The real dangers
Damien Ó Tuama in the Irish Times, responds well to their recent variable-quality series on cycling and road deaths:
Policing and road safety efforts must be weighted towards slowing down motorised vehicles. This is particularly pertinent given that an increasing proportion of newly registered cars are sports utility vehicles (SUVs), with greater masses, wider bodies, higher front ends and low “Euro NCAP” safety ratings (used to estimate the severity of injuries caused to pedestrians from front-end impacts). The overarching argument here is that, in law enforcement terms, too little is done to reduce the hazards posed by cars to vulnerable road users, particularly children – this includes addressing dangerous overtaking manoeuvres (passing at a distance of less than 1.5 metres).Is it any wonder that the number of children cycling to primary school has practically fallen off a cliff in most parts of Ireland over the past 20 years – in 1991, more than 22,400 children cycled to primary school; by 2011, it was just over 6,200). Further, while the provision of cycle lanes expanded substantially over the past 20 years (with very mixed quality of designs), the problem of “fly-parking” on cycle tracks is remarkably common. However, in 2014, An Garda Síochána issued just 144 fixed charge notices to drivers for this penalty point offence. This has led to cycling advocates running the #FreeTheCycleLanes Twitter campaign to highlight the hazard.