New data reveals worrying rise in cyclist injuries

March 4th, 2020

Two in five cyclist injuries are caused by the failure of vehicle drivers to observe their surroundings, new figures released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) reveals.

The latest findings on trends in cyclist injuries on Irish roads, both serious and minor, looked at the leading causes of cyclist injuries over a 12 years period between 2006 and 2018.

The findings show that cycling injuries increased from 211 in 2006 to 1,056 in 2018, although RSA said that the increase is due in part to new electronic reporting from 2014 that allows for greater data collection on collisions.

Nevertheless, the research shows that nine in ten cycling injuries occurred as a result of collisions with vehicles, with the majority of cases involving collision with a car.

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

Failure to observe

The most common driver action prior to a collision with a cyclist is a failure to observe, the RSA found, leading to two in five cyclist injuries with cars. The findings are similar for collisions with goods vehicles. Less than one in five collision cases (19.8 per cent) are linked to a cyclist’s failure to observe.

Over half of cyclist injuries occurred at junctions and nearly a quarter of injuries resulted from collisions at T-junctions. Another contributing factor was vehicles’ maneuvering, with one in five injuries occurring when cars were turning right.

The analysis also shows that cyclist injuries occurred more often during the morning and evening commuting periods, with over 85 per cent of cyclist injuries occurring in these locations.

Following the launch of the report, the RSA is calling for more investment in cycling infrastructure and wider roll out of 30km/h urban speed limits in line with guidance from the European Transport Safety Council.

Liffey Cycle Protest Photo by: Paul Corcoran/ Dublin Cycling Campaign

‘Why information held so long?’

In a statement to The Green News, the cycling advocacy group I Bike Dublin said that there was “growing anger” within the group that the latest data was not released sooner by the RSA.

“If this information was available in recent years, it would have been very difficult for the last government to cut funds for cycling projects in order to top up the Luas Cross City project,” the group added.

The campaign group added that the report findings pokes holes in the RSA’s own public awareness campaign telling cyclists to wear hiviz jackets when the data shows that most injuries occur when there is good visibility.

Pointing to the finding that around 40 per cent of incidents come from drivers failing to pay attention to their surroundings, the group said that our current transport system is “failing pedestrians and cyclists”.

“An Garda Síochána needs to do its part in enforcing the law and the government, the NTA and the councils need to make roads safer and less conducive to speeding,” the group added.

In 2006, the RSA was granted a statutory remit to manage the national data collection of all fatal, serious and minor injury collisions on public roads that were reported to An Garda Síochána.

Since 2014, the RSA has received electronic copies of collision data on a daily basis from An Garda Síochána, although, the RSA says that there is a time lag prior to publication as data undergoes a validation procedure to ensure the quality and accuracy of the final dataset.

About the Author

Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London