A total of six cyclists have died to date this year compared to four cyclist deaths up to the same period last year, representing an increase of 50 per cent.
This follows a 50 per cent increase in cyclist fatalities last year (2017 ), and in the light of these stark statistics, drivers are being asked to slow down and keep a safe distance when overtaking cyclists on both urban and rural roads. This call comes following serious concerns over the number of cyclists killed on Irish roads this year.
However, I believe that instead of targeting just driver behaviour and urging motorists to give cyclists extra space, the behaviour of many cyclists also needs to improve.
The large numbers of cyclists dangerously breaking traffic lights, cycling two abreast on minor roads and also those with single and double solid white lines, are making life difficult for drivers and more dangerous for themselves. The solution has to come from good behaviour and respect from both sides.
The response from the RSA appears to only targets drivers. It launched an awareness campaign in early March to educate drivers of the need to leave a safe distance when overtaking cyclists. The RSA recommends drivers allow at least one metre overtaking distance when passing cyclists in speed zones up to 50km/hour and at least 1.5 metres when passing at speeds above 50km/hour.
However, I welcome the balanced statement from assistant commissioner David Sheahan of the Garda national roads policing unit, who is calling on drivers to heed their speed, slow down and keep their eyes on the road.
“It is important to be conscious of cyclists at junctions, particularly when turning left, to check the various driver blind spots, and allow plenty of space when overtaking a cyclist.
“Our message for cyclists is to realise the rules of the road apply to them also. This means not cycling on footpaths, not weaving in and out of traffic, stopping at traffic lights, and signalling your intent when turning left or right.”
As of last week, a total of 55 people have died on the roads to date in 2018. This represents an increase of one death compared to last year.