Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are calling on motorists including HGV drivers to keep a safe distance and slow down when overtaking cyclists on both urban and rural roads not only during National Bike Week, but every day of the year.
As part of National Bike Week, which is taking place from May 14th to May 22nd, the RSA and An Garda Síochána are advising drivers on safety issues that are challenges for cyclists and reminding road users to be aware of cyclists and to share the road safely:
- Give cyclists the space to ride safe when overtaking them (at least 1 metre in speed zones up to 50 km/h and at least 1.5 metres in zones over 50km/h). Cyclists can be thrown off course by sudden gusts of wind or when having to avoid uneven road surfaces.
- Check mirrors and blind spots. Remember a cyclist could be in your blind spot so look carefully before you manoeuvre your vehicle. Take extra care at junctions and watch out for cyclists especially when you are making a left turn.
- If you or passengers are getting out of a parked vehicle, make sure you check for passing cyclists before opening the door. Use the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique to open a car door.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton said: “National Bike Week is a great occasion to explore and take part in cycling activities across the country. All road users need to be aware that there will be an increase in the number of cyclists on the road over this period and, indeed, throughout the summer months. I’m calling on drivers to treat cyclists with respect and to share the road safely.”
“The new Government Road Safety Strategy is prioritising active travel and 50 high-impact actions that will make the roads safer and protect vulnerable road users including cyclists. This includes speed reduction measures in urban and rural areas and the provision of more segregated walking and cycling infrastructure. During 2021–2025, 1,000 km of segregated walking and cycling facilities will be constructed to provide safe cycling and walking arrangements for users of all ages.”
Mr Sam Waide, CEO Road Safety Authority said: “It is critical to understand that there is no hierarchy on the roads in terms of safe road use. Everyone using the roads has an equal responsibility to ensure good road user behaviour and to protect vulnerable road users, including cyclists. The RSA would like to remind motorists to look out for cyclists by allowing extra space when overtaking cyclists, by checking their blind spot at junctions, when turning left and changing lanes. It is important to always anticipate a cyclist having to make a sudden move to avoid a pothole or obstruction. We all have a responsibility, whether as motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians to share the road in a safe and responsible manner not only during National Bike Week, but all year round.”
Chief Superintendent Michael Hennebry, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said: “Drivers are being reminded of the need to follow all the rules of the road and have a duty of care to cyclists, especially when overtaking, to give them a safe passing distance of at least 1 metre in speed zones up to 50 km/h and at least 1.5 metres in zones over 50km/h. All cyclists have a responsibility to consider their own safety and the safety of other road users. Both motorists and cyclists need to be aware of their impact on overall road safety. Cycling should be a fun and safe pastime, but cyclists also need to make sure their bikes are roadworthy and in good working order to include brakes, tyres, chain, and have lights and reflectors. An Garda Síochána encourages everyone taking part in National Bike Week to act responsibly on our roads.”
National Bike Week is a celebration and promotion of all that is great about bikes and cycling with bike themed events organised by local authorities, community groups and cycling groups throughout Ireland. For more details on National Bike Week and to find an event near you visit www.bikeweek.ie
Ireland’s fifth government Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by 50% over the next 10 years. This means reducing deaths on Ireland’s roads annually from 144 to 72 or lower and reducing serious injuries from 1,259 to 630 or lower by 2030. Some of the actions contained in the Road Safety Strategy to tackle impaired driving include ‘to legislate for increased sanctions for polydrug and drug and alcohol use while driving’.
The strategy is the first step in achieving the 2020 Programme for Government commitment of bringing Ireland to ‘Vision Zero’. This is to eliminate all road deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by the year 2050.