The popularity of cycling on our roads has grown evident in recent weeks with some of the busiest roads, particularly around the Westport area, become heavily trafficked by cyclists. While this shows a positive move to greener travel and health benefits, the trend does present new dangers and road safety officer with Mayo County Council, Noel Gibbons, has issued an appeal to all cyclists to be responsible and heed the rules of the road. He also advises they wear high-visibility clothing and “always wear a helmet no matter how short the journey is”.
The road safety officer added that a road safety campaign now in operation highlights that motorists and cyclists are subject to the same road code, meaning that cyclists have to observe the rules and courtesies expected of motorised vehicles on the road and, in turn, they need to be treated with similar respect by motorists, who should give 1.5m room to a cyclist when overtaking.
“Driving can be a stressful and challenging experience and with cyclists in the mix extra tensions often arise. Equally, cyclists are very vulnerable and the road can be a scary place if you don’t have the protective shell of a car body. That is why encouraging mutual respect and appreciation between car and bike users through the ‘size matters’ campaign is so important,” said Mr Gibbons.
“Cyclists are legitimate road users entitled to mix with other traffic, and while an extensive regional cycle network is planned and there has been great progress in developing dedicated cycle facilities, it is not feasible to build an entirely separate cycle network, so the campaign is focusing on two key behaviour messages to encouraging safer motorist and cyclist behaviour.”
Superintendent of Castlebar Willie Keaveney said, “It is great to see more cyclists on the roads as cycling is fun, efficient, good for you, and frees up congested streets. But safety is a concern, so we hope that this campaign helps raise motorist awareness while also reinforcing the importance for cyclists to ensure they are visible to motorists.
“The campaign messages will be promoted across the region for the next four months, including the distribution of a leaflet format of these signs to all ADI driving instructors in the county to build awareness among all learner drivers.
“We look forward to more cyclists using the road network, and we encourage all cyclists to have a safe bike and helmet, gain cycling skills and to plan their cycle routes carefully.”