Road safety body urges drivers to be aware of cyclists at junctions

Death of cyclist in Blackrock brings number of cyclist fatalities this year to five

About 40 per cent of collisions involving death or serious injury to cyclists occur at road intersections, according to research by the Road Safety Authority.

Crossroads and T-junctions, where vehicles or cyclists are turning, present some of the greatest dangers to cyclists, statistics compiled by the authority over a four-year period show.

RSA spokesman Brian Farrell was speaking following the death this week of Louise Butler (26) from Co Wicklow. Ms Butler died after a collision between her bicycle and a lorry at the junction of Frascati Road and Carysfort Avenue in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Her death brought to five the number of cyclists killed on the roads so far this year.


Mr Farrell said he was making no comment on the circumstances of the Blackrock incident, which is still under Garda investigation, but he said that with the growing number of cyclists using the roads, the authority was focused on ensuring their safety.

“Drivers need to be aware of the fact that cyclists are entitled to use the road and they are entitled to road space.”

The authority will in the coming weeks be renewing its television campaign to make motorists more aware of cyclists on the roads. It has also made a series of short internet films aimed at motorists and cyclists. One of them deals with the interaction on the road between cyclists and lorries. Others give guidance to cyclists on how to approach junctions and roundabouts and advice to motorists on safely overtaking cyclists.

“Motorists need to be particularly careful and mindful of cyclists at left-hand turns. They also need to make sure they give cyclists adequate space when they are overtaking, they need to leave at least 1.5 metres of space,” Mr Farrell said.

“Equally we would appeal to cyclist to be conscious of the fact they are vulnerable road users and that the rules of the road apply to them as much as to motorists.”

Cyclists make up about 2 per cent of road users but account for almost 5 per cent of road fatalities. However cycle safety has improved significantly in recent years. In 2007, 15 cyclists were killed on the roads. But last year, despite the continuing increase in the number of bicycles in use, eight cyclists were killed.

There have been particular improvements in cycle safety in Dublin following the introduction of the ban in 2007 on heavy goods vehicles in the city between 7am and 7pm. In 2011, the last year for which a county by county breakdown has been published, nine cyclists were killed in the Republic but only one of the fatalities was in Dublin.

Derek Peppard of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said Ms Butler's death was tragic, but added: "Dublin is now one of the safest cities in the world for cycling, but cyclists do need to think about their own safety and never go up the inside of a lorry at traffic lights."

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times