RSA understands cycling poorly, data collection even worse

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.

RSA1

Hello... sorry to interrupt you: IrishCycle.com is reader-funded journalism supported by just over 250 readers like you -- they have subscribed for €5 per month or more. If you can, please join them and subscribe today. If you have already subscribed -- thank you! Now, back to the article...

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?”.

RSA2

 

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.

RSA3

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.

Is this also another example of the RSA not referring to its own the Rules of the Road?

RSA4

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.

Hello Reader... IrishCycle.com is a reader-funded journalism publication. Effectively it's an online newspaper covering news and analyses of cycling and related issues, including cycle route designs, legal changes, and pollical and cultural issues.

There are examples, big and small, which show that the reader-funded or listener-funding model can work to support journalism -- from the Dublin Inquirer and The Guardian to many podcasts. To make it work for IrishCycle.com, it just needs enough people like you to believe!

Monthly subscriptions will give IrishCycle.com's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year IrishCycle.com had an average of 15,800 readers per month and we know our readers include people who cycle and those who don't, politicians, officials and campaigners.

I know only a small percentage of readers will see the value of keeping this open enough to subscribe, that's the reality of the reader-funded model. But more support is needed to keep this show on the road.

The funding drive was started in November 2021 and, as of the start of February, 210 readers have kindly become monthly subscribers -- thank you very much to all that have!

But currently, it's only around 1.3% of readers who subscribe. So, if you can, please join them and subscribe today via ko-fi.com/irishcycle/tiers

Cian Ginty
Editor, IrishCycle.com

11 comments

  1. Who created this survey ? Do they understand at all the needs of bicycle user ? Had to maintain the hiviz/helmet fetish of course. What is the biggest threat to safe cycling ? They didn’t even come close to touching on that. A victim blaming excercise as usual.
    Someone on Facebook gave a link to register complaints to RSA –
    http://rsa.ie/Utility/Contact-Us/Complaints-Form/

    Reply
  2. The RSA takes so much time and effort telling us that cycling is not safe, and that we should wrap ourselves up in high-vis bubble-wrap, that it doesn’t have any resources left to look at the real problems faced by cyclists – such as bad road/junction design.

    Reply
  3. There is also a link to cycling tips on the website linked to bike week.

    Apparently cyclists should respect other road users by not getting into “shouting matches with motorists”!

    We should also never cycle on foot paths, no mention of exceptions such as cycle lanes on footpaths.

    Not to mention the usual guff about helmets and reflective clothing.

    Also no mention of using asl boxes, or giving space to parked cars, which are the kinds of tips people actually need to learn about.

    Reply
  4. Good strong response to what seems like an ill thought out survey by RSA! Have they issued it widely or are they simply waiting for people to log on to website!?

    Reply
  5. They have posted it on their Facebook page and also funded Facebook adverts for it (after seeing it first it also came up as a ‘sponcored’ post.

    Reply
  6. The best advice I give to fellow cyclists is get a GoPro and put it on your helmet. The survey results that you will get on a daily basis will give you a real slice of reality. All we need is a repository that they can be uploaded to. Maybe the RSA should host the videos, now that would be useful, for a change and it would be a useful educating tool for them as well!

    Reply
  7. I no longer see the RSA as fit for the purpose of increasing the modal-share towards cycling in order to attain the NCPF (2009) goal on a 10% national split by 2020. It has insisted on dangerising cycling to the extent that the public must be frightened to even consider cycling.
    If you are not lit up like a Christmas tree and swathed in body armour then keep off the road!
    It needs to refocus on the real and present danger faced by cyclists and that is the 1-3 tonne metal boxes being driven at inappropriate speeds by drivers who don’t understand or respect cycling, believing that because they pay motor tax their needs trump cyclists’ safety.
    Dangerous overtaking is simply being ignored by both the RSA and the Garda.

    Reply
  8. There is no problem with the answers re riding two abreast: it is always permitted, the very law you referred to says so.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Richard Cancel reply

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