The Mayo Road Safety Working Group is asking everyone to support its new campaign Be Safe Be Seen by wearing bright coloured or hi viz clothing when walking or cycling this winter. More than two thirds of fatal pedestrian collisions happen during the hours of darkness.
Supporting the campaign, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Austin Francis O'Malley, said: “With darker mornings and evenings there is an increased risk to all road users. Every year in Ireland people are being killed or seriously injured simply because they could not be seen by drivers. Wearing a hi viz vest or an armband is a simple way of increasing your visibility.
“I would encourage everyone to wear hi viz clothing when using the roads and lead the way in the Be Safe Be Seen campaign. It is important to keep an armband in the jacket you normally wear out, and not in a drawer at home, so you have access to it, when you find yourself out in the dark.”
Mayo County Council in association with An Gardaí Síochána has teamed up to provide the public with free reflective hi viz vests, to people using the roads in the dark, the vests were provided by the RSA.
The Mayo Road Safety Working Group is also asking drivers to check that both headlights are working and to use dipped headlights during daylight hours. According to research, using dipped headlights or daytime running light (DRL ) has a high potential to increase road safety. It helps road users to detect and recognise vehicles earlier and better. Studies estimate the life-saving potential of DRL to be in the order of three to five per cent of annual road deaths.
“From what we know about daytime road collisions half of them happen because drivers do not see other cars quickly enough. Turning your lights on makes it easier for other road users to see your car too,” said Thelma Birraine, health promotion HSE West.
Mayo County Council’s road safety officer Noel Gibbons added: “Sadly, it is far too evident that many motorists are not checking that both of their vehicle’s headlights are working correctly. Having a headlight out is dangerous in two ways: not only can the driver of the vehicle not see properly in an unlit road with only half the usual light available, but the defective headlight means that other road users will have difficulty spotting the vehicle properly or in some cases mistaking it for a motorbike, a major danger when overtaking.”
The campaign is also targeting pedal cyclists and motorcyclists who are asked to ensure that other road users can see them at all times.