independent

Sunday 18 November 2018

Stayin' Alive 1.5 campaign enlists Tour winner Thomas

This year’s winner, Geraint Thomas, backing Phil Skelton’s campaign at the Tour de France
This year’s winner, Geraint Thomas, backing Phil Skelton’s campaign at the Tour de France

A safe driving campaign founded by County Wexford man Phil Skelton to help save the lives of cyclists on Irish roads has enlisted the support of Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.

Phil Skelton, who is a member of the Slaney Cycling Club in Enniscorthy, set up the Stayin' Alive at 1.5 campaign in 2013 following the deaths of two cyclists in Wexford as a result of collisions with cars travelling in the same direction. The campaign seeks to impose a mandatory 1.5 metre passing distance on motorists when overtaking cyclists on our roads.

Phil has distributed approximately 10,000 car window stickers with the Stayin' Alive at 1.5m message and supported the creation of similar stickers in Sligo, Wexford and Kerry. Five local authorities have introduced the 'Stayin' Alive at 1.5' logo on suitable vehicles. These are Wexford, Kerry, Donegal, Sligo, Mayo. Phil said: 'One of the early things that I did was to design a jersey with this specific message on it. This I was able to fund with the proceeds of a bet on the 2013 Grand National winner Auroras Encore who won at odds of 66/1.'

Little did he know that five years later, these gilets would be displayed at world cycling's biggest event, Le Tour de France.

During his visit to Le Tour, Phil met winner Geraint Thomas, who happily posed with a gilet highlighting the Stayin' Alive campaign. He said: 'This opportunity came when a guy from Australia called, Skippy McCarthy visited me in Wexford a few weeks prior to Le Tour. He had been following the campaign and I gave him a gift of one of the Wexford Bus sponsored campaign gilets. He has a lot of access to the riders and took the opportunity to ask them to pose with the jersey to get this message out there.'

Phil also met With Ireland's Dan Martin on Le Tour. He was honoured last year by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) when he received the Road Safety Authority CEO's Special Recognition award for his work on the Stayin' Alive at 1.5 campaign. The prestigious award followed on from the IRVA Light of Hope award which was presented to him by RSA CEO Moyagh Murdock and chairperson of the RSA Liz O'Donnell at the 'Leading Lights in Road Safety' awards.

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