herald

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Plea after rise in bikers and cyclists killed on our roads

Gardai at the scene of a road accident in Finglas earlier in the year
Gardai at the scene of a road accident in Finglas earlier in the year

Ireland is set for one of the deadliest years for almost a decade for combined motorbike, pedal cycle and pedestrian deaths.

More than one in three lives lost so far this year on Irish roads have been in fatal accidents involving cyclists (7), motorbike riders (13) and pedestrians (21).

Road Safety Authority (RSA) and garda chiefs are alarmed given the spiral in deadly accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians after those sectors were the focus of major targeted safety campaigns.

In contrast, there has been a slight but steady decline in the number of drivers and their passengers involved in fatal collisions.

Concern

Road safety chiefs have expressed concern at the spiralling number of motorbike, cyclist and pedestrian fatalities on Irish roads during the course of this year.

The 20 deaths - not including pedestrians - represent 17pc, or around one in six of the 117 deaths on Irish roads so far this year.

While cyclist deaths have fallen from the peak levels witnessed in the 1990s, the figures this year represent a possible increase on record low fatalities recorded in 2010 and 2013.

The increase has been recorded despite the increasing provision of cycle lanes and repeated safety campaigns.

The proportion of fatal cycling accidents involving a car has also risen. Overall, fatal road accidents are up by almost 6pc this year on the comparable figures for 2018. While 117 people had died by October 15 on Irish roads this year, 111 had lost their lives over the same period in 2018 in traffic accidents.

The number of collisions is roughly the same in both time periods - 105 in 2018 compared to 107 so far this year. Dublin, Cork and Tipperary continue to have the highest number of fatal road accidents in Ireland.

Last year ranked as the safest year on Irish roads, with the lowest level of fatalities recorded over modern times.

Gardai, the RSA and safety groups have focused on emphasising the safe driving message - and cracking down on both speeding as well as drink and drug-driving.

Of the 117 deaths recorded so far this year, 62 included drivers and 14 involved passengers.

Increased garda numbers and new equipment for road policing units - including hand-held mobile devices for checking registration and licence details - are expected to further boost the safety campaign in the future.

The death toll prompted safety pleas from both gardai and the RSA in advance of a major crackdown over the October bank holiday weekend.

Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, who leads the Roads Policing Unit, urged motorists, truck drivers, pedestrians, bikers and cyclists to heed the safety pleas.

"Be mindful of the changing weather conditions that impact on road surfaces; never ever drink and drive; reduce your speed and arrive alive to prevent any further tragedy on our roads," he said.

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