With the clocks gone back last weekend, bringing darker days, road-users are being urged to ensure they can be clearly seen when out on the roads. The most effective way to do this is to wear high visibility clothing such as a high-viz vest or a Sam Browne belt when walking, cycling or motorcycling and by ensuring you have working lights on your bicycle, motorcycle and car.
There is no room for any complacency with regard to road safety. Up to the start of the last (bank holiday ) weekend, this year 159 people have been killed on Irish roads, an increase of 32 when compared to the same period last year. Indeed, over the past five years, six people have been killed and 33 people have been seriously injured during the October Bank Holiday Weekend.
The RSA and the Gardai are reminding road-users to ‘be safe and be seen’, particularly on poorly-lit rural roads. A study conducted by the RSA in November 2015 monitored the high visibility wearing rates of 3,990 motorcyclists and 17,637 pedal cyclists.
The study found that:
• 58% of motorcyclists were observed wearing high visibility clothing, an increase of 21% when compared to 2014
• 50% of pedal cyclists were observed wearing high visibility clothing, an increase of 20% on 2014 wearing rates
• Wearing rates were more prevalent among private cyclists (54% ) than cyclists using public bike schemes (33% )
• 80% of all pedal cyclists had some reflective material on them.
The RSA also conducted a survey of the attitudes and behaviours of over 1,000 road-users towards wearing high visibility clothing. Over one third (41% ) of pedestrians said they always or often wear reflective gear such as a high visibility jacket, vest or belt when out walking. This was a decrease of 8% when compared to 2014. The survey also found that those living in rural areas were more likely to wear high visibility gear than those in urban areas (43% v 16% ).
It’s important that motorists ensure their lights are in working order. An observational study conducted by the RSA in November 2015 found that 1 in 10 (8% ) vehicles surveyed had at least one defective light. This was more prevalent on rural roads than urban roads, and vehicles were more likely to have defective front lights (5% ) than rear lights (3% ).