Road safety: looking out for cyclists

Number of cyclist deaths this year has doubled

 

Road safety applies to everybody – motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. All are vulnerable and have duties of care to each other. A doubling in the number of cyclist deaths this year prompted the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to launch a campaign asking motorists to allow a 1.5m passing distance when overtaking. Legislation to that effect is before the Dáil but it is difficult to see how penalties could be imposed. Its usefulness may lie in impressing on motorists the vulnerability of cyclists and the need to respect them as road-using equals.

Excessive speed is one of the greatest threats on the road. But impact with a cyclist or pedestrian at even 50km an hour carries a 50 per cent death threat. Dealing with that particular vulnerability requires personal visibility, a redesign of dangerous junctions and greater traffic awareness by all. The number of pedestrian deaths greatly exceeded that of cyclists over many years. Until now, that is. Cycling organisations are now seeking greater investment in cycle lanes and road improvements to make roads safer and user-friendly for everybody. That is the way to go. But cyclists have their own responsibilities regarding lighting; high visibility clothing and helmets; clear signals; awareness of visual black spots on lorries and strict adherence to the rules of the road. Motorists should recognise their particular vulnerability, slow down and give them more room when overtaking.

The number of cyclists in Dublin and other cities has grown exponentially in the past decade. As a cheap, healthy and environmentally friendly means of transport, it would be a terrible shame if concerns about road safety stifled its growth. Most fatal collisions occur at road junctions, according to the RSA, and it has conducted a number of campaigns designed to raise awareness of this with truck drivers, motorists and cyclists. Seven of the 11 deaths recorded this year took place outside of Dublin. That may reflect inadequate investment in rural roads and cycle lanes, rather than individual fault. Whatever the reason, greater care by all road users is required.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.