Almost half of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities occur during the hours of darkness

19 December 2014


The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Electric Ireland today launched their annual ‘National Be Safe Be Seen Day’ which will take place on Sunday 21 December, the shortest and darkest day of the year. With fewer hours of daylight during the winter months,  ‘National Be Safe, Be Seen Day’ aims to remind all road-users how important it is to be seen by wearing high visibility material when out walking, cycling or motorcycling, and to use dipped headlights when driving, to stay safe on the road.

To date this year (Friday 19 December), 189 people have died on Irish roads, 8 more than this time last year. Vulnerable road users (cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians) accounted for more than one third of these deaths. Among the fatalities were 40 pedestrians, compared with 29 pedestrians at this time last year, and representing almost 1 in 5 of all fatalities to date this year. 22 motorcyclists and 11 cyclists have also been killed on the roads so far this year.

Children have been most vulnerable this year, with 15 children under the age of 15 having died so far this year on Irish roads. In 2013, seven children lost their lives, meaning the number of child casualties so far this year has more than doubled since 2013. Eight of the children who died on our roads this year were pedestrians and seven were car passengers.

Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people walking, cycling and motorcycling, and it is encouraging to see so many of these road-users wearing high visibility material when out on the roads. However, to date this year, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists have accounted for 1 in 3 road fatalities, which highlights just how vulnerable these road-users are. In particular this year we have seen an increase in cyclist deaths, which have almost doubled since 2013,”

 “The increase in child casualties on our roads this year is incredibly worrying, after many years of seeing year-on-year decreases. As parents and educators, we have a responsibility to teach our children how to be safe when walking, cycling, getting the bus or being driven to school.  We would urge parents and guardians to ensure their children are equipped with bicycle helmets, bike lights and hi-vis vests or jackets when travelling to and from school or out playing,”

“With fewer hours of daylight, it is even more important for people to be visible when out on the roads. Wearing high visibility material such as a vest, jacket or Sam Browne belt, is the simplest way to make sure you can be seen by other road-users when you are out walking, cycling or motorcycling. So we would encourage everyone to get their viz on to show their support for ‘National Be Safe Be Seen Day’. It could help to save a life.”

Mr Paul Stapleton, General Manager, Electric Ireland said: “Over the past 5 years, Electric Ireland has proudly partnered with the Road Safety Authority to promote the message of high visibility on the roads. To support that message, we have distributed over 400,000 hi vis vests to children starting school, helping to ensure that our youngest and most vulnerable road-users are kept safe when walking or cycling to school. This is even more important as the evenings get darker, so we’re delighted to support National ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ Day and any campaign that promotes safety on our roads.”

The RSA and Electric Ireland are asking people around the country to support 'National Be Safe, Be Seen Day' by tweeting photos of themselves wearing their high visibility vest or jacket on their way to work, college or school to encourage others to follow their example. Photos should be tweeted to the RSA - @RSAIreland - or to Electric Ireland - @ElectricIreland.

 The Road Safety Authority is also reminding drivers to use their Daytime Running Lights and drive with their dipped headlights, no matter what time of day it is. Using dipped headlights during the day makes it easier to see oncoming vehicles in the distance and can help to prevent daytime head-on and front-corner collisions.

For information on the correct way to use lights, the RSA has a handy leaflet on their website: http://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Road Safety/Leaflets/Leaf_booklets/Lights DL 2012 v3.pdf

Further information on high visibility, pedestrian and cyclist safety, and Daytime Running Lights, please visit www.rsa.ie





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