Dublin Bus driver guilty of careless driving after cutting corner

IMAGE: The design of the junction at the time of the collision (image from Google Maps).

A wide side-road which a bus driver cut the corner on and caused the death of a 55-year-old woman in 2014 remains as wide as four double-decker buses even after it was narrowed significantly within the last year.

RTE reported today that a jury has found the Dublin Bus driver guilty of careless driving causing the death 55-year-old Mary White, who was cycling her bicycle at the time of the collision. 58-year-old Osborn Irabor of French Park, Tyrrelstown, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to careless driving causing death.

When entering the T-junction and making a right hand turn, the driver cut the corner, did not yield as he was supposed to, and then he hit Ms White head-on at a 30 to 40% angle of impact according to RTE, which has a full court report from the case today.

As we reported shortly after the collision, Ms White died in hospital on November 19, 2014, two days after the collision on the Burlington Road in Dublin.

The T-junction in question — all parts of which are confusingly named on maps as the Burlington Road — is shown as extremely wide at the time of the fatal collision in 2014.

According to the imagery on Google Street View, the road was narrowed sometime between July 2017 and the July 2018. However, the side road element of the junction remains around the width of four buses.

Google Maps imagery: 

Street View in August 2014:

Street View in July 2017:

Street View in July 2018:

A bird’s eye view of the junction from two different angles as the junction was designed in 2014:

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

4 Comments

  1. That is an absolutely ridiculous junction layout to have in the middle of a city. Does anyone know when this was actually constructed in this form?

  2. The layout is a prime example of Dublin’s bad road design.
    The defence lawyer, Garnet Orange, claimed that the cyclist’s helmet was not fastened and was “only resting on her head” – where does he get that from?
    “At least three” other buses were observed cutting the corner, the trial was told. Why does Transport for Ireland redesign the junction so this is not possible?
    All the evidence in this trial is a vivid demonstration of why the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network needs to be built immediately, and in a form that will keep cyclists separate from drivers in the city centre.

  3. The defence seemed very peeved that the cyclist was wearing a helmet at all. I get the impression that if they hadn’t been then the fact the bus was on the wrong side of the road wouldn’t have mattered. I also read the ‘momentary lapse of concentration’ concept being tried out. I’m not sure when this moment was supposed to be, when the driver cut the corner on to the wrong side of the road or when he failed to notice the cyclist he was about to run down. We are, of course, supposed to assume that he didn’t habitually cut that corner like this and what really happened wasn’t a ‘momentary lapse’ but the inevitable concequence of frequent risk taking.

    The ‘momentary lapse of concentration’ things really annoys me. It seems that you can drive as dangerously as you like on the assumption that you’ll swerve or otherwise correct at the last second and if you fail to do that it’s just a ‘momentary lapse of concentration’ which ‘could happen to anyone’ since after all ‘we are not robots’.

    So if you try to skim past a cyclsts with a few centimeters of clearance at 100kph that’s no problem. The cyclist is wasting their time complaining because nothing happened. If the motorist hits the cyclist while doing this it’s just a ‘momentary lapse’.

  4. At least in this case the Garda and DPP went ahead with a prosecution of the driver. That’s to be warmly welcomed. Otherwise it’s a rare event when a cyclist is involved in a RTC. Most of these RTC cases get axed by the Superintended I/C of the relevant garda station and so don’t reach the DPP.
    In answer to Shane, that leafy D4 wide road was laid out when period houses were built there, possibly late-Georgian/early-Victorian times.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: