Pedestrians and cyclists warned in road safety plan


PEDESTRIANS, CYCLISTS and bikers in the Dublin area are to be targeted by gardaí as part of a new high-profile road safety campaign.

The “casualty reduction” plan, launched yesterday, will see “the full rigours of the law” applied to cyclists who go through red lights, cycle on footpaths or travel the wrong way on a one-way street facing increased levels of Garda enforcement.

Similarly, warned the Garda, pedestrians who cross roads at unofficial crossing points should also prepare for a Garda interview and possible prosecution.

And motorbikers who speed between junctions, particularly in the 50km/h zone, are to face greater enforcement.

The campaign will see awareness of road safety raised though electronic messaging at Luas stops and roadside messages. Buses and bus shelters are to carry road safety posters, while each of the four local authorities in the Dublin region will run awareness campaigns including educational visits to primary and secondary schools.

Local councils, the National Transport Authority, the National Roads Authority and the Road Safety Authority as well as the Garda are taking part. Bus, lorry, coach, tram and taxi organisations will also be involved.

The campaign is to run for eight weeks and will cover the high-risk October/November period when less daylight and poorer weather conditions increase the level of hazard on the roads. Dublin already has the safest roads of any EU capital, with numbers of fatalities having fallen from 32 in 2009 to 19 in 2010 and 11 in 2011.

However, Assistant Garda Commissioner Gerry Phillips said vulnerable road users were still overrepresented in statistics for death and serious injuries. Six of the 11 deaths last year were pedestrians, he said.

Garda analysis of crashes and incidents in the Dublin area show:

some 76 per cent of those killed or seriously injured were defined as “vulnerable road users” such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorbikers;

almost 80 per cent of incidents occurred in 50km/h zones;

high-risk periods for vulnerable road users were identified as 4pm-6pm Monday to Friday;

early mornings at weekends were identified as times of high risk of single-vehicle collisions often involving speed and alcohol; Garda districts with the highest levels of fatal and serious injury crashes were Clondalkin, Tallaght, Coolock, Blanchardstown, Ballymun, Store Street, Lucan, Dún Laoghaire and Raheny.

Mr Phillips said the Dublin plan would be mirrored around the country through “Operation Focus”, an ongoing campaign to improve road safety.

Road Safety Authority spokesman Brian Farrell said it had been a particularly worrying summer with the trend in road deaths rising.