Cycling road deaths in Ireland more than double in 2014

— First time in five years that the Co Dublin death rate rises above a single death

Fatal road deaths involving users of bicycles have more than doubled in the last 12 months in Ireland. It’s in contrast to 2013 which had the lowest level of ‘pedal cyclist’ deaths in 20 years.

At the time of writing on December 23, 12 people cycling had lost their lives on roads in 2014. That compares with only five deaths the year before. Overall at least 196 people died on Irish roads, according to provisional figures. Pedestrian fatalities are also up from 31 to 42.

Four of the fatal cycling collisions occurred in urban areas, two deaths were on roundabouts between urban and rural areas, and five deaths were in rural settings.

Most collisions happened outside Co Dublin, but 2014 was the first year in five years in which the cycling death rate in Co Dublin rose above a single death. These deaths included a woman who was struck by a bus in Dublin City in November; in July a man died when he was hit on the motorway near Swords in the Fingal County Council area; and a man was in a collision near City West in the South Dublin County Council area in January.

Two people were cycling were killed in collisions with no other road users or vehicles involved — one involving an oil spill on a decent and another involving a bollard.

The dates and details of the fatal collisions involving bicycle users in 2014, includes the following:

  • January 27: A man in his 30s was died after he was in a collision on his bicycle on the Browns Barn Roundabout, City West Road, Saggart, Co Dublin. IrishCycle.com is still seeking further details of this and other collisions.
  • January 29: 31-year-old Siobhán Moriarty Fitzgerald died in hospital on February 2 after a collision with a car in Tralee, Co Kerry. The Irish Examiner reported how the case was unusual heard at district court level. The 48-year-old woman driver Sinead Cotter was convicted of careless driving causing the death of the woman cyclist. It was dark at the time, the street lights were not functioning at the time, and the bicycle had no lights. At the start of December 2014, the judge disqualified Cotter for nine months, but allowed her to drive over Christmas, with the ban only kicking in this month (January 2015).
  • April 23: John White, a 68-year-old Loughrea man who was cycling, died as a result of a hit-and-run collision with the driver of a BMW at around 8.30pm on the Gort Road in Loughrea, Co Galway. The collision occurred at a pedestrian crossing. The 23-year-old driver was later arrested. Local councillor Cllr Michael “Mogie” Maher told the Irish Mirror that he had talk to the victim shortly before the collision. Maher said: “He was just out for a cycle. He got his hips done a few years ago and he was keeping fit.”
  • May 17: 47-year-old Jarlath Kelly, who was cycling on the Ballaghaderreen Road Ballyhaunis in Co Mayo, died in a fatal road traffic collision with the driver of a car. The Mayo News reported that Kelly regularly cycled the road a few times every week and the newspaper said: “The accident occurred close to a bend on the road. It is also understood that there was a car coming towards him and another behind him (which was involved in the collision) at the time of the accident.”
  • June 21: 32-year-old Niall Ó Manacháin was killed while cycling when he was in a collision with a motorist driving a car at Ballyvoile, Stradbally, Co Waterford at around 6.50pm.
  • July 2: 48-year-old Charles O’Sullivan died in hospital after hitting his head off a bollard while he was cycling in Cork at rush hour. The collision happened on Shandon Street at around 5.40pm.
  • July 9Natalia Jimenez Martinez, who was reported to be in her 30s, was killed in a collision with a truck at rush hour in Limerick. The collision was at the junction of Rutland Street, Fr. Matthew Bridge and Charlotte’s Quay at 7.30 am. limerickleader.ie reported that her was a Spanish national who was living in the city. She was cycling to work when the collision occurred.
  • July 27: A 50-year-old man was hit while cycling a bicycle on the M1 motorway. He died in hospital a short later. The collision happened around 5pm in the evening on the motorway near Swords. It is so-far unknown why the man was cycling on the motorway.
  • November 4: Well known racing cyclist Dermot McGrath, who was 75-years-old, died in hospital after sustaining head injuries in a training crash between Newtownmountkennedy and Roundwood. According the the Bray People, he came off his bike because of an oil spill on a decent.
  • November 17: Mary White, a 55-year-old woman, who “struck by a bus” while she was cycling on the Burlington Road in Dublin died two days after the collision.
  • December 19: A 72-year-old man on a bicycle was killed in a collision with a car in Co Tipperary. A 51-year-old driver of the car was only described as “uninjured”. The collision happen on the Borrisokane to Portumna Rd N65, around 3km outside Portumna, at around 9.30am.

The Road Safety Authority released a report on collisions today titled Provisional Review of Road Crashes 2014. It said that “January and July were the most dangerous months for pedal cyclist fatalities”, but these months do not correspond directly to deaths in 2013.

A general note of a higher rate of fatalities among younger people in the overall road traffic deaths is not a part of the story for cycling deaths — all of the people who died while cycling were between 30 and 75.

Only a third of collisions occurred during hours of darkness.

The RSA report added: “A review of situational factors (where available) was also conducted. Two fatalities occurred at a roundabout, one occurred at junction, and one occurred as a car moved out on to the main road; there was one
fatality at a pedestrian crossing and one which resulted from a car taking avoidance action.”

In its conclusion section of cycling deaths, the RSA said: “What this means for the RSA: Cyclist awareness and education campaigns are critical to highlight the importance of: Good observation by motorists and cyclists, in particular at junctions; Vigilance among motorists for cyclists at all times; Public awareness that cyclists are vulnerable and collisions may be more severe; and High visibility clothing remains critical for cyclists, particularly during winter months and during hours of darkness.”

Minister for transport Paschal Donohoe said in a statement today: “I am very concerned that so many lives have been lost on the roads in 2014… while Government and state bodies need to redouble their efforts, each individual needs to make a firmer commitment to practice safer road habits in the New Year. I would like to make a particular appeal and ask drivers to be more careful and mindful of vulnerable road users, in turn I would ask these vulnerable road users to take greater steps to ensure they can be seen when using the road, and appreciate that they too need to follow the rules of the road.”

PLEASE NOTE: While comments are open below, users should note that court cases may yet be due to take place in a large number of the above collisions and because of this we will likely have to delete comments regarding the cause of collisions or which assert blame before courts have done so.

MORE: RSA: Provisional review of Road Crashes 2014 (PDF)

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