Safety report recommends compulsory hi-vis jackets

A new road safety report will recommend it be made compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets and high visibility jackets at all times, and that pedestrians wear the jackets after dark.

The recommendations are contained in a draft Cork Road Safety Plan report (2016-2020), which is a collaboration between the two local authorities in the region, the gardaí, the HSE, RSA, and fire service.

Details of the report were debated at a meeting of Cork County Council’s Transport Special Purposes Committee, which heard there was a high number of deaths among cyclists and pedestrians in the city and county.

Figures for fatal accidents in 2014 show more than a third of the victims were cyclists and pedestrians.

Cllr Ger Keohane (Ind) said this was an extremely high percentage, and said the road safety plan should include making it compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets and hi-vis jackets at all times.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) agreed with him, and also asked for the document to include that it be compulsory for all pedestrians to wear the jackets at night.

Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said more should be done to separate cyclists from vehicles. He said greenway cycle routes in West Cork should be looked at to see if off-road sections could be built in accident blackspot areas.

At a minimum, signs warning ‘cyclists ahead’ should be put up in such areas, Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said. He said he wouldn’t be inclined to cycle on some roads in West Cork because it was simply too dangerous.

He also said that the local authority should liaise more with the gardaí to ensure speed checks were carried out regularly in areas where speeding was a problem.

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said local authorities needed to ensure road surfaces were safe as well.

He said he knew of a recent accident where a serious collision occurred between two vehicles because one driver swerved to avoid a pothole.

Mr Murphy said he also wanted a provision inserted into planning permissions to ensure that landowners couldn’t drain water from their land onto public roads.

He said several accidents had been caused by flooded roads in the county, and there was actually an obligation for landowners to allow the council to drain water off the roads and into their land.

Council officials said they were planning on providing more education to road users as part of the five-year plan.

Officials said they were already conducting safe cycling and rules of the road programmes for around 1,000 school pupils every year, and “hoped this will pay off”.

Meanwhile, Cork County Council is writing to the Government seeking to have 30km/h speed limits introduced outside all schools.

The decision to seek permission for the move came after Cllr Danielle Twomey (SF) won unanimous support from colleagues for her motion.


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