Road Safety Authority teams up with professional cyclist Imogen Cotter to encourage drivers to slow down this Easter

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The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are calling on motorists to slow down and keep a safe distance from other road users this Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Together with professional cyclist Imogen Cotter, the RSA and An Garda Síochána, are reminding road users to be aware of cyclists and to share the road safely.

Provisional analysis from the RSA shows that 54 lives have been lost on Irish roads to date this year, 12 more than on this date last year.

The 2023 free speed survey commissioned by the RSA found that 46% of motorists were driving in excess of the speed limit on 50km/h roads.*

RSA research shows that between 2018 and 2022, there were 1,327 cyclists seriously injured on Irish roads. The Cyclist fatalities and serious injuries (rsa.ie) report reveals that over eight in 10 (82%) of cyclists were seriously injured in multiple vehicle collisions, most commonly with a car or light goods vehicle.

The report’s findings include:

  • Almost three in five (58%) cyclists seriously injured were aged 26-55 years.
  • Seriously injured cyclists were most likely to be male (79%).
  • Four in five (80%) cyclists were injured between 8am and 8pm.
  • High proportions of serious injuries occurred Monday-Thursday (62%).
  • Four in five serious injuries occurred on urban roads (81%); over half (53%) occurred in Dublin.
  • Three in ten cyclists (29%) were injured at junctions.

All road users, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, are encouraged to slow down and keep a safe distance from other road users this weekend.

 Jack Chambers, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, said: “The Easter Bank Holiday weekend is a great occasion to take part in activities across the country. As it is a period of increasing traffic on our roads, all road users need to be aware that there will be more vulnerable road users, including the number of cyclists. Professional cyclist Imogen Cotter’s personal experience of being seriously injured while out cycling is a reminder of the impact that irresponsible and dangerous road behaviour can have on people’s lives. Research shows that bank holidays are worse for road traffic collisions, but that we can prevent this if we make responsible choices when using the roads. Motorists should also be aware that Gardaí will be out in force on roads across the country once again this bank holiday weekend. I am calling on drivers in particular to treat cyclists, and all road users, with respect and to share the road safely.” 

Speaking about her involvement with the RSA, Imogen Cotter said:Advocating for cycle safety on our roads is something very close to my heart and I am proud to once again be partnering with the RSA to share important cycle safety messages with all road users. Drivers and other road users need to slow down, be more observant, and be aware of the physical and mental long-lasting impact that road traffic collisions can have on the cyclist and their families. I was hit head-on in a collision two years ago, and the image of the van coming towards me and thinking I was about to die is something that will never leave me. I am grateful I am still here to use my story to spread awareness, but the trajectory of my professional cycling career changed in the moment that the driver decided to drive dangerously to save less than 30 seconds on his journey. My message is for drivers to slow down and realise there is a real person cycling on that road, and they are more vulnerable and oftentimes more afraid than drivers realise. If this campaign can make one person slow down, that will be a step in the right direction to making roads safer for everyone.”

Sam Waide, Chief Executive with the RSA, said: “Everyone using the roads should demonstrate safe road user behaviour and protect vulnerable road users, including cyclists.Excessive speed continues to be a leading contributory factor in fatal collisions in Ireland and internationally. It has been estimated that 10-15% of all collisions and 30% of fatal collisions are the result of speeding or inappropriate speed. We all have a responsibility, whether as drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians to share the road in a safe and responsible manner – not only during the Easter Bank Holiday, but all year round.”

Chief Superintendent Jane Humphries, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau stated: “The events of the last 24 hours once again demonstrate the everyday dangers of using our roads. Too many lives have been lost on Irish roads already this year.  Bank Holidays are a time for family and friends, sadly this will not be the case for the devastated families of young and old who have died on our roads so far in 2024. An Garda Síochána is and will continue to make every effort to reduce the harm that is happening on our roads, but this is a societal issue for every road user, pedestrian, pedal cyclist, driver; we need to work together to share and make our roads a safer place. An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to drivers to never ever drive under the influence of an intoxicant and for every driver to reduce their speed. An Garda Síochána wants no more tragedy on our roads over the Easter Bank Holiday campaign; use our roads safely and get home safe to your family this weekend.”

The RSA will be airing its cycle safety campaign with Imogen Cotter on TV, video on demand and across social media for the month of April. This is the first time this will air on TV, having aired across digital platforms in 2023.

In January 2022, Imogen was hit by an oncoming vehicle that was attempting to overtake another cyclist on the other side of the road. She suffered serious injuries resulting in five surgeries and hundreds of hours of physio. Since the incident, Imogen has documented her road to recovery and has worked with the RSA on a safety campaign reminding motorists to share the roads safely with cyclists.