Call for change to junction after cyclist dies in accident

The sister of a woman cyclist who died in a traffic accident in Co Kerry last week is demanding the road authorities carry out urgent improvements to a notorious stretch of a bypass road.

Suzanne and Anthony Dennehy hold a photo of Annette Mannix and a petition for better road safety.

Annette Mannix, aged 48, had taken up cycling just four weeks prior to the accident on the Killarney bypass.

She was with a group of 20 members of the Killarney Cycling Club at the Leiws Road junction, a short distance from her home at St Brendan’s Place when she died after an incident involving a tractor.

The section of road has been the subject of local concern for years.

Annette’s sister, Suzanne Mannix Dennehy, said Annette had been a member of a residents’ committee seeking parking and road safety improvements in the Lewis road area.

Describing Annette as a “quiet, determined person,” with a big heart, Ms Mannix Dennehy said her late sister had witnessed a tragic accident some years ago.

“It’s hard to believe that she has now been killed in one,” she said.

At the removal of remains, 450 people signed a petition seeking charges at the junction where the tragedy occurred.

She said the idea of asking people to sign a petition, alongside the book of condolence at the removal service, had been “a cry for help”.

There had been numerous collisions, signage was very confusing and, at the very least, the speed limit needed to be reduced, Ms Mannix Dennehy said.

“It takes a death on the bypass to bring the spotlight on it,” she said.

At the funeral Mass on Sunday last, Fr Jim Lenihan spoke of the need for cycle paths to be included in road designs and he expressed a hope Annette’s death would not be in vain.

The dangers presented to road users at the junction was also raised at the monthly meeting of Kerry County Council, this week.

Due to the frequency of incidents, including collisions, at a highly dangerous spot between junctions, one of which leads to the Fitzgerald GAA stadium and the town centre.

Last month, county councillor Donal Grady tabled a motion calling for action, warning at the time the council had “a duty to protect lives”.

Cllr Maura Healy-Rae also suggested a disused railway underpass for pedestrians should be reopened due to the danger of people crossing the N22 bypass to sports fields and residential areas.

A spokesman for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said it was in discussions with gardaí and the local authority in relation to the route.

Gardai investigating the death said Ms Mannix had been cycling with a group. A tractor towing agricultural equipment was involved. The tractor stopped immediately and was extremely shocked.

Having talked to a number of witnesses, gardai said preliminary investigations pointed to the death being an “unfortunate accident”.

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