At a recent meeting of Mayo County Council’s Roads and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee, the committee noted the significant number of pedestrian fatalities on Irish roads, currently standing at 26 so far this year. Last year 35 pedestrians were killed on Irish roads: 23 of which fatalities occurred in rural areas.
Cllr Brendan Mulroy, newly appointed chair of the SPC said: “That is why I believe the compulsory use of high-visibility clothing can make a significant contribution to enhance road safety in the future, for both pedestrians and motorists alike. The use of high-visibility clothing is a simple, affordable and effective option, as a high-visibility jacket can be seen at a distance of 500m by an oncoming vehicle. That’s almost the length of four football pitches and gives the driver plenty of time to react to road users. In contrast, if a high-visibility jacket is not worn, an oncoming driver will not see the person until 50m away, which is too late to react.”
Cllr Mulroy is calling on the Government to introduce a statutory obligation involving the wearing of reflective clothing by all pedestrians and cyclists, making it a criminal offence under road traffic legislation for any person not wearing high visibility clothing using public roads in the hours of darkness on unlit roads. Any person in breach of such provision would become liable to be issued with a fixed charge notice or summonsed to court, depending on whatever procedure would be put in place for the processing of such offences. Over the past four years almost four million high visibility vests, armbands, rucksack covers, and other such luminous items have been distributed by the RSA, An Garda Síochana, road safety officers, Age Action, and the Vintners Federation.
A number of measures are included in the Road Safety Authority's Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020, aimed at increasing the wearing of high visibility clothing among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. “It’s common sense but some people don’t want always practice common sense," Cllr Mulroy added. "As a consequence of that I want to make it a legal requirement for people to wear a hi-vis jacket. It’s in the interest of public safety. The Rules of the Road also include a strong recommendation supporting the wearing of light, and preferably high-visibility, clothing but pedestrians are still not wearing this clothing, putting themselves and other road users in danger."