Sharp rise in pedestrians being killed on roads
THE number of pedestrians killed on our roads has shown a sharp increase so far this year -- despite overall road death figures falling to record low levels.
The head of the Garda National Traffic Bureau yesterday revealed that 24 of the 89 people killed so far this year were pedestrians, while another six were motorcyclists.
Assistant Commissioner Kevin Ludlow stressed that, despite 19 fewer deaths on the roads in the first five months of this year, there was no room for complacency.
And he warned that vulnerable road users are on course for a higher death rate on our roads this year than in 2009, when 239 people lost their lives. The dead included 40 pedestrians, seven cyclists and 27 motorcyclists.
"Of particular concern is the fact that one-third of the people killed on our roads are pedestrians, the majority of whom are over 40 years of age," Mr Ludlow said.
"Pedestrians should wear bright clothing when walking on isolated or rural roads and to be alert for vehicles approaching. We are asking motorists to slow down at all times, and particularly when approaching villages, towns or other areas frequented by pedestrians.
"Motorcyclists continue to be over-represented in the fatalities and since the middle of April, four riders have lost their lives. As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists will take to the roads. Research indicates that the majority of motorcycle fatalities occur over the weekends and during daylight hours. Forty per cent of these types of collisions are single-vehicle collisions, where the bike collides with a solid object or parked vehicle."
A major enforcement campaign will be in operation over the June bank holiday weekend as thousands of people take to the roads.
Last year, 298 people were arrested for driving under the influence over the same weekend. Four people were killed in collisions.
A nationwide clampdown on drink driving, speeding and the wearing of seat belts -- particularly for back-seat passengers -- will be enforced this weekend.
"While fatalities are down by 19 on last year, as road users we cannot be complacent," Mr Ludlow said.
"We all have a responsibility to concentrate on the road, to ensure that the downward trend in fatalities and injuries on our roads continues -- one collision is one too many.
"To passengers, we say always wear your seatbelt, no matter how short the journey. If you are unhappy with the speed or manner of driving, do something about it -- don't wait until it's too late."
Road users are encouraged to report incidents of dangerous or reckless driving to the Garda Siochana's Traffic Watch on 1890 205 805.