With COVID-19 restrictions bringing a surge in the numbers of people walking and cycling in the Scottish countryside, it is more important than ever that users of rural roads show proper consideration to each other.

In a joint statetment, NFU Scotland and walking and cycling charity Sustrans Scotland have called for 'care and common courtesy' to help keep everyone on the roads safe.

Chairman of NFU Scotland’s Legal and Technical committee, Tom French, said: “With 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," noted Mr French.

“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.”

Head of Network Development at Sustrans Scotland, Tom Bishop, 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," said Mr Bishop.

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