Ahead of the May Bank Holiday Weekend, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are reminding motorcyclists to ‘Ease off the throttle and keep within the speed limit as we enter the high risk summer period for motorcycling.
Previous RSA research has shown that bikers speeding is a factor in half (49%) of motorcyclist fatal collisions.
Preliminary results from a recent RSA survey of 450 motorcyclists, found that 12% of participants reported having been involved in a road collision in the past two years while three in five (59%) had a near miss in the same period. July was found to be the most dangerous month for collisions involving motorcyclists.
Mr Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: "Over the coming months, as the weather turns finer, there will be more motorbikes on our roads. Motorcycle riding is fun and challenging yet it requires very high levels of knowledge, skill, and understanding. Any mistake on the road can lead to very serious consequences for all involved. We ask motorcyclists to act responsibly when using the road and thank the majority of bikers that do so. Equally I’m calling on drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists.”
Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA, said: "Motorcyclists account for approximately 12% of road deaths on average each year, but motorcycles represent less than 2% of the vehicle fleet in Ireland. That’s a staggering fact. Of the motorcyclist drivers killed over the last 5 years, from 2014-2018, the vast majority of these were male riders. The highest risk groups were those aged between 25 and 44 years, followed by those aged 45-54. My message to these riders is to ease off the throttle and stick within the speed limits.
"Ordinary drivers need to be aware of motorcyclists, particularly in their blind spots, when turning, overtaking and at junctions. All road users must share the road safely and give space to others, particularly vulnerable road users – motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.”
Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, Roads Policing and Major Event Management, An Garda Síochána, said: "Unfortunately motorcyclists are disproportionally represented in road fatality statistics. We are calling on all motorcyclists to take necessary steps to make themselves as safe as possible on the roads. Wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and high visibility clothing to make yourself visible to other road-users.
"Motorcyclist should also ensure they ride with dipped headlight on, to increase visibility. Show restraint and reduce your speed, and never ever ride a motorcycle under the influence of an intoxicant, whether that is alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. We will be out in force this Bank Holiday weekend to play our part in keeping our roads as safe as possible.”
The RSA and Gardaí are also highlighting the misuse of quad bikes and scramblers on the road and in public spaces such as parks. These vehicles pose particular dangers to young people; three of the four people who died in Ireland as a result of an incident involving a quad bike or scrambler were aged 18 or under, in the period 2014 to 2017.
Mr Keith Synnott consultant at the National Spinal Injuries Unit in the Mater hospital said: "Quad bikes and scramblers are not toys, they are heavy, dangerous pieces of machinery that can cause life changing injuries or death. Riders risk spinal injury following a collision on a quad bike or scrambler. Impacts often happen on areas of uneven ground or as a result of unstable vehicles, especially in the hands of children, leading to people falling and landing awkwardly or the vehicle landing on the rider.”
In 2018, there were 15 motorcyclist deaths on Irish roads, just over 60% of which occurred on rural roads with speed limits of 80km/h or higher, including motorways. The majority of fatal collisions involved males aged between 21 and 56 and six of the collisions were single vehicle.
To date in 2019, there have been four fatal collisions involving motorcyclists – three more than the same time last year.