Now that Summer is here (hopefully!), the number of cyclists on our roads will increase. In recent years, cycling has become more and more popular for adults and children. However, Cyclists are one of the most vulnerable category of road users. Every year there are many cycling fatalities on Irish roads and countless collisions involving cyclists.
Advice and tips on how to stay safe while cycling on Irish roads
The following advice has been issued by Leitrim County Council:
- Never cycle in the dark without adequate lighting fitted on your bike – white for front, red for rear
- Always wear luminous clothing such as hi-vis vests, fluorscent armbands and reflective belts so
that other road users can see you
- Wear a helmet
- Make sure you keep to the left. Always look behind and give the proper signal before moving
off, changing lanes or making a turn
- Follow the rules of the road, never run traffic lights or weave unpredictably in and out of traffic
- Maintain your bike properly – in particular, your brakes should work properly and your tyres
should be inflated to the right pressure and be in good condition
- Respect other road users – don’t get into shouting matches with motorists; stop at pedestrian
crossings; don’t cycle on the footpath
- Watch your speed, especially when cycling on busy streets and going downhill
- Steer well clear of left-turning trucks: let them turn before you move ahead
Do’s and don’ts of safe cycling for children
With more children venturing out on our roads it is important to ensure they have the right safety equipment and are aware of the rules of the road. If your child is cycling do ensure they:
- Cycle a bike matched to their height and experience
- Wear a safety helmet
- Use lights in dark or dusky conditions
Don’t allow them to:
- Cycle on public roads unsupervised (if under 12)
- Wear loosely-worn scarves or other clothing that could get caught in the wheels or chain-set
- Take unnecessary risks
Sharing the Road Safely with Cyclists
Cyclists are entitled to road space as much as cars, vans, goods vehicles or any other vehicle on the road. However cyclists are a vulnerable category of road user. Motorists must keep a safe distance when over taking cyclists.
Motorists should give a 1 metre clearance when over taking a cyclist in Speed Limit areas of up to 50km/h and
a 1.5 metre clearance in Speed Limit areas over 50km/h
Give the space to ride safe
The general message is the need for drivers to properly observe the road at all times for the presence of cyclists, be they commuters, shoppers, family or racing groups. In particular, be mindful of the
- Anticipating cyclists at junctions and checking the various driver blind spots.
- Checking mirrors and blind spots when getting out of a parked vehicle to avoid the risk of
‘dooring’ a cyclist that might be passing by.
- Allowing plenty of space when over-taking a cyclist, particularly when they are cycling in groups
or two abreast.
Ultimately, motorists are asked to be respectful of cyclists and mindful of how they use the road. We all share the road, and if we’re considerate of each other, we’ll see fewer needless collisions and deaths.