Donegal County Council and the Donegal Road Safety Working Group cycling safety campaign aims to:
- To display the safe overtaking of cyclists “Staying Alive 1.5” logo on Donegal County Council vehicles with the central message of allowing 1.5 meters between overtaking vehicles and cyclists.
- To educate all road users in the safety aspects of overtaking cyclists. It is hoped that this signage will go some way to illustrating key considerations when encountering cyclists on our roads.
- To encourage a mutual understanding and respect when sharing the road.
The number of lives lost on Irish roads in 2013 was 190 compared to 162 in 2012. In 2014, the number of deaths increased to 197, an increase of 35 in 2 years. The number of cyclists killed on our roads in 2013 was 5 and in 2014 the number killed increased considerably to 13.
Research has shown that cyclist injuries peak from May to September and evening and morning rush hour are the times when cyclists are most likely injured. A cyclist injury report in 2012 found that 630 cyclists were injured on our roads, a ten year high. There was also a 200% increase in spinal trauma from cycling injuries in the National Spinal Centre.
Collisions often happen when a driver overtakes a cyclist, when there really is not sufficient space to do so, only to find another vehicle coming from the opposite direction at the point of overtake. All road users should expect the unexpected when overtaking.
It is important that we recognise people who cycle as real people. As a cyclist, and vulnerable road user the need for self preservation makes you ride defensively, taking every possible danger in to account. The only danger that you can’t see is the one that is coming from behind.
It is also important to stress that cyclists have an equal responsibility and role to play in road safety. Cyclists should also consider other road users, when using roads that have a “suitable” hard shoulder. Respect the road, it belongs to us all.
Thanks to all staff in Donegal County Council who assisted, particularly the staff in Donegal County Council’s Machinery Yard and Lifford Srabane Cycling Club. Thanks also to Frank Burke, Cycling Officer with the Wexford County Council “Staying Alive 1.5” campaign.
Brian O’Donnell, Road Safety Officer said “If a collision on the road involves a motorist and a cyclist, it will result in very serious injury or death. If the signage on Donegal County Council’s fleet goes some way to heightening awareness among all road users and just one life is saved, it will be worth it. One death on our roads is one too many, one injury on our roads is one too many. This is the important message that the “Staying Alive at 1.5” campaign hopes to deliver and the objective is to get this message to as many people as possible. Respect on the roads between motorists and cyclists will make the roads a safer place for everyone.”
If you would like to help, share the link on Donegal County Council’s facebook and twitter page with other road users and together hopefully we can develop and encourage a mutual understanding and respect between all of us on the roads of Donegal.