Helmets halve risks of fatality
Cyclists urged to use their heads as safety campaign gets into gear
CYCLISTS who don't wear a helmet are twice as likely to be killed on the roads than those who use head protection.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said yesterday that between 1997 and 2009, a total of 175 bicyclists died on the roads but many of these deaths could have been avoided if people had been wearing a helmet.
However, the number of cyclists dying on the roads is falling.
In 1997, there were 24 fatalities which fell to seven in 2009. Last year, three cyclists were killed.
An analysis of deaths and serious injuries among cyclists also reveals that just over half -- 51pc -- of fatal collisions occur in rural areas, and that most happen in daylight.
The RSA yesterday launched a radio advertising campaign to raise awareness of road safety among cyclists.
The campaign, which will run on local and national radio stations over the next two weeks, hopes to educate cyclists on how to stay safe on the roads.
Safety bosses said that cyclists who did not wear a helmet, which can cost as little as €20, were twice as likely to die after a collision.
"This is an important awareness campaign for the RSA as cyclists continue to be vulnerable on our roads," said chief executive Noel Brett.
"We are reminding cyclists that it's everyone's responsibility to pay attention and stay safe on the roads.
"Simple actions such as wearing a helmet and high visibility jacket, obeying the rules of the road and anticipating what drivers may do, could save your life."
The campaign comes as new figures show that in the 12-year period studied, 175 cyclists were killed -- or 3.6pc of all road fatalities -- while another 444 were seriously injured.
The figures also show:
- Most cyclists killed are aged 50-64 years, with 33 fatalities in the 12-year period studied. Young people aged 10-16 years are the next highest group, with 31 deaths.
- Almost a quarter are killed on a Tuesday, and one in three collisions occur between 4pm and 7pm, or the evening rush-hour.
- More than one in five deaths occurs in Dublin city centre.
- More than a third of fatal collisions happen in the summer.
- More than 67pc of road deaths among cyclists occurred during daylight hours.
- Two-thirds of the total were killed after colliding with a car, while 24pc were involved in a collision with a truck.
The RSA will distribute 20,000 high-visibility rucksack covers during April to cyclists, to help improve visibility on the roads.
The authority has already distributed thousands of high visibility jackets to cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians all over the country.