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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019
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'We’re painting a picture of a very specific kind of motorcyclist who love to speed'

Motorcyclists are six times more likely to be killed on the road than any other road user.

Image: Palidachan via Shutterstock

IN A FORTNIGHT, five motorcyclists died on Irish roads across the country.

Between 28 July and 13 August, there were fatal accidents in Mohill, Co LeitrimGlanmire, Co CorkSummerhill in Athlone; and two men died in Limerick on the same day.

This week, another motorcyclist died in a traffic collision in Co Wicklow.

It’s put a spotlight on the number of road deaths that involve motorcyclists, and what’s causing them. Because of the often damp and windy weather conditions, a motorbike isn’t always the best way to travel in Ireland, and because of the fairly scarce number on Irish roads, it often happens that cars aren’t as aware of motorbikes on Irish roads as they should.

The number of road fatalities for this year has increased just slightly compared to this time last year; a recent road safety campaign effort has been launched to raise awareness of the dangers there are for motorcyclists.

So far this year, there has been 15 motorcycle and 1 pillion passenger deaths, which compares to 14 motorcycle and 1 pillion passenger deaths to the same date last year.

A pre-crash report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has revealed that almost a third of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012 had consumed alcohol.

Speed was a contributory factor in 49% of fatal collisions, and 57% of the motorcyclists in fatal collisions who had consumed alcohol crashed on a Sunday.

A new campaign effort by the RSA, launched in August looks to reduce the number of fatalities by focusing on speeding motorcyclists.

According to the RSA, they want motorcyclists to recognise their vulnerability.

That they have a responsibility to themselves and their families to ride safely. That speeding is lethal because if something goes wrong, there is no margin for error and the consequences can be catastrophic.

“We’re painting a picture of a very specific kind of motorcyclist. One who loves to speed, and doesn’t really think the rules apply to him. They have been told a million times to slow down or never ever drink and drive. Told by us, but also told by partners, friends and family. But these men just don’t listen.”

Of the 983 fatal collisions that occurred between 2008 and 2012, 867 collisions were forensically investigated, and 93 of those involved a motorcyclist and claimed the lives of 96 people.

Over 60% of all fatal motorbike collisions involved a second vehicle.

Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, Moyagh Murdock said that there was also a public responsibility to keep motorcyclists safe.

Other road-users also need to be aware of their responsibilities when sharing the roads with motorcyclists, particularly when exiting or entering a side road or turning right.

You can read the RSA report on fatal motorbike collisions here.

Read: Motorcyclist (49) killed in Wicklow traffic collision

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