Almost 75% of cyclists killed in Dublin were hit by HGVs turning left

 

ALMOST THREE-QUARTERS of cyclists killed on Dublin roads are hit by left-turning heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), according to a new report from Dublin City Council.

The report, compiled by the council’s traffic department from Garda statistics, found that cars were the most likely vehicles to be involved in collisions with bicycles but the majority of serious and fatal incidents involved HGVs.

It recommends that cyclops mirrors be made compulsory on all HGVs, provision be made to segregate cyclists from HGVs, and an awareness campaign to warn cyclists of the dangers of left-turning HGVs be introduced.

Of the 427 collisions involving cyclists reported to the Garda in Dublin city from 2002-2006, only 11 involved fatalities. However, eight of these deaths were of cyclists killed by left-turning lorries. Of the three other fatalities, one involved a vehicle hitting a cyclist when changing lanes, in another a vehicle rear-ended the cyclist while the third was caused by a stolen vehicle driving head on into a cyclist.

Almost 70 per cent off all cycle collisions involved cars. Although left-turning vehicles were involved the majority of fatalities, the most common collision involved right-turning cars. These accounted for just under 20 per cent of incidents. The next most common type is classified as “side swipes”, accounting for 15 per cent of collisions. These occur where a vehicle overtaking a cyclist or changing lanes hits the bicycle.

Drivers or passengers opening car doors in front of cyclists accounted for about 14 per cent of incidents, and left-turning vehicles hitting cyclists accounted for just over 12 per cent.

Crashes where the fault is more likely to be attributable to the cyclist accounted for a much smaller proportion of incidents. In just over 4 per cent a cyclist hit a pedestrian, while in fewer than 3 per cent of collisions a cyclist turned right into on-coming traffic.

The more serious a crash, the more likely it was to involve a vehicle turning left, according to the report. While 73 per cent of fatalities were at a left turn (all involving HGVs) almost one-third resulting in serious injury to the cyclist involved a left-turning vehicle. A further 18 per cent of serious injuries were caused when a vehicle turned right and hit a cyclist, while 11 per cent involved sideswipes from vehicles.

The report also found that November was the worst month for collisions, that cyclists between the ages of 20 and 29 were the most likely to be involved in incidents and that commuters, not school children or teenagers, were involved in the greater number of collisions with vehicles.

The traffic department is to put recommendations to city councillors tomorrow. Chief among these is a recommendation that cyclops mirrors be fitted to HGVs so they can better see cyclists on their left. The report found that in the majority of left-turning collisions the HGV driver did not see the cyclist. It also recommends that all cycle lanes be inspected annually. Several collisions occurred when cyclists were forced to move out of the lane to avoid potholes or sunken gullies.

Cycling: key findings

Top four types of cycle accidents

  • Drivers turning right in front of an oncoming bicycle.
  • Drivers hitting a bicycle when overtaking or changing lanes.
  • Car doors being opened in front of cyclists.
  • Drivers hitting cyclists when turning left.

Recommendations

  • Segregation of bicycles and HGVs where possible.
  • Awareness campaign on the danger of left-turning HGVs.
  • Upgrade of cycle lanes to remove potholes, sunken gullies and poor surfaces.
  • Enforcement of legislation regarding the use of bicycle lights.
  • Encourage more cycling to produce a “safety in numbers” effect.
  • Provide additional cycling infrastructure on a “most used routes” priority basis.

 

“Cyclops” mirrors made compulsory on all HGVs.