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Call for better cycling infrastructure after research shows 4 in 5 cyclist injuries happen in urban areas

The Road Safety Authority also wants a greater roll-out of 30km/h limits in urban areas.

Cyclists lie down on the steps of Dublin City Council in a protest after Neeraj Jain was killed cycling to work last November.
Cyclists lie down on the steps of Dublin City Council in a protest after Neeraj Jain was killed cycling to work last November.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE VAST MAJORITY of cyclist injuries happen on urban roads, according to research published by the Road Safety Authority today.

The RSA is calling for more investment in cycling infrastructure, a greater roll-out of 30km/h limits in urban areas, and for motorists to reduce their speed in a bid to reduce the number of accidents taking place.

The analysis looked at the leading causes of cyclist injuries from 2006-2018 and the findings included the following:

  • More than eight in 10 cyclist injuries (85.4%) took place on two-way single carriageways and more than eight in 10 (86.7%) were on urban roads
  • Over half of cyclist injuries (51.1%) in 2016 occurred at junctions
  • Almost one in four of all cyclists injured in 2016 (24.7%) were injured in collisions that took place at a T-junction
  • Almost half of cyclists injured (47%) were wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, while just over four in 10 (41%) were not; in just over one in 10 cases (12%) it was not known whether the injured cyclist was wearing a helmet

Other findings include:

  • Just over nine in 10 cyclists (91.3%) were injured in a multi-vehicle collision in which at least one other vehicle was involved
  • Of the cyclists injured in multi-vehicle collisions, over eight in 10 (84%) were injured in a collision with a car
  • Just over seven in 10 cyclists (73.7%) injured in 2016 were male, while almost six in 10 (57.1%) were between the ages of 25-49

The RSA said the most common driver action prior to a collision with a cyclist is ‘failure to observe’, representing approximately two in five cyclist injuries with cars, and similarly for goods vehicles.

The primary periods of the day in which cyclist injuries occurred were during the morning and evening commuting periods (8am-8.59am and 5pm-6.59pm).

Lagging behind 

Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the RSA, said the research “reveals the majority of collisions involved a cyclist and a vehicle, and we know when a cyclist and car collide, the cyclist always comes out worst”.

“We need to remove the potential for conflict by providing more dedicated and better cycling infrastructure. While the announcement of the creation of a cycle lane on the north quays in Dublin city is a welcome development, much more needs to be done.”

On Monday, Dublin City Council approved plans for a trial Liffey Cycle Route along Dublin’s quays.

Murdoch said Ireland is “lagging behind many of our European counterparts in introducing dedicated cycle tracks”.

We need separate infrastructure for vehicles and bicycles that remove danger points from our roads and reduce conflict between road users.

She added that the European Transport Safety Council earlier this month called on EU member states to prioritise the provision of separate cycling infrastructure to protect cyclists and called for the greater roll-out of 30km/h speed limits in towns and cities.

The research also showed that cycling injuries increased from 211 in 2006 to 1,056 in 2018.

However, the RSA said caution is advised on interpreting this increase as this is mainly due to two factors.

“Firstly, the growth in popularity of cycling as a mode of transport. In the 10-year period between 2006-2016, there was a 52% increase in the number of cyclists commuting to work, school or college.

“Secondly, it is due in part to new reporting mechanisms, introduced in 2014, which have enabled the collection of more detailed data on injury collisions,” the RSA said in a statement.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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