— Majority of cycling deaths on rural roads
— Three of the collisions involved no other vehicles
Deaths of people using bicycles on Irish roads returned to single digits last year. Provisional figures show that nine people lost their lives while cycling in 2015 compared to 12 in 2014.
The Road Safety Authority has said that this is a 31% decline in cycling deaths on 2014 — while some commentators online have pointed out that decline is hard to analyse given the low numbers, the level of deaths last year is close to the average across the last ten years (9. 2).
In Dublin, the number of deaths returned to a single death in 2015 after spiking to three deaths in 2014 — the low level of deaths in the city has happened at the same time as large increases in the numbers of people cycling in and around the city.
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In a review of the fatal collisions in 2015, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said: “In three cases, no other vehicle was involved, and all other collisions involved cars.” All of those killed were aged between 35 and 75, with 44% aged 60 or over. All collisions took place between 9am and 7.30pm and all occurred in hours of daylight, the RSA said.
It added that “Six [of the nine cycling] fatalities occurred on rural roads (80km/h speed limit or greater).” Three of the collisions happened on roads with 100km/h speed limits, another three on 80km/h roads, and remanding three were on were on roads with limits of “60 km/h or less” (one of these were confirmed by other sources to be a 50km/h road).
The RSA said: “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.”
The deaths include:
- January 10: A 67-year-old man, Matt Walsh, died after he was in a collision with a motorist driving a car at Knockakeery, a rural area south of Westport in Co Mayo.
- May 16: A single-vehicle collision resulted in the death of a 71-year-old man who was cycling with a group when he came off his bicycle and struck the ground on a rural road near Castletownbere, Co Cork.
- June 30: A 62-year-old man, Eugene Maher, was killed in hit and run in Clontarf in Dublin while he was cycling across the bust junction of the Clontarf Road and Howth Road in Dublin city. It was reported in November that 26-year-old Christopher Coleman was charged with dangerous driving causing death, failing to remain at the scene, and driving without insurance and a licence. He is set to stand trial.
- August 6: A 46-year-old man, Kevin Smith, died when cycling after he was in collision with a driver of a car on the N67 in a rural area between Kinvara and Ballindereen in Co Galway.
- November 15: A man in his 30s on a bicycle was killed in a collision with a motorist driving a car on the N22 at Scart, Farranfore, Co Kerry. He was among a group of cyclists when the collision happened.
Over the weekend we were unable to confirm the remaining two deaths, both listed as single-vehicle collisions. On Saturday, the Gardai press office said that they do not have any further breakdown in relation to this, while the Road Safety Authority did not respond to emails before this article was published.
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On February 4, 2015 a collision left a 45-year-old female cyclist fighting for her life after a motorist driving a Opel Astra colliding with the victim at 6.45pm at the junction of Malahide Rd and Greencastle Road in north Dublin. The Garda press office said that the woman survived and a file has been forwarded to the DPP in relation to the collision.
On March 20, 2015 there was a collision between a bicycle and car on the Leopardstown Road in Sandyford, Dublin. The 38-year-old man who was cycling involved in the collision with the motorist was described at the time as in a critical condition, the Garda press office confirmed that man survived, but no further details are available at this time.
UPDATE: The following information was provided by the RSA after this article was first published:
Fatal collisions in 2015 by county and vehicles involved
Data from RSA: Note that this information is provisional and may be subject to change.