Operation Bicycle Light is designed to improve safety in rural and urban areas and educate vulnerable road users in the need to be seen in order to be safe on Irish roads. Vulnerable road users include pedal cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.
Inspector Barry Foley of An Garda Síochána Traffic Corps in Mayo Garda Division, supported by road safety officer for Mayo County Council Noel Gibbons, launched Operation Bicycle Light in Swinford. The operation will include checkpoints throughout Mayo with a focus on vulnerable road users. High visibility vests will be given out in an effort to reduce the level of fatal and serious injury traffic accidents.
Vulnerable road users account for 33 per cent or one third of all fatalities annually. There have been a total of 198 deaths on Irish roads this year to date. Pedal cyclists account for seven, pedestrians account for 33, and there were 26 motorcyclists killed. Pedal cyclists and pedestrians account for 20 per cent and although motorcyclists only account for two per cent of road users, they account for almost 14 per cent of all fatalities.
Operation Bicycle Light is primarily focused on ensuring that cyclists have a white light to the front, a red light to the rear, and a red rear reflector during hours of darkness. High visibility vests will be given to cyclists and pedestrians wearing dark clothing. Cyclists must obey the rules of the road and will be encouraged to wear safety helmets. The practice of cycling on footpaths in towns must stop before someone exiting a shop is knocked down and seriously injured. Elderly people are particularly vulnerable in this regard.
All motorists are encouraged to drive with full dipped headlights during daylight hours, especially at this time of year. Research has shown that the use of full dipped headlights reduces the likelihood of a traffic accident by at least 12 per cent. Motorists are encouraged to drive defensively and to keep a look out for vulnerable road users.