Cyclists in Tipperary should be afforded the same protection as those in other counties, with a system of signs warning motorists that 1.5m is the minimum passing distance on the roads, heard this month’s meeting.
Cashel Cllr Tom Wood requested that “in line with an increasing number of Councils, (that this authority) take measures to highlight the 1.5 metre recommended minimum safe passing space between motorists and cyclists as an important safety measure.”
Cllr Wood said cycling was an increasingly popular pastime and there are more cyclists sharing the road with motorists than ever before. But there has to be a change in attitudes: “in the last 6 months we’ve had 11 cyclists killed on national roads, and some of those were experienced cyclists. The bottom line is we need to prevent death and injury.”
The 1.5m passing distance is the law in much of Europe and the United States. County Wexford already has a campaign, and signs in place. Even if such a scheme were introduced in Tipp “on a small scale”, especially at weekends, it could help save lives, added Cllr Wood.
Cllr Seamus Hanafin said there were more cyclists killed on our roads this year, than for the same period last year. “It just requires awareness from motorists.”
Cllr Martin Browne said he supported the idea, but “a lot of cyclists” also want to “take over the road.” There needs to be a “change of attitude from both sides, so we can both live together on the roads.”
Cllr David Dunne said he had seen cyclists riding “three or four abreast”. Motorists have to be cautious, “but there are bad cyclists out there” too.
Cllr Wood received a response from management: “The Road Safety Authority (RSA) which is funded by the Dept. of Transport is the National Statutory Body with responsibility for road safety including the implementation of the National Road Safety Strategy in co-operation with the above Department.
“A central element to the RSA’s work is road safety promotion through the many advertising campaigns on Television, in newsprint, and all forms of digital media. Included in this are Road Safety Campaigns on the dangers of drink driving, speeding, and encouraging the use of safety belts etc.
“The RSA are currently running a ‘we share the road’ campaign on a national basis and in our view this is more likely to be effective than a local campaign with a small budget. The Council can of course place messages on its website and on social media promoting this campaign.”