Gardaí in Kerry have appealed to cycle clubs to “lead by example” and use cycle lanes, amid growing concerns about the number of fatal incidents involving cyclists, pedestrians, and other road-users.
Patterns over a five-year period between 2013 and 2017, which were unveiled yesterday at the county’s quarterly policing meeting in Tralee, detailed how, last year, cyclists equalled the number of motorists and car passengers killed on the roads in Co Kerry.
Three cyclists lost their lives in road accidents in 2017, as did one pedestrian and one motorcyclist, as well as two drivers and one passenger.
The recent tragedy in the Gap of Dunloe, where two tourists from Arizona lost their lives in a horse and trap accident on April 9 on the public road, highlights the variety of road risks, the meeting was told.
Condolences were extended to the family of the deceased, and the accident is still being investigated.
The three cyclist deaths in 2017 on Kerry roads compared with one each year in 2013 and 2014, statistics showed.
Inspector Tony Sugrue, head of traffic in the Kerry Division, stressed that there is an onus on all road-users to be vigilant, as the road is for the use of everyone, not just for vehicles or drivers of cars.
There are more cars on the roads now, and this is due to greater car ownership as well as more tourists, Insp Sugrue noted.
The overall accident trend was rising, he said.
There were 39 non-serious injuries in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 26 in the same period in 2017.
There were also 288 vehicles damaged, compared to 269 in the same period the previous year.
Insp Sugrue said he is a keen cyclist himself, but he feels obliged to appeal directly and publicly to cycle clubs.
“The cycle clubs are not using the cycle lanes and the cycle lanes are put in for their safety and they should lead by example,” said the inspector.
The meeting was also told of dismay among gardaí at the rising numbers of drivers under the age of 40 who are being detected for drink-driving.
The figures were constantly increasing, said Chief Superintendent Tom Myres.
Some 77 people were found driving while intoxicated in the first quarter of the year, as against 71 in the same period last year.
Some of the people who were detected were “significantly” over the legal limit and were not just intoxicated but were drunk, the chief superintendent said.
Meanwhile, Insp Sugrue said the message is simply not getting through about drink-driving.
However, members of the public are putting in complaints to gardaí, who are making detections as a result, and Insp Sugrue said he would urge the public to continue to report drunk- drivers.
“We will detect them,” the garda said.