Road Safety News

DOE runs cyclists’ safety campaign

Thursday 15th May 2014

The DOE has run its first TV campaign focusing on the issue of cyclists’ safety and the responsibility that drivers and cyclists have for each other.

The campaign, “Don’t Forget”, ran on TV from 18 April until mid-May and was supported by outdoor and online activity.

The DOE says that the number of cyclists seriously injured on Northern Ireland’s road almost doubled in the period 2002-2012, while all serious road traffic casualties fell by 50% over the same period.

The DOE points to research which is says shows “a lack of ownership of responsibility from both cyclists and drivers, as they tend to blame each other in mutually difficult situations”. 

With regard to responsibility for pedal cycle casualties, the research shows that cyclists are responsible for just over 40% of casualties, while drivers and other road users are responsible for just under 60%. 

Mark H Durkan, Northern Ireland’s environment minister, said: “This campaign encourages cyclists and drivers to engage with each other emotionally and help them understand each other’s perspective, so that they respect each other’s journey.

“Cyclists have a right to ride on the road, just as motorists have a right to drive.  Drivers must be vigilant of cyclists and respect their right to use the road.  Cyclists need to take sensible precautions like wearing conspicuous clothing and using the road safely.

“As road users, we all make choices and we all have influence.  If we share the road, we have to share the responsibility.”

Superintendent Gerry Murray, Northern Ireland’s head of roads policing, said: “Cyclists should always wear a helmet, reflective or fluorescent clothing, but most importantly, pay constant attention to their surroundings.

“Motorists should be patient, slow down and give cyclists plenty of space while overtaking and, if emerging from a junction, look closely to see all traffic, especially cyclists.”


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Bob, was I at fault? The car driver waited patiently for a gap in traffic as I was approaching in full view. Imagine if you would, a stream of cars passing along a main road into which you were attempting to cross or enter. Would you consider that any one of them was at fault if you suddenly pulled out within 15 feet of one such car (one cars length), and expect that you were not at fault?

If so, then every one of us would need to slow to maybe 10 or 15 miles per hour when approaching any junction where other traffic was in the proximity.

Many accidents are the cause of two drivers' errors compounding together in varying degrees, and it is true that me being where I was inevitably meant a collision was imminent. When one is faced with such circumstances, I can assure you that sounding the horn is not a physically possible reaction. The effect would also not have been heeded, nor been able to be acted upon in time for evasive action to have taken place.

Perhaps we are all at fault for driving at all.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

I think Bob's last posting was referring to an incident experienced by Derek and not Duncan.

However, Derek was not to blame for causing the incident or for having made the primary mistake, but I think all Bob is saying, and possibly Duncan, is that through defensive riding and driving we can avoid other road users' mistakes.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

Duncan you were at fault.... for believing that you and your motorcycle had been seen by the car driver. You should have approached with caution and assumed the worst in that the driver was going to pull out on you.

Many specialist safety officers and people in the know now say we must look after ourselves and ride as if we are invisible. So in a way, you had a degree of fault by not swerving against your background, or slowing, or not sounding your horn or not flashing your lights or not doing hopscotch or skipping or a wheely or....well the list is endless. Just be more careful next time.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

I was involved in a RTA in October 1966 when riding my motorcycle along a well lit road around 11pm and obeying a 30 limit. A car pulled up to the stop line from a junction on the left and waited for traffic to pass. When within fifteen feet of the car, it pulled right across my path. I collided with the side of the car and both machine and I became airborne. In what part of that incident was I blameworthy? Perhaps I was in part to blame for ‘being there’? Are we really to be blamed for being anywhere at any given time? Are we at fault for existing?
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

"It takes two to tangle."

No collision can ever be the fault of just one of the parties involved as both of them have to be in error for a collision to occur. A driver may make a precipitating error, but the cyclist/motorcyclist must also make the completing error that finishes the job. If a cyclist gets hit then they have either put themselves in a position where they can be hit or they have failed to predict an unfolding situation correctly.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (1) | Disagree (19)

As a cyclist, motorcyclist and car driver, I think that when on two wheels one has far more unobstructed vision, and is acutely aware of their proximity to the road surface. And on a bicycle, also aware of traffic from behind by their uninterrupted hearing – no sound deadening glass. A crash helmet and engine noise on a motorcycle negates these audible advantages to a degree, but one is still in a better position to see to the side, and judge ones width and position on the road than when inside a car.

Vulnerability is often foremost in one's mind when lacking the protection of a steel box and being strapped in. There is a problem with rearward vision however. Neither cycles nor motorcycles have the kind of stable mirrors that are afforded to the motorist – which can be a distraction in themselves as we begin to study them for too long and maybe inclined to look from one to another paying less attention to the road ahead.

The video is very good, though I think the traffic in towns would soon see a bit less give and take – sadly.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

I believe that the % stats re the responsibility for casualties is very similar to those where powered twv are involved.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

One of then greatest problems that cyclists have is a lack of visibility to the side and rear.. ie anything behind the ears. (no puns please)

Without rear view mirrors they cannot see what's happening. What's behind them, what's gaining on them or in their blind spot. They need to be more spacially aware of this area as well as whatever is going on in front and observe, just like changes that take place some distance in front. Instead they have their heads down and maybe if lucky focus on a single vehicle. They must learn, just like other twv riders, just how vulnerable they are. If they don't then as I have stated previously they will increase the KSi rate proportionate to their increasing population.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (6) | Disagree (4)