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29th Oct 2023

Transport minister says Irish roads are unsafe for kids walking to school



BY Simon Kelly

“They’re not safe for even experienced cyclists”

Transport minister Eamon Ryan has admitted that Irish roads are not safe enough for children walking or cycling to school.

Speaking at the Dail this week after it was revealed that road death numbers so far in 2023 have already surpassed 2022’s total, Mr Ryan said change was needed, despite roads being improved over the years.

“While there have been improvements in recent years, our streets are not safe. They’re not safe for our children to walk and cycle to school. They’re not safe for even experienced cyclists.

“That has to change as a way of protecting lives and also involving a modal shift towards public transport, towards active travel so that we do have safer roads and more effective roads for everyone, where we’re not in this gridlocked system.”

Authorities urge drivers to be vigilant ahead of Bank Holiday weekend
Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend the Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána and Minister Jack Chambers came together to issue a warning to drivers to be extra vigilant about pedestrians on the roads.

The warning comes as the clocks go back on Sunday, October 29, which will lead to darker evenings.

New data estimating that road death figures are at their highest in 15 years, with 38 pedestrian fatalities so far this year, also revealed that the winter months are particularly dangerous for pedestrians.

Green Party TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh told the Dail that his children previously had a near miss on Irish roads.

“The last time my children were nearly knocked down, it was while crossing at a signalled pedestrian crossing while the driver accelerated through.

“This was in broad daylight while they were on their way to school, which is a critical time for vulnerable road users,” Mr Ó Cathasaigh said.

“The fact of the matter is that it does not matter how much high-visibility gear you are wearing; if the driver is not looking, he or she will not see you.

“For a vulnerable road user such as a cyclist, a pedestrian, or a child walking to school, these are not trivial incidents, because we are not encased in a tonne of steel that will protect us from an impact.”