A rural cycling club has become the first in Ireland to introduce a high visibility kit built into its members' gear, in response to a surge in fatal and serious accidents involving cyclists across the country.
Ballisodare Bay Cycling Club, in Ballisodare, Co Sligo, is making the move after members decided to look for ways to make it easier for motorists to see them.
The club’s new jerseys will incorporate a vivid neon green colour that can be seen by motorists and other drivers from a greater distance. Its previous kit was red and white.
Interest in cycling has grown in recent years but so too have deaths and injuries with Irish roads busier than ever with cars, trucks, buses, tractors – and bikes - all competing for limited space.
At least six cyclists have died on Irish roads this year, prompting the Ballisodare club to introduce the high visibility kit in response. 10 cyclists died on Irish roads last year.
Club PRO Dolores McCann said: “Across Ireland, we are currently witnessing an increase in numbers joining clubs and with that has come a lot of debate around safety and being visible.
“Country roads, such as the ones that we cycle, can be particularly hazardous and we all have a responsibility to make ourselves better seen and to help avoid accidents.
“Ballisodare Bay Cycling Club has taken the initiative and introduced the visible kit for all members. We have done this because there is reluctance among some cyclists to wear yellow high vis bibs over their jerseys.”
Club members said the aim was to help drivers to see cyclists quicker and farther down the road.
Dolores added: “The club values its members and their safety is priority. With a push on to get give drivers a minimum passing distance of 1.5 metres when passing cyclists, this neon green colour will go some way in safety and visibility.”
Ballisodare Bay Cycling Club is affiliated with Cycling Ireland the recognised body for cycling clubs. All clubs pay an annual fee to be affiliated and all members pay an annual insurance fee to Cycling Ireland.
“All clubs have an etiquette for cycling in a group and while most people and motorists are respectful of cyclists some feel cyclists are not visible enough,” added Dolores.
“Others don’t realise groups are allowed to cycle in two abreast formation and have the same rights on the roads. With little money been provided to improving infrastructure and better bike lanes and road surfaces, it is important that all road users respect each other.”
Ballisodare Bay Cycling club was formed in 2016 and caters for all abilities. The club’s annual charity cycle will be held on Saturday 23rd June with proceeds going to a local community sports complex development.