Sunday 21 April 2019

Helmets and hi-vis for cyclists a no-brainer

Irish roads, both urban and rural are not designed with cyclists in mind
Irish roads, both urban and rural are not designed with cyclists in mind

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

It appears that cycling groups aren't so keen on the recent Garda proposal to make it mandatory to wear helmets and hi-vis clothing while they are out on their bicycles.

For the life of me I cannot understand why.

Following the proposal last week, groups criticised the notion that this should be made compulsory and said that it is simply a red herring to distract from the real issue of road safety and enforcement of the laws in this regard. They say that if road traffic legislation was 'properly' implemented then the roads would be safer for cyclists.

To me, anything that makes the roads safer for all who use them can only be a good thing.

Apart from pedestrians, like it or not - cyclists are the most vulnerable and yet far too often they take life threatening risks which puts them completely at the mercy of those behind the wheel of cars, buses or even larger vehicles.

Those daredevils who just have to break the traffic lights, or practically slide past a moving car just to save a few seconds are the bane of a motorist's life.

Obviously not all cyclists, just like not all drivers are irresponsible, but given the risk that those on a bicycle face compared to those who have the protection of a vehicle face, isn't it preferable to be as safe as possible?

I don't know how anybody can hop up on a bike without at least a helmet on their head.

A light and cheap piece of kit could safe their life and yet, so many cyclists do not bother to wear one.

If they were required by law, in a very short space of time they would become universally accepted and it would be as if they were always mandatory.

The same goes for hi-vis gear. Why would you not wear it while walking, running or cycling - if it increases your safety, even marginally?

The real problem is that Irish roads, both urban and rural are not designed with cyclists in mind - regardless of how many people now opt for it as a mode of transport either for commuting or leisure purposes.

If the infrastructure was better, then everyone would be better catered for and in turn, safer. But this is an improvement that could take decades.

In the meantime, the onus is on all road users to cooperate for the safety of all.

Enniscorthy Guardian