What does safe cycling look like?

COMMENT & ANALYSES: A lot of people were shocked on Monday when a spokesman for the Dublin Cycling Campaign was on RTE News without a helmet or a high-vis vest to discuss the new dangerous overtaking law, but what does safe cycling look like?

We don’t need to look any further than less than 700km away. The Netherlands has the most children and retirees using their bicycles for normal everyday transport. The country has a helmet wearing rate of around 0-1% and high-vis is maybe even more rare. And, yet, it’s the safety country to cycle in, at least in Europe.

I can already hear people say: “The Dutch have the infrastructure and we don’t!” Helmets have issues and so does high-vis, but the main point here is that we need to stop focusing on helmets and we need to demand the safe and attractive infrastructure now. The Dutch did not always have their infrastructure — they fought for it and we need to as well.

The health, liveable city and environmental benefits are too great not to fight for a better future where cycling is both safe and attractive to all.



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.


  1. Helmets and hi-vis are merely the results of a cause. Instead of discussing about this result, let’s discuss about the cause.

  2. The only way to have safer cycling is to make it look like an election winner.

  3. Every time I go out on my bike the local kids keep shouting at me “where’s your helmet”. I just shout back “my head’s not cold”. The problem I believe is the “attitude” of both cyclists and motorists. A combination of arrogance and lack of consideration on both sides. By the way I am 80 next year

  4. Cian…..your readers might like to view the now freely available 20 minute version of the Dutch film ‘Why We Cycle’, which explains the overall principles and benefits behind the Dutch cycling experience! Its a joy to watch, and the free version is courtesy of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – Check it out on this LINK.

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