COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Ahead of Bike Week next week the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are running a “Bike Week Survey” for people to cycle — but the survey is one of a number of recent indications that the quango doesn’t understand cycling safety or the collection of statistics.
Bear with us, this isn’t about any one error in a question, but a few of them. And remember this is a body which can impact on road safety and policy around such issues, so it should have the highest standards for surveys and data collection.
This is the first question, it’s not multiple choice. You can only be one type of ‘cyclist’. Even if they don’t want to make it multiple choice, a more relevant would be “In what way do you mainly cycle?”.
This is another blunder. The questions will result in answers which look useful but are meaningless because they are so generalised. Busy roads in towns and cities can feel unsafe, just as busy roads in rural areas can feel unsafe. Quiter roads in both feel safer. Greenways in rural areas feel safe but so do decent segregated cycle paths.
And yet another blunder — none of these are correct. The law states: “A pedal cyclist shall not drive a pedal cycle on a roadway in such a manner as to result in more than 2 pedal cyclists driving abreast, save when overtaking other pedal cyclists, and then only if to do so will not endanger, inconvenience or obstruct other traffic or pedestrians.” That’s not never, it’s not always, it’s not just on local roads and it’s not time-limited.
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We answered yes to question 7, but then on the follow up question, they seem to be missing an option which many people who cycle in busy urban areas will be mindful of — pedestrians. Yes, we have — like many other people who have cycled in cities — been knocked off our bike by a jaywalking pedestrian. Witnessed by a garda and the perp was given an ASBO. Will there be fines for jaywalkers who endanger others any time soon?
There is a problem here: I answered yes but my collision could be counted as a cycling-motorist collision, with motorists wrongly blamed. This question also does not account for people who have been in more than one collision (it should be multiple choice).
Too much at the RSA is PR-driven. This clearly needs to change.