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Govt “demoted” road safety, says advocate, as he calls on motorists to “Give Time, Give Space” to cyclists six years after death of his sister

— “Demotion” of road safety to junior ministerial position and lack of urgency on online reporting portal highlighted as serious issues.

“Give Time, Give Space” is message being pushed for the annual Donna Fox anniversary appeal to motorists to slow down and give people cycling room on our roads.

While cycling to work in Dublin City on September 6, 2016., Donna was killed at a corner of the junction of Seville Place, Guild Street and Sheriff Street when a truck driver turning left failed to see her.

After her death, her brother Neil Fox became a road safety advocate and has pushed for safer streets and roads especially for people cycling.

He said that his sister was “ever an optimist in life” and that the call to motorists to “Give Time, Give Space” is fitting in her memory. Fox said: “The message is that a little time a little space can, and does save lives! Everyone has the power to keep cyclists safe.”

He is now joining others in calling on the Minister for Justice to “give teeth” to Dangerous Overtaking of a Cyclist legislation by setting up a national online reporting portal to enable “robust enforcement”.

Fox said it was a “particular frustration” that the Department of Justice has dragged its heals on the issue of a portal, which he said would “assist and simplify reporting of near misses and dangerous passes by motorists”

“It is regrettable that despite persistent calls from so many stakeholders the Minister for Justice has shown no will to act with the urgency required, this coupled with no Cabinet Minister actively at helm of road safety in Ireland is concerning to say the least,” said Fox.

The reference to a lack of Cabinet minister on road safety is relating to Hildegarde Naughton, who covers road safety, being only a Minister for State, a position which does not include a seat at the Cabinet table.

Fox said that the decision to push road safety down to a junior ministerial portfolio in the 2020 formation amounts to a “demotion of road safety” which has resulted in less of a focus on the issue.

He said: “Where road safety is concerned there can be no let up nevermind a clear demotion by government. The Minister for Transport should be over road safety pure and simple. I would call on the Taoiseach to reinstate road safety to this senior ministerial status. Increases in fatalities since the position was downgraded shouldn’t go unnoticed either.”

Describing his sister, he added: “Donna was an amazing loving and kind, fiercely loyal girl taken too soon. I’m honoured to have had her as my sister. To remember her is to look to future with hope not despair for the future of safer cycling. Government need to play their part but we all do too, give time, give space today and always as you drive. A second is difference between life and death.”

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Cian Ginty
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