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UN Global Road Safety Week

Dublin, 8 May 2017

Today marks the start of the UN’s Global Road Safety Week. All around the world, communities are coming together to organise events focused around the theme ‘Save Lives #SlowDown.’ “Speed is at the core of the global road traffic injury problem,” notes WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “If countries were to address just this key risk, they would soon reap the rewards of safer roads, both in terms of lives saved and increases in walking and cycling, with profound and lasting effects on health.” 54 people have been killed on Irish roads in 2017 already, of whom 21 were vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists and pillion passengers). Approximately one third of all these accident fatalities are speed related. Drivers need to make the pledge and act to Save Lives

#SlowDown.

This week will see the Garda Traffic Corps out in force, carrying out extra speed checks around Dublin. Love 30 will be holding a series of events on the 9 th of May, asking drivers to make the pledge to ‘Save Lives #SlowDown.’ At 8.15am schoolchildren from Scoil Chaitríona on Mobhi Road will be out giving drivers their views on why they should slow down. At 11 am on Tuesday 9 th May, Love 30 and the Garda Traffic Corps will be Monck Place, a known ‘rat run’ in Phibsboro, asking drivers to make the pledge to ‘Save Lives #SlowDown’. At 1pm on Tuesday 9 th May, a cross-party Oireachtas group of cycling TDs and Senators will be showing their support for this campaign at the Leinster House gates on Kildare Street.

Welcoming the initiative, Inspector Ronan Barry of the Garda Traffic Corps called on everyone to take part this week. “Slowing down isn’t just for UN Global Road Safety Week,” he said. “We all need to take responsibility for saving lives on our roads.” Love 30 is a coalition of cycling and community groups who campaign for lower speed limits to make our towns and cities safer and more pleasant places to live, work and play. “We are one group out of thousands of groups, all around the world, calling on drivers to slow down,” says Love 30’s Mairéad Forsythe. “We must accept that speed is a critical factor leading to deaths on our roads and change our behaviour accordingly.” Dublin Cycling Campaign are also supporting this intiative. “In Dublin alone 3 cyclists have been killed off their bikes this year already,” said Colm Ryder of the Dublin Cycling Campaign. “It is a frightening situation that cannot continue. We are delighted that An Garda Síochána are carrying out these urban speed checks.”

Contact: Love 30, Mairéad Forsythe, 086-8337577

UN Global Road Safety Week: 8 – 14 May 2017: The #SlowDown campaign operates on the principles of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. On 11 May 2011, dozens of countries around the world kicked off the first global Decade of Action. From New Zealand to Mexico and the Russian Federation to South Africa, governments committed to taking new steps to save lives on their roads. The Decade of Action seeks to prevent road traffic deaths and injuries which experts project will take the lives of 1.9 million people annually by 2020. The Global Plan for the Decade of Action outlines steps towards improving the safety of roads and vehicles; enhancing emergency services; and building up road safety management generally.

It also calls for increased legislation and enforcement on speeding. More information

Love 30: Ireland has already seen 6 cyclists die on our roads this year, 3 of them in Dublin. Approximately one third of all accident fatalities are speed related. Drivers need to be cognizant of their speed levels and potential to kill or maim vulnerable road users (VRUs), particularly in urban areas. The Love 30 Campaign strongly supports the introduction of a 30 km/h speed limit on many roads in Irish towns and cities and, together with the Garda Traffic Corps, is supporting the UN’s Global Road Safety week with daily speed checks throughout the week across Dublin. More information

Open Letter to Minister Shane Ross

Eight Cyclist Fatalities in 2017, to mid-May

Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, of which Dublin Cycling Campaign is a lead member, wrote to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross T.D. today seeking a meeting. The letter responds to the death of eight people riding their bikes on Irish public roads thus far in 2017. The text of the letter is below (and PDF below bottom).


