As was seen by the recent change in the road rules cyclists are now to be given more space on the road. This decision was prompted by a number of road collisions involving cyclists and these changes were introduced as a way to help reduce them. Given the increased use of bikes, particularly in Dublin City, we decided to dig a little deeper and have a look at the key concerns that road users should keep in mind.
The Three Greatest Dangers
Looking through the research, we have identified the three key black spots for cyclists:
Dry Roads in a 50km zone
Although it seems counter-intuitive most collisions happen on dry roads in a 50km zone. Not surprisingly, most of the collisions are among commuters Monday-Friday. While it is unclear as to why, it appears that cyclists and road users are generally more cautious when the roads are wet, and less so when they are dry.
T-junction with a traffic light or without a control (essentially no lights) are the most dangerous for cyclists. The key answer to reducing collisions has been to give them more space - giving cyclists space at this type of junction is important as they are blind spots. For example, potholes are more likely to occur at a junction as this is where traffic pressure can be at its greatest, so cyclist may be trying to avoid this as they turn, and therefore need more space.
According to studies cyclist collisions peak during July and September – which corresponds to the height of tourist season and back to school time.
High Risk Categories
We have found three high risk categories:
Of women involved in collisons, 65%-90% of these women were in in their 20's and 30's.
50-60% of men involved in collisions were also in their 20's and 30's.
These are cyclists who may not be used to the road speed or sheer volume of traffic.
Worst Cycling Collision Spots in Dublin City Centre
Having identified the greatest dangers and the groups most at risk, we had a look at the three spots in Dublin that cyclists should take care:
The area between Abbey Street (Luas tracks) and College Green is the most dangerous place for cyclists in Dublin city. A series of T-junctions are located here so traffic is coming and going several different directions so it is difficult to predict where your fellow road user may be going.
Where Church Street/Bridge Street Lower meet at the River Liffey is also particularly dangerous. This area consists of both a T-junction and a crossroads.
The area around Portobello Bridge between Rathmines Road Lower and Canal Road also consists of a T-junction and crossroads and is a significant blackspot for cyclist collisions.
What can we all do
We all need to be aware as road users that cyclists may have to deal with unexpected obstacles on the road other than ourselves, for example rubbish dumped on the side of the road.
Give cyclists space – law or no law
Regardless of the law cyclists need space. Unexpected obstacles can turn up or road surface conditions can change at a moment’s notice. They need the space to avoid these.
New legislation came into effect on the 11th November of this year and it is now an offence not to give a cyclist sufficient space. It is now required by law to give a distance of one metre in locations with speed limits less than 50km/h, and 1.5 metres where the speed limit is greater than 50 km/h.
Dedicated cycling routes
The results of studies illustrate the fact that we need segregated and dedicated cycling facilities. An example of this is the proposed Liffey Cycle Route. It is planned to be a 5km segregated cycle track running from the Tom Clarke (East Link) bridge to Heuston Station. It is intended to be 2m wide at some places and 3.5m wide at others. This will make the journey safer and more enjoyable with river views.
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