Motorcyclists reminded about the dangers on the roads

Date Published : May 2nd, 2015    Published By : admin

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Motorcyclists and other road users are being reminded to take care on the roads this bank holiday weekend. So far this year, there is an increase of 3 motorcycle fatalities on the roads, compared to the same period last year. The May Bank Holiday weekend is generally the start of the season for many motorcyclists.

Garda John Joe O’ Connell, who featured on RTÉ’s ‘Traffic Blues’ programme and Leading Ambulance Paramedic  Tony Kelly, who featured on TV3’s ‘Paramedics’ programme previously took part in a joint road safety campaign with Kildare County Council’s Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh, in an effort to highlight the dangers and consequences of not wearing the proper PPE while riding a motorbike.

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Photo: Garda John Joe O’ Connell, Leading Ambulance Paramedic Tony Kelly and Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh

Motorcyclists accounted for 12% of road deaths in 2014, despite making up less than 2% of the total vehicle fleet. Both 2013 and 2014 show peaks in motorcyclist fatalities during April/May, June and July. The greater number of fatalities over the summer months coincides with a period of good weather in both years.

Drivers are being urged to constantly be on the lookout for motorcyclists, in their blind spots, at junctions and especially when turning right. Motorcyclists are asked to be extremely careful when overtaking, negotiating bends and to be particularly mindful of their speed.

Garda John Joe O’ Connell is a member of the Garda Traffic Corps in Naas. He says that motorcyclists are not exempt in any way from the same rules or restrictions as four wheeled vehicles. “We find when patrolling the roads of Kildare that the major offences by motorcyclists are speeding and defective motorcycles, and this includes all aspects of the bikes, the main one being the tyres. Not many know that the correct tyre thread depth for a motorbike is 1mm, and again not many wear the correct protective gear. We do stop and breathalyse motorcycle drivers, and they are also stopped or prosecuted for speeding etc. Motorcyclists should be reminded that whatever offence a vehicle driver can be prosecuted for, so too can a motorcyclist, and this includes speeding and drink or drug driving. We would urge any motorcyclist to ensure that firstly, the bike is roadworthy and secondly that they take all aspects of safety into consideration for themselves as a motorcyclist and also for their pillion passengers”

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Tony Kelly is a Leading Paramedic with the National Ambulance Service. He outlines what injuries can be sustained n such collisions. “All too often motorcyclists or pillion passengers suffer severe and unnecessary injuries following a collision with or from a motorcycle. Most common injuries we would see following a motorcycle collision are head injury, neck injury which would be spinal injury, and chest injury. We also see lower limb fractures. Where people are not wearing the correct or appropriate protective gear, a lot of people would suffer road rash, this is where the skin is torn off the patients, and they would suffer over the years getting skin graph”.

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Education and training are a key element in relation to riding a motorbike. Kildare County Council’s Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh says: “Motorcycling and biking can be fun and safe, however, if you do not have the proper skills and attitude to safety, then the benefit of education and training is lost and t becomes a much riskier pursuit. While visibility is an essential part of road safety, so too is wearing protective gear on a motorcycle because it can minimise the severity of injuries in a collision. Considering the injuries sustained in collisions, if you come off a motorbike, a vest will not provide for any protection whatsoever, whereas the protective gear will”.

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Preliminarily collision analysis of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2014 shows that:

· Motorcyclist fatalities are highest among men aged 20-40.

· Fatal collisions were most likely to occur at junctions, with either the motorcyclist or the other vehicle exiting on or off a main road; this type of manoeuvre led to 8 fatalities in 2014.

· Overtaking manoeuvres and losing control of the motorcycle also emerged as noteworthy contributory factors.

· Motorcyclist fatalities are most likely to occur in the afternoon and early evening from 4pm-8pm

· Eight out of ten motorcyclist fatalities occurred either on roads with an 80km/h speed limit or a 100km/h speed limit.

For other road users, driver distraction plays a role in 20% to 30% of collisions on our roads. As many as one in twelve drivers are using their phones while driving at any one time in Ireland. To support the Garda enforcement message this bank holiday, the RSA has developed a 30 second radio advert to remind drivers that, if detected using a mobile phone, they risk getting three penalty points on their licence.

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Members of An Garda Síochána will be out in force over the Bank Holiday Weekend to keep the roads safe from careless and dangerous drivers. The vast majority of people are law abiding and the Gardai are thanking road users for their good road behaviour. Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, Garda National Traffic Bureau said “It’s saving lives. But for those who continue to ignore the safety appeals I’m afraid we will have no alternative but to sanction those drivers because they put lives at risk. So this weekend we will be targeting drivers who break our road safety laws by speeding, drink or drug driving and not wearing a seatbelt. But we will be paying particular attention to the ever growing threat that mobile phone use while driving poses to our safety on the road”.

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Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe appealed to all road users, ahead of the Bank Holiday, to take extra care when using the roads, “The May bank holiday weekend was a very bad weekend for road safety last year. We lost five lives and six people sustained serious injuries over that four day period. I would appeal to everyone to be mindful of how you use the road, whether you are walking, cycling, riding a motorbike or driving. Ask yourself – what can I do to make this journey a safe one, for others, for my passengers and for myself? It could be something as simple as making more of a conscious effort to watch out for motorcyclist in blind spots, putting the mobile out of reach when driving or wearing the high visibility jacket when out walking. If we all make small changes it will make a big difference.”

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While there have been eight fewer road deaths to date in 2015 compared to last year, there is a rise in the number of motorcyclists and passengers. The rise in passengers is a real cause for concern as there was a 22% increase in passenger deaths in 2014. Ms Moyagh Murdock Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said “This trend appears to be continuing in 2015. No seatbelt was worn in a quarter of these deaths last year, according to crash analysis. The message needs to be repeated again loud and clear. You need to wear your seatbelt on each and every trip, you are naked without one and three out of four people will survive a crash if one is worn.”

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