Sunday 25 February 2018

Appeal to motorists to 'slow down' as cyclist death toll trebles

Backing idea: Moyagh Murdock
Backing idea: Moyagh Murdock

Alan O'Keeffe

An appeal to motorists to slow down and give cyclists plenty of space was made today following a trebling of cyclist deaths so far this year.

National Bike Week begins on Saturday with an expected jump in numbers of cyclists using the roads.

The call for increased awareness by road-users of the vulnerable position of cyclists comes as it emerged that nine cyclists were killed so far this year compared to three cyclists killed  in the same period last year.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said today; "The number of cyclists is set to increase next week as many people take to the roads to mark National Bike Week.

"Against this backdrop is a worrying increase in the number of cyclist casualties and fatalities," he said.

Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, said; "Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road-users, yet many drivers do not demonstrate enough caution and awareness when sharing the road with cyclists.

"Drivers need to pay greater attention to their speed, as drivers are becoming increasingly distracted by mobile devices and they are also speeding in our towns and cities.

"Our own studies have found 82pc of drivers are exceeding the 50km/h speed limit in urban national areas.

"To put this in context, 9 out of 10 pedestrians, hit by a vehicle at 60km/h will die.

"Hit at 50km/h survival is literally the toss of a coin - 50-50."

Meanwhile, Colm Ryder, chairperson of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, said the Bike Week is a celebration of all positive things that cycling is about.

He called on motorists to give cyclists space and to slow down.

"It would be even better if motorists would get on their bikes themselves for one of the many bike events throughout the week outlined on www.bikeweek.ie "

He conceded there were also some "rogue cyclists" who break traffic lights and don't obey the rules of the road, just like some motorists, and he called on all to act safely.

Garda Superintendent Con O'Donohue of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said gardai will be focusing on speed limit enforcement during Bike Week.

"A speed limit is not a target....Drive at a speed that is appropriate for the environment and conditions," he said.

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