Paul Hoey Wholetime Firefighter Red Watch, Ballymena Fire Station Read this articleRead all 9 articles
Today marks the beginning of Road Safety Week 2018 (19-25 November), with this year’s theme ‘Be Bike Smart’.
All road users are being reminded of their personal responsibility to drive, ride and walk in a way that keeps both themselves and others safe as they share the road.
Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Infrastructure, said: “As with every journey, every day, drivers are being urged to pay extra attention to people who choose to cycle or ride motorcycles.
“The Highway Code provides specific advice to drivers on how to take extra care around those on two wheels. In particular, give cyclists and motorcyclists at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.”
People riding motorcycles continue to be over-represented in regards to road casualties.
Katrina continued: “A bike is much harder to see than a car – so extra effort and a greater level of awareness are essential where bikes are concerned.
“When you are driving take a conscious look for riders when turning right, when emerging from junctions and when overtaking.
“This year’s message is focusing on looking out for those on bicycles or motorcycles; and those people travelling on bicycles or motorbikes taking steps to increase their own safety through safe riding behaviours and appropriate training and equipment.”
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Road Safety Week should serve as a reminder that we all share the responsibility for road safety, whether that’s as a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian.
“The main causes of the most serious collisions in which people are killed and seriously injured remain unchanged: inattention; excessive speed for the conditions and drink or drug driving.
“Our advice is clear. Drivers and riders need to slow down, pay greater attention to their surroundings, NEVER ever drive or ride a motorbike after drinking or taking drugs and whether you are a driver or passenger, always wear a seatbelt. Pedestrians and cyclists also need to be aware of their surroundings and particularly at this time of year, make every effort to been seen by wearing reflective or hi-vis clothing.”
Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “So far this year our Firefighters have attended over 670 road traffic collisions and rescued over 450 people trapped in their vehicles. Sadly they witness first-hand the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed as a consequence of irresponsible road user behaviour.
“The reality for members of the emergency services responding to road traffic collisions is that those on two wheels are one of the most vulnerable road user groups and tragically, if involved in a road traffic collision, are more susceptible to death and injury.
“We all have a responsibility to do all we can to ease the pain, loss and suffering to individuals, families and communities caused by road traffic collisions. Remember to respect other road users to help share the road to zero.”
Brian McNeill, Director of Operations with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) pleaded for people to give more consideration to cyclists and motorcycles saying: “NIAS crews attend just less than 5000 RTCs per year. Many of these do not result in serious injury however, when a cyclist or motorcyclist is involved, the injuries tend to be more severe. They are an extremely vulnerable category of road user and as the nights get darker I would appeal for them to make sure that, before they take to the road, they can be seen with appropriate clothing and lighting. I would also appeal to other road users to think twice about the possibility of bikes or motor bikes being in the space you are about to take. When you are aware of them being there please give them more space and time to ensure the safety of everyone on our roads”
During Road Safety Week the Department, alongside our road safety partners, the PSNI, NI Fire and Rescue Service and the NI Ambulance Service, will work to raise awareness of our personal responsibility to behave appropriately, every day, on every journey.