Ireland ranks high in EU for cutting deaths on our roads
IRELAND is among the best-performing EU countries in reducing deaths among cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
New research from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) shows deaths among these 'vulnerable' road users have fallen at some of the fastest rates in the EU.
However, motorists' refusal to heed the speed limits in cities is flagged as a cause for concern - and a speed limit of 30kmh for Irish cities is recommended.
"In Ireland, drivers have slowed down markedly in cities, but the mean speed is still 54kmh, with 53pc of vehicles exceeding the limit," it found.
"In residential areas, the mean speed is now 35kmh with only 4pc of vehicles exceeding 50kmh, suggesting that there is scope to follow many other European cities by reducing the speed limit to 30kmh."
The study examined road deaths in 30 countries in Europe and compared progress in reducing deaths among vulnerable road users.
- At least 15,300 pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists were killed in the EU in 2009, and 169,000 since 2001.
- In the last decade, deaths among cyclists and motorcyclists in Ireland fell by 75pc and 43pc respectively. This compares with an average of 34pc and 18pc.
- Fatalities among pedestrians fell by 55pc over the eight-year period, compared with an average of 34pc.
- These reductions have been achieved by a drop in average speed limits on urban roads.
Garda figures show that the number of people being killed on Irish roads between 2002 and 2010 fell from 376 to 212 - a drop of 43pc.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA), which drove through many of the measures, welcomed the report but warned that too many people continued to die on the roads.
So far this year, 71 people have lost their lives, 35 of whom were 'vulnerable'.
They included seven motorcyclists, with drunken pedestrians also of major concern.
"We've an ongoing problem in this country with drunken pedestrians," RSA chief executive Noel Brett said. "Tragically the scenarios are that people are so drunk they stagger on to or collapse on the road and are then run over by a motorist, who just didn't see them."
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