Design of traffic islands may be changed after fatal crashes, inquest told

The design of traffic islands on roads in Co Kerry may be changed to become more user-friendly, following the deaths of a motorist and a motorcyclist in separate accidents at such islands.

The National Roads Authority yesterday confirmed discussions are under way with Kerry County Council over to changes in islands outside speed limit zones.

“There may be changes within the standards required, but there are no changes yet,’’ a spokesman said.

The issue was raised by south Kerry coroner Terence Casey at an inquest into the death of a woman after her Harley Davidson motorcycle collided with a traffic island at Lissivigeen, Killarney, on June 1 last.

The late Rosemary Livesley, aged 55, of Kilronan West, Dunmanway, Co Cork, suffered extensive injuries in the crash.

Ms Livesley was travelling in a line of traffic at about 5pm, on a Saturday afternoon, when the right foot pedal of her motorbike collided with a low concrete section of a traffic island causing the motorbike to go out of control, the inquest heard.

Her partner, Duncan Hopkinson, was travelling behind on his motorbike and saw her hitting the object. She was thrown up in the air with the bike which somersaulted a number of times before landing on the ground, he said.

Another witness saw Ms Livesley being thrown about 20ft into the air.

She died from severe head injuries, brain swelling, contusion and haemorrhage due to a road accident, according to medical evidence.

Garda PSV inspector James O’Brien found the motorbike to be in good condition. The crash had not been caused by mechanical defects, he said.

Mr Casey, extending sympathy to the next-of-kin, asked if traffic islands were too high on the road.

Garda O’Brien replied the issue had been addressed in discussions involving gardaí, the council and the NRA and the design may be changed from a vertical to a more sloping format.

“The idea is to design these islands in a more user-friendly way,’’ he stated.

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