20th February 2008
The Galway Cycling Campaign and the Garda Siochana have teamed up in a community initiative aimed at encouraging more cyclists to make sure that they can be clearly seen on the roads at night. The initiative is a response to reports that significant numbers of people are cycling on the streets in the dark without lights or adequate reflective gear.
Safety Officer for the Galway Cycling Campaign (GCC), Oisin O Nidh, described cycling without lights as “silly and unacceptable behaviour” as it not only puts the unlit cyclist at risk, it also causes “stress and aggravation” for motorists.
The Garda bike squad will be patrolling the city streets on Monday 25th February 2008 on the lookout for unlit cyclists. The bike lights team will take a positive promotional approach on its first outing, which will include providing reflective gear to any unlit cyclists they meet. GCC members will be on hand to distribute high visibility vests and reflective armbands, all provided by the Road Safety Authority.
Adequate lighting front and back is the minimum requirement laid down by law, and it also recommended that cyclists increase their visibility by using added reflective gear.
“The rules of the road are very clear on this,” Mr O Nidh said. “You must never cycle without appropriate lighting during the hours of darkness. People who think they can ignore this rule, and who go around on unlit bikes on busy streets in the dark, are not very bright in any sense of the word. They are a danger to themselves and a hazard for motorists and pedestrians.”
“Bike lights these days are super-bright, easy to use and affordable. And every cycle shop has them, so there’s no excuse. There is a very strong case to be made for legally requiring bikes to be sold with lights already fitted, but until our legislators implement such a policy we need to keep emphasising individual responsibility.”
“In addition, reflective gear such as armbands, Sam Browne belts and high-viz vests all greatly increase a cyclist’s visibility when cycling at night. If you don’t want to wear these over your clothing, you can attach reflective material to your bike, or to a rucksack for example,” he added.
The GCC say they have been consistently calling for greater levels of encouragement, education and enforcement in relation to road safety, and insist that cycling should be included in such initiatives.
“All road users have a personal responsibility for themselves and for the effect they have on other people they share the road with,” Mr O Nidh stated. “Human nature being what it is, consistent, high-profile awareness-raising and enforcement must also be integral to any road safety policy.”
“Cycling is an inherently safe and healthy activity”, he continued. “However, there is always room for improvement in the area of safety, and all road users need to play their part by sharing the road with courtesy, tolerance and common sense.”
Galway Cycling Campaign PRO