Cyclists demand action over number of road fatalities

The Government is facing calls to do more to protect cyclists, as the death toll of those killed on bicycles in 2017 has already reached half of last year’s total.

A female cyclist was killed last week when she was struck by a lorry in Dublin.

Her death brings to five the number of cyclists killed so far in 2017. Ten cyclists were killed in 2016.

“These deaths have not been caused by accident; they have been caused by avoidable collisions,” said Colm Ryder, chair of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network.

“Collisions arise because of error, incapacity, or inattention on the part of drivers or cyclists, with inadequate design or maintenance of roads or vehicles as contributory factors. Other factors that contribute are lack of awareness of, and/ or respect for the vulnerability of cyclists, and lack of Garda enforcement in combating dangerous driving such as speeding and dangerous overtaking,” he said.

Mr Ryder said the group is calling “for immediate action to reduce or eliminate the risk of impact of vehicles with cyclists on our roads.”

“We call on the Minister for Transport to invest in decent infrastructure for cycling and to introduce necessary changes in the law such as the proposed Minimum Passing Distance Law as proposed by [Fine Gael] Deputy Ciaran Cannon.

“Less than 2% of transport funding is allocated to cycling. This low figure compares with a UN recommendation to allocate 20% of transport funding to cycling,” Mr Ryder said.

“We call on the Minister for Justice and the Garda to improve and increase enforcement of road traffic laws, especially in relation to markedly improving the safety of cyclists.

“We call on the RSA to increase its efforts to improve road safety and particularly to bring about improvements in the training and education of drivers to be more aware of, and to give proper space and respect to cyclists and pedestrians on our roads.”

Mr Ryder said the group also calls “on all drivers and cyclists to drive with care and attention, to refrain from speeding and using mobile phones and other distractions, to refrain from drinking and driving, to keep their vehicles roadworthy and above all to be aware of, and respect each other on the road”.

Green Party Transport Spokesperson councillor Ciarán Cuffe said tackling cycling deaths “must be placed higher in the Government’s transport priorities.”

“There was a 21% reduction in walking and cycling expenditure in 2016 and there is projected to be an 18% reduction for 2017. These cuts cannot be justified,” he said.

“Instead he [Minister Ross] should allocate 20% of transport funding to walking and cycling measures. Too many cycling projects that would save lives have been stalled due to lack of funding,” he said.

“The Minister for Justice must also ensure that An Garda Síochána take speeding seriously. As the Garda commissioner struggles to justify controversies over penalty notices and the exaggeration of Garda drink driving statistics it is time for action to make our roads safer.

“Minister Fitzgerald must ensure speed limits are adequately enforced, that cycle lanes are kept free of parked cars, and that minimum passing distances between cyclists and other vehicles are enshrined in law,” Mr Cuffe said.


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