Road users being urged to use hi-vis gear

Road-users are being urged to wear high visibility material when out walking or cycling on Irish roads as Road Safety Authority (RSA) research has revealed that over half of pedestrian fatalities to date in 2013 happened during the hours of darkness. This comes as the RSA and Electric Ireland team up for the third annual ‘National Be Safe, Be Seen Day’ which will take place tomorrow, the darkest day of the year.

In November and December 2013, the RSA conducted an observational study of high visibility wearing rates among 4,000 pedal cyclists and almost 1,000 motorcyclists in Dublin. Preliminary results indicate relatively poor wearing rates of high visibility material. Of 900 cyclists observed using Dublin City Bikes, less than 1 in 20 (4.5%) were wearing high visibility material. Of the non–Dublin City Bike users observed, more than 1 in 3 were wearing high visibility gear (36%). Similarly, just over a third (36%) of motorcyclists were observed wearing high visibility gear.

To date this year, 180 people have died on Irish roads, an increase of 21 road fatalities when compared to the same period last year. Vulnerable road users (cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians) accounted for one third of these deaths. Worryingly, road fatality figures to date have found that of the 29 pedestrians who have died on Irish roads to date this year, over half of these fatalities occurred during the hours of darkness and over half (51%) of pedestrians killed were 56 years of age and older.

Mr John Caulfield, Interim CEO, Road Safety Authority said: “To date this year, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists have accounted for one third of road fatalities and this shows just how vulnerable these road users are. With fewer hours of daylight during the winter months, it’s even more important for vulnerable road users to ensure that they can be seen by other road-users when out on the roads. Wearing high visibility material is a simple and effective way to make sure you are clearly seen when out walking, cycling or motorcycling. We would encourage everyone to put on their high visibility vest, jacket or Sam Browne belt to show your support for ‘National Be Safe, Be Seen Day’ this Saturday. It could help to save a life.”

Speaking at the launch Jim Dollard, Executive Director, Electric Ireland said: “We are delighted to support the Road Safety Authority’s ‘Be Safe, Be Seen Day’ for the third year.   We have provided over 240,000 high vis vests to children starting school throughout Ireland over the past three years to help them stay safe on their daily journeys to and from school.   We know safety of children is upper most in the minds of all parents and we hope this simple step helps keep our youngest members of society safer.”

The RSA and Electric Ireland are asking people around the country to support ‘National Be Safe, Be Seen Day’ by tweeting photos of themselves wearing their high visibility vest or jacket on their way to work, college or school to encourage others to follow their example. Photos should be tweeted to the RSA – @RSAIreland – or to Electric Ireland -@ElectricIreland.

The Road Safety Authority is also encouraging motorists to use their dipped headlights during the daytime to improve visibility on the roads. Using dipped headlights during the day makes it easier to see oncoming vehicles in the distances and can help to prevent daytime head-on and front-corner collisions.

For information on the correct way to use lights, the RSA has a handy leaflet on their website: http://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Road%20Safety/Leaflets/Leaf_booklets/Lights%20DL%202012%20v3.pdf

Further information on high visibility, pedestrian and cyclist safety, and Daytime Running Lights, can be found on www.rsa.ie Road safety tips and updates will also be shared on the RSA’s Facebook and Twitter pages at www.facebook.com/RSAIreland and www.twitter.com/RSAIreland