Wednesday 25 April 2018

'We can't lose anyone else' - calls for more investment in cycling safety after 15 cyclists killed this year

Cyclist. Stock photo
Cyclist. Stock photo

Kathy Armstrong

More investment is needed to improve safety conditions for cycling here after 15 cyclists were killed on our roads so far this year, an advocacy group has said.

Eric Rutter (40s) was the latest cyclist to lose his life in a tragic accident at 7am on Sunday at Kilcop on the Dunmore Road near Woodstown, Co Waterford.

Mr Rutter was the 15th cyclist to die on our roads so far in 2017, compared to ten in 2016.

Cycling Ireland has called the fatalities "absolutely horrific" as they called for more investment in cycling here.

Communications Officer Heather Boyle told Independent.ie: "It's incredibly sad, an interesting thing is that the deaths have happened in such varying circumstances, some at night, some in the morning, some in urban areas, other in rural areas, older people have died, younger cyclists have died, it's absolutely horrific."

Ms Boyle listed several measures which she thinks would help save lives.

She said: "There are a lot more people cycling then there used to be, our membership has increased 700 per cent over the past ten years but there hasn't been much more in investment.

"We're calling on the government to allocate 10pc of the transport budget on cycling - this could be used for infrastructure and to help educate people on how to share the roads.

"There aren't enough cycling lanes and the majority of them are non-functioning and just end abruptly.

"We would also ask that all cyclists are educated about the rules of the road and maybe it is appropriate to question whether these rules are still suitable for Ireland?

The Census revealed a significant increase in the number of people cycling to work
The Census revealed a significant increase in the number of people cycling to work

"I think it is important that there is more reporting about cycling fatalities, if there was a helicopter crash or a car accident you would know what happened and this information is important to inform and change behaviour."

Ms Boyle said that it's key that a division isn't made between motorists and cyclists.

She said: "A lot of people don't know how to share the road and they might not be patient but it's important not to create and us versus them situation.

"Also, most cyclists drive and many drivers cycle, even if you don't cycle, we would ask motorists what kind of experience would they want their children to have if they were cycling?
"Just yesterday my husband was going for a cycle and I felt worried for the first time, that isn't right, cycling has been around for years and people shouldn't stop doing a hobby they love because they are afraid of their safety."

She added that we must do everything possible to prevent more families having to face the reality of road accidents.

She said: "It's coming up to Christmas and we cannot lose anyone else on our roads.

"The number of cyclists dying on our roads has increased and this isn't a trend we want to see continue.

"Every cyclist death is a family that is devastated and if another road user is involved their family will be devastated too.

"I think the government should step in a little and investment more in infrastructure, road safety initiatives and education to help people to use the roads properly."

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