Saturday 17 August 2019

Cyclists want Garda action after another fatal accident

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Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

A cycling group concerned at the lack of Garda enforcement on Irish roads is calling for action after another cyclist was killed at the weekend.

There have been 48 deaths on Irish roads this year, four more than this time last year. A female cyclist, who was in her 40s, was killed in an accident in Skibbereen, Co Cork on Sunday.

A spokesperson for Dublin Cycling Campaign (DCC) insisted cuts to gardaí numbers were an issue and legislation was needed for cyclists' safety on country roads.

"Firstly, there is a lack of enforcement on the roads with An Garda Síochána and their numbers in the traffic corps severely reduced since the economic crash," the spokesperson said.

"But I understand there are moves now to increase this recently by the new Commissioner, Drew Harris.

"In country roads where it's not possible to provide safe segregated cycling infrastructure, there needs to be legislation enacted for a safe passing distance law of 1.5 metres.

"We are waiting to hear the Attorney General's decision on a revised law that will charge drivers with dangerous overtaking instead of a minimum overtaking distance law of 1.5 metres which was seen to be unenforceable in the courts."

A Garda spokesperson said that as part of the modernisation and renewal programme 2016-2021, the traffic corps had undergone an internal examination and evaluation of its roles and functions.

This has the aim of improving the service to the community and the corps' contribution to road safety. "In a further commitment to road safety and community safety, the Garda commissioner appointed a further 63 gardaí in October 2018, bringing the total number of gardaí in roads policing to more than 700," the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said last night: "Minister Shane Ross has secured significant increases in the amount of funding available to support cycling and walking infrastructure."

In relation to minimum passing distance, the spokesperson said: "The Attorney General had raised issues in relation to the proposed legislation that would impose a minimum passing distance when motorists overtake cyclists.

"The department has looked for alternatives, which would be legally more robust, but still deliver the same results of improving the safety of cyclists on our roads."

Meanwhile, a man, in his 20s, was killed last night following a single vehicle road collision in Co Waterford. Gardaí in Tramore are investigating the crash that occurred near O'Keeffe's Cross in Dunhill at about 6pm. The man, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured when his vehicle hit a wall.

Irish Independent

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