Monday 22 May 2017

Dear Minister Ross,

I refer to my previous letter of 16 June 2016 and to my Cyclist.ie colleague Dr. Mike McKillen’s letter of 03 October 2016.

I am writing to you again on the matter of cyclist safety but, this time, after eight of my fellow cyclist citizens have been mowed down and killed by motor vehicles in 2017 – and it is only mid-May. In 2016 a total of 10 people riding their bikes lost their lives. The carnage can and must be halted!

There is something fundamentally wrong with our system and culture when the lives of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters are extinguished – at a rate of more than one per month – while they are engaging in a healthy activity that is promoted as government policy.

On behalf of those who use bicycles, both for everyday transportation/utility trips, and for recreational/tourism use, I am calling on you as the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to make – as a matter of urgency – a serious intervention before any other person on a bike loses their lives. We need leadership at this point to bring a halt to the death and misery inflicted by the utter dominance of motor vehicles on Irish roads.

As pointed out in our previous letters, your Department’s National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) of 2009 has all but been set-aside. All we hear about (for the last 2 to 3 years) is “an upcoming review” of same – with nothing forthcoming. Your department still has no National Cycling Coordinator in post, a basic pre-requisite for advancing a multi-faceted policy framework and a specific action of the NCPF (Objective #17.1). The promised National Advisory Forum has still not been established (Policy #17.2).

Furthermore, and to exacerbate these shortcomings, active travel is downgraded in the National ‘Building on Recovery’ Plan to a mere 1% of the proposed transport expenditure, despite the NCPF commitment of ‘adequate and timely funding’ (Chapter 4). This 1% figure compares very poorly to our European neighbours and to the UN recommended level of 20% of transport funding to go on non-motorised / active travel modes [1].

I am pleading with you to show real leadership in procuring a paradigm shift in how those who use active and healthy travel modes are treated on Irish public roads and, consequently, in how transport funds are spent. We strongly commend your support for lower vehicle speeds and for lower alcohol limits for drivers, but the parallel issue here – and the giant elephant in the room – is the need for transport to decarbonise and hence for capital expenditure on transport to switch away from endless demand-inducing road building and, instead, shift to investment in public transport, walking and cycling.

We would like to meet with you at the earliest possible date to discuss our concerns over the present level of cycling deaths, the need for adequate funding and resources, and the very real and relatively quick benefits to be gained from increased investment in cycling, as outlined in the NCPF.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama
National Cycling Coordinator, Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network
Vice-President, European Cyclists’ Federation

First UCC Campus Cycle Week in cooperation with Cork Cycling Campaign

University College Cork, the world’s first Green Campus, and Cork Cycling Campaign organised the first UCC Campus Cycle Week (6th-10th March) this spring, to start off the cycling season. Cork Cycling Campaign held an informal “Meet the Campaign” meeting for everybody interested, Miro and Darren offered a cycle safety course, and Victoria Cross Cycles offered their free BikeDoctor service. The main event was a roundtable discussion around cycling to UCC which ca. 20 staff and students attended over lunchtime, together with Cork City Council’s Cycling Officer, Anita Lenihan, and members of the Campaign and Stephan Koch in his function of UCC’s Commuter Plan Manager.

This setting was also used to officially launch the Cork Cycling Skills leaflet that Cork Cycling Campaign and the Transport and Mobility Forum got printed in large numbers with the support of Cork City Council. The flyer aims at giving cyclists advice how to safely navigate through road traffic and build up confidence to also tackle challenging situations on the roads. It is a reprint of the successful leaflet that Galway Cycling Campaign produced some years ago. Thanks to the colleagues in Galway for their kind permission. The launch got quite a bit of media attention (Irish Examiner, Cork’s 96fm).

We succeeded in making Cork Cycling Campaign more visible in town and in UCC, and a special thank you to our Vice-Chair Dean Venables who was the driving force behind this (also as a UCC staff member), as well as to Sarah Thelen for her support. We plan to have the next Campus Cycle Week next year.