Safety campaign targets truckers and cyclists

The Road Safety Authority and the gardaí have launched a joint safety operation targeting cyclists and truck drivers. Marking the start of Bike Week, the aim of the campaign is to highlight the existence of ‘blind spots’ around trucks.

“A blind spot is an area around a vehicle not visible to the driver and there are many on a truck which pose added risks for both cyclists and pedestrians,” said Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe at the launch.

“Sadly, this issue has directly led to a number of fatal and serious injury collisions. Ireland has taken progressive steps to improve the indirect vision of a truck driver by requiring the fitment of additional mirrors on the cab since 2010 which has halved the number of deaths linked to the blind spot issue. However, it hasn’t eliminated casualties.”

In Ireland’s urban areas between 2007 and May 2015, 54 vulnerable road users (cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists) were killed in incidents involving trucks.

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said: “If you cannot see the driver, the driver cannot see you. Cyclists need to be aware of the existence of the danger zone on trucks and should never ride along the kerb side of a truck, especially if it’s turning left.

“Truck drivers, too, need to be aware of the fact that the mirrors on their cab will not always give them a total view of any cyclists that may be riding alongside or behind the vehicle.”

Chief Superintendent Mark Curran of the Garda National Traffic Bureau said: “Cycling in particular is a very safe activity, a popular mode of transport, and a great way to keep fit... but we all must realise the dangers that are out there.”

Mayo County Council has taken the lead nationally by placing electronic message signs on roads. Urging that Ireland adopt Dutch driving laws, the council’s road safety officer, Noel Gibbons, said: “Apart from fantastic infrastructure, the Dutch have another, subtler means of ensuring cyclists’ safety — the ‘strict liability’ law, which protects vulnerable road users from those in more powerful vehicles.

“Under the law, liability for crashes or accidents automatically lies with the more powerful road user, unless it can be proven beyond doubt that the vulnerable road user was at fault. As a result, Dutch drivers take greater caution around cyclists and pedestrians, making the roads a much safer place for all. In Ireland, drivers are rarely convicted for accidents involving cyclists.”

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