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Friday 24 March 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Robbie Reynolds Garda John Cahalin pictured simulating the breathalysing of motorcyclist Stephen Murphy prior to the start of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) Annual Academic Road Safety Lecture.
# Road Safety Authority
Alcohol a factor in almost one third of fatal motorcycle crashes
Speed also played a role in half of crashes where someone died.

ALCOHOL WAS A factor in 29% of fatal crashes involving motorcycles between 2008 and 2012.

In a new report, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) notes that almost one third (29%) of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions had consumed alcohol, and almost half of these (45%) were four times or more above the current legal limit.

The presence of alcohol was most prevalent among 25-34-year-olds.

The findings were presented at the RSA annual academic lecture in Dublin today, the first event of Irish Road Safety Week which runs until Sunday, 9 October.

The report also found that:

  • Speed was a contributory factor in 49% of the 93 fatal collisions involving a motorcyclist
  • 54% of the fatal collisions involving a motorcyclist occurred in an 80km/hour speed zone
  • 57% of the motorcyclists in fatal collisions who had consumed alcohol crashed on a Sunday, more motorcyclists with a presence of alcohol were in a fatal collision between 5pm and 6pm on a Sunday than any other time during the week.

Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the RSA, said: “While this report covers a period that saw the greatest reduction in road deaths since we began recording them in 1959, it does highlight worrying behaviour among motorcyclists, particularly where alcohol and speed are concerned.

It’s critical that those who are seasoned bikers, as well as those who are new to this mode of transport, recognise their vulnerability on the roads and take appropriate measures, such as initial and advanced training, to ensure their safety. 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.

Aidan Reid, chief superintendent with An Garda Síochána, said it was “shocking that 28 motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions 2008 and 2012 had consumed alcohol”.

“Motorcyclists are already among the most vulnerable of our road users and the report clearly shows that when alcohol is involved the consequences are fatal. Excessive and inappropriate speed was also a significant contributory factor to motorcycle fatalities in this period. What this tells us is that we need to make better choices when we use the roads, no matter what mode of transport we’re using.”

Six counties 

The report also noted the following:

  • Six counties – Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary – accounted for almost half (47%) of fatal motorcycle collisions
  • 57% of collisions on a Saturday and 58% of collisions on a Sunday occurred between 12pm and 7pm
  • April and July were the most dangerous months for motorcyclists, accounting for 16% and 15% respectively
  • Of the 93 fatal collisions involving a motorcycle, the motorcyclist was deemed culpable in 72 collisions and partially-culpable in eight collisions
  • 98% (78) of the motorcyclists who were deemed culpable for the collision were male
  • 30% of those culpable had no insurance and 15% did not hold a current motorcycle licence at the time of the collision
  • Four of the six pillion passengers killed were being driven by motorcyclists who had consumed alcohol.

Read: Gardaí warn people not to drive while tired after motorist falls asleep at wheel

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