Man given 6½-year sentence for causing death of cyclist

A 23-year-old man has been sentenced to six and a half years for dangerous driving causing the death of a 42-year old cyclist near Killarney.

Shane Fitzgerald of Knockeen, Meelin, Newmarket, Co Cork, had denied the charge of dangerous driving causing the death of father-of-four Paudie O’Leary (42) at Scrahan Fada, Gneeveguilla, near Killarney on July 1st, 2012.

Judge Thomas E O’Donnell, handing down sentence said the collision “blew Mr O’Leary off the road,” so much so that his body and his bike were some distance behind a hedge.

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Irish Cycling Show

We were pleased to meet so many cyclists at the Show. We took the opportunity to explain what we are trying to achieve for everyday cyclists among a mass of sports cycling types.

It was good to meet up with Phil Skelton of Stayin Alive at 1.5 who also had a stand at the Show.

It was interesting to note that we brought all the materials for our stand in the Dublin Cycling Campaign’s cargo-bike whereas all the other exhibitors came in trucks, vans and cars!IMG_1406

It was sad to see so few visitors arriving by bike judging from the small numbers of bikes secured to the racks in front of the RDS Main Hall entrance.IMG_1423

Highlighting road safety issues around large trucks

HGV Project Video

Large fleet operator – Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, renowned city centre school – Belvedere College, An Taisce Green-Schools and, the Irish cycling advocacy network, will run a demonstration to highlight dangers of “blind zones” around Heavy Goods Vehicles(HGVs) for students at the Belvedere Sports Grounds on the Navan Road on 16 April 2015 (from 2 – 4pm).

Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, the operator of a fleet of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) delivering to over 222 SuperValu and 465 Centra stores nationwide, together with Green-Schools, and, have organised the demo to raise awareness of an important road safety issue which impacts road users and pedestrians on a daily basis. Belvedere College is currently working on the Travel theme of the Green-Schools programme., which aims to promote sustainable and active modes of transport to school, including cycling

Green-Schools Travel

An Taisce has been working on the national Green-Schools Travel programme, which focuses on promoting sustainable travel on the school run, since September 2008. The Travel theme is funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and supported by the National Transport Authority under Smarter Travel Schools.

To date, over 1500 primary and secondary schools countrywide have taken part or are taking part in the Green-Schools Travel programme, implementing sustainable travel action plans in their schools. Since 2008 970 schools have been awarded the Green Flag for Travel, representing successful completion of the travel theme of the Green-Schools programme.

The ultimate aim of the Green-Schools Travel programme is to encourage students, parents and teachers to walk, cycle, scoot, Park ‘n’ Stride, use public transport or car pool instead of using the private car on the school run.

Jake’s Legacy vigil – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – strongly endorses Roseanne Brennan (Jake’s Legacy campaign) to force road authorities to introduce lower speed limits in residential areas and estates.

We want to see a quantum increase in the use of the bike for commuting to study, work and for utility purposes, recognising that a ‘critical mass’ of cyclists in traffic leads inevitably to safer streets. Safer streets for cyclists are also safer streets for pedestrians.
The urban default speed limit of 50 km/h means that any vehicle going at this speed has far too much kinetic energy so that a pedestrian or cyclist impacted by a car driven at this speed will have only a 50% chance of surviving the collision (see Road Safety Authority chart below). remains far from impressed with the data revealed by the Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) annual free-speed surveys which show typically that some drivers actually exceed the 50 km/h speed limit with fully 9% detected breaking that limit in urban areas in 20111. We are disappointed that no data is available for each of the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.

We campaign for 30 km/h to become the default speed limit on residential and urban streets and in all areas of high pedestrian and cycle use. It is enabled by existing traffic law, so road authorities have no excuse for not implementing the reduction.

We accept that on some streets it may be appropriate to have a higher limit based on the road characteristics – good provision for vulnerable road users and risk assessment by use of road safety audits, etc. Retaining any limit above 30 km/h in residential areas and at the approaches to schools should be a considered and formal decision based on local circumstances.

We believe there is a need for a paradigm shift in how road authorities manage traffic, and plan urban change, so as to enable pedestrians to use our roads and streets safely and to cater for the safety of the 8-80 age cohort while cycling. This is directly in line with the latest Departmental guidelines as outlined in the Design Manual for Urban Roads & Streets (DMURS,2013), and will also encourage an increase in active travel by foot and on bikes. Road traffic planning and provision in recent years has been for the benefit of the private motorist to the detriment of other road users such as public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.

In addition to improving safety, lower speed limits in residential estates would encourage young people to move about independently and would encourage parents to permit their children to do so. This would have consequential benefits for their fitness and general health and would contribute to combating the rising levels of obesity in our society. The improved safety and perception of safety, provided by lower speed limits would transform residential estates into more vibrant living spaces, with consequential benefits for the quality of life of residents and visitors.

We recognise that reduction of the speed limit alone will not be successful in reducing speed and improving safety unless it is accompanied by improved Garda detection and enforcement and appropriate road design. We support the recommendations of DMURS, the official guidance policy for local authorities in relation to street design, that insofar as possible lower speed limits should be accompanied by psychological and physical measures to encourage observance.

Throughout Europe, 30 km/h is fast becoming the default urban speed limit. In some cities, speed limits as low as 10 km/h are in place in ‘home zones’. Even in the United States, where the car is king, 25 mph (40 km/h) limits are common in urban areas and 15 mph (24 km/h) limits are rigorously enforced at schools. In an effort to curb traffic fatalities, New York City lowered its default speed limit to 25 mph (40 km/h) from the 7th November 2014.

In the UK the “20’s Plenty” Campaign has been successful in securing reduced speed limits in many urban locations and has produced a Briefings page  with many documents showing the benefits of 20 mph (30 km/h) limits.

Lower speeds result in less noise and pollution and greater fuel efficiency (high fuel consumption is associated with stop-start traffic, not slow traffic). On residential roads and shopping streets, people simply don’t want to be exposed to the noise, fumes and dangers from higher speed traffic.

The Minister for Transport called on road authorities to review their urban speed limits in a Directive issued on 15 October last

Social vs Individual (Travel) Mode Costs

“Although these costs are easy to overlook, that doesn’t make them any less real,” says George Poulos, a transportation engineer and planner who analyzed the data behind the Cost of Commute Calculator. “Sometimes we pay them upfront, other times indirectly. But, at the end of the day, we still pay them, so we should consider them in our calculus when making big decisions.”

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RSA 20’s Plenty – Presentation

20 is Plenty for Us is a UK based organisation, campaigning for 20mph to be the default speed limit in residential and urban streets.

One of its officers, Rod King, MBE presented at the Road Safety Authority’s conference about children and road safety in Dublin last Thursday 2 April. 20 mph in UK is our equivalent of 30 km/h. Recent presentation

See also the radio interview on the Ray D’Arcy show, 11 minutes in