140% increase in children killed on Irish roads in 2023

— 2 in 3 child casualties between 2014 and 2022 were walking or cycling.

Data released today — Child Safety Day — shows that the number of children aged 0-15 years killed on Irish roads in 2023 to date is 12 compared to 5 in all of 2022.

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Overall 139 people have been killed on Irish roads so-far this year — an increase of 26 fatalities compared to the same date last year, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said today.

The data was released as the RSA launched a report which found that two in three children killed on Irish roads from 2014 to 2022 were either a pedestrian or a cyclist.

The Child Casualties Report 2014-2022 was compiled using collision records transferred from An Garda Síochána to the RSA. The RSA said it was being published today as part of Irish Road Safety Week 2023.

Between 2014 and 2022 there were 56 fatalities aged 0-15 years and 852 seriously injured road users, representing 4% of total fatalities and 8% of total serious injuries, the RSA said.

The report outlined that out of those 908 children, half (51%) were pedestrians, almost three in ten (28%) were passengers, and almost a fifth (18%) were cyclists.

The researcher found that a clear majority (67%) of child casualties were injured on urban roads with a speed limit of 60km/h or less, and Dublin and Cork experienced the highest numbers of child casualties.

Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA, said: “This report reveals concerning trends: Children are among our most vulnerable road users, and they are less able to protect themselves from traffic hazards. They are at a high risk of being injured or killed on our roads. We are particularly concerned because we have also noted an increase in child fatalities in 2023.

He said: “That is why we must all exercise extra caution and responsibility when driving near places where children are likely to be present, such as schools, playgrounds and residential streets. The report shows that children cycling or walking in urban areas are at particularly high risk and it is vital that motorists slow down, observe carefully and share the roads safely with children.”

“While the majority of children killed or seriously injured were on urban roads, we must also note that rural roads involve risk, in particular for children as car passengers. Reducing speed, driving without being under the influence of drink or drugs, avoiding driver distraction and using front and rear seatbelts and child car seats/restraints where required are vital measures for the road safety of children in Ireland,” Waide said.

He added: “We cannot afford to be complacent or careless when it comes to road safety. We all have a duty to make all our roads as safe as possible for everyone, especially for our children.”

The RSA also repeated the call for children to wear high-visibility material when out walking or cycling. It said it was sending 40,000 high visibility vests to pre-schools nationwide. However, road safety campaigners have continuously criticised the focus on high visibility.

The relevant road traffic research outlines how there is limited evidence around the effectiveness of high-vis especially the vast majority of collisions relate to a mix of look-but-failure-to-see collisions, failure-to-look collisions and collisions where one road user or the other misjudged.

Data provided by the RSA:

Table 1 Fatalities aged 0-15 years, 2014-2022 
Fatalities201420152016201720182019202020212022
Aged 0-151539434855
% total8%2%5%3%2%3%5%4%3%
Fatalities192162182154135140147136157

Figures for 2020 onwards are provisional and subject to change.

Table 2 Serious injuries aged 0-15 years, 2014-2022
Serious injuries201420152016201720182019202020212022
Aged 0-156875818887134100105114
% Total9%9%8%8%6%9%9%8%8%
Serious injuries759827965105313591506114513601425

Figures for 2020 onwards are provisional and subject to change.

Table 3 Killed and seriously injured road users aged 0-15 years, 2014-2022
Road Usern%
Driver131%
Passenger25028%
Motorcyclist182%
Pedal cyclist16618%
Pedestrian46151%
Total908100%

Figures for 2020 onwards are provisional and subject to change.

Table 4 Killed and seriously injured road users aged 0-15 years by Road User Type, 2014-2022 (%)
Aged 0-15201420152016201720182019202020212022
Vehicle occupants29%28%31%30%36%33%24%27%24%
Vulnerable road users71%72%69%70%64%67%76%73%76%
Total100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%

Figures for 2020 onwards are provisional and subject to change. Vulnerable road users include motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Table 4C: Killed and seriously injured road users aged 0-15 years by county, 2014-2022
CountyNumber% Total
Carlow121%
Cavan131%
Clare162%
Cork9310%
Donegal293%
Dublin27630%
Galway576%
Kerry202%
Kildare516%
Kilkenny111%
Laois152%
Leitrim51%
Limerick384%
Longford81%
Louth233%
Mayo283%
Meath374%
Monaghan121%
Offaly152%
Roscommon121%
Sligo3<1%
Tipperary354%
Waterford243%
Westmeath222%
Wexford273%
Wicklow263%
Total908100%

Figures for 2020 onwards are provisional and subject to change.

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