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Cyclists demanding action as death toll on roads reaches 47

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A cycling group has called for action over fatalities on the roads

A cycling group has called for action over fatalities on the roads

A cycling group has called for action over fatalities on the roads

A cycling group is calling for official action after another cyclist was killed at the weekend.

There have been 47 deaths in total on our roads this year, four more than this time last year. The most recent was a woman in her 40s in Skibbereen, Co Cork, who lost her life on Sunday.

A spokesperson for Dublin Cycling Campaign insisted that cuts to garda numbers were an issue and that legislation was needed for cyclists' safety on country roads.

"Firstly there is a lack of enforcement on the roads with An Garda Siochana and their numbers in the traffic corps, severely reduced since the economic crash," the spokesperson said.

"But I understand there are moves now to increase this recently by the new commissioner, Drew Harris.

Distance

"In country roads where it's not possible to provide safe segregated cycling infrastructure, there needs to be legislation enacted for a safe passing distance law of 1.5 metres.

"We are waiting to hear the Attorney General's decision on a revised law that will charge drivers with dangerous overtaking instead of a minimum overtaking distance law of 1.5 metres, which was seen to be unenforceable in the courts."

In response, a garda spokesperson said that the traffic corps had undergone an internal examination and evaluation of its roles and functions.

This has the aim of improving the service to the community and the corps' contribution to road safety.

"In a further commitment to road safety, the garda commissioner appointed a further 63 gardai in October 2018, bringing the total number of gardai in roads policing to over 700," the spokesperson said.

"Further appointments will be made in 2019, 2020 and 2021 in order to reach a commitment given by the commissioner to incrementally increase the numbers in roads policing to 1,031 by 2021."

The cycling group also railed against delays to developing a cycle network in Dublin due to a lack of funding and staffing at Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councils.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said last night: "Minister Shane Ross has secured significant increases in the amount of funding available to support cycling and walking infrastructure."

This includes allocations of more than €110m dedicated to cycling and walking infrastructure in major urban areas up to 2021.

In relation to minimum passing distance, the spokesperson said the department is building on the existing legislation in relation to dangerous overtaking that will, in particular, specifically target those drivers who put cyclists at risk.