Four-fifths of Irish cycling injuries occur on urban roads, study finds

Road Safety Authority study says most cyclists hurt during peak commuter times

Four in five cycling injuries occur on urban roads and more than half happen at junctions, according to research from the Road Safety Association. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times.

Four in five cycling injuries occur on urban roads and more than half happen at junctions, according to research from the Road Safety Association. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times.

 

Four in five cycling injuries in Ireland occur on urban roads with more than half happening at junctions, according to research from the Road Safety Association (RSA).

The study found that 87 per cent of cycling injuries occured on urban roads with speed limits of 60km/h or less and more than 90 per cent happen in collisions involving at least one other vehicle.

It found that cycling injuries occured more often during peak commuting times - between 8am and 8.59am and 5pm and 6.59pm.

More than half of the injuries occured at junctions and nearly a quarter happened in collisions at T-junctions.

As part of the study, the authority analysed the leading causes of cyclist injuries from 2006-2018 and found the number reported increased from 211 in 2006 to 1,056 in 2018. It advised caution when interpreting the figures due to the growth in popularity of cycling as a mode of transport and due to new reporting mechanisms enabling the collection of more detailed data on those injured in road collisions.

Another contributing factor to cycling injuries was vehicles manoeuvring. One in five injuries occurred when cars were turning right. However, for goods vehicles, the opposite was true, with one in five cyclist injuries happening while the goods vehicle was turning left.

‘Failure to observe’

The most common driver action prior to a collision with a cyclist is “failure to observe”, representing approximately two in five cyclist injuries with cars and goods vehicles.

In response to the findings, the RSA is calling for more investment in cycling infrastructure and a greater roll out of 30km/h speed limits in urban areas.

Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the RSA, said there is a need to remove the “potential for conflict” between cyclists and cars by providing “more dedicated and better cycling infrastructure”.

“While the announcement of the creation of a cycle lane on the north quays in Dublin city is a welcome development, much more needs to be done,” Ms Murdock said.

“Ireland is lagging behind many of our European counterparts in introducing dedicated cycle tracks. We need separate infrastructure for vehicles and bicycles that remove danger points from our roads and reduce conflict between road users.”

She added that the “clear message” is motorists need to slow down, particularly in urban areas and during peak travel times.

“Not only will cyclists, and other vulnerable road users, have greater chances of survival if involved in a collision, slowing down will give drivers time and space to react, especially if they are distracted, and avoid a collision in the first place.”