are now at their lowest level for almost 60 years, while injuries to pedestrians in Aberdeen city have fallen in the past decade, from 213 in 1998 to 171 in 2008.
“However, it is clear that there are still too many families suffering the loss of a loved one on our roads.”
A spokeswoman for Aberdeen City Council said road safety was a major priority for the local authority.
“We can’t explain the rise in the number of accidents because, by their very nature, they are accidental,” she said.
“A rise is not what we want to see and council officers work very hard to make our roads as safe as possible.
“We regularly analyse the information provided to us by Grampian Police about each and every accident and look for patterns which may explain what happened.”