1.5 meter Distance Traffic Sign

Do you know where to report dangerous driving in Ireland – Part 2

Dangerous Driving incident

Just over 2 weeks ago, I reported an incident of dangerous driving to Traffic Watch. I was overtaken by a truck on a busy, narrow road, with a solid white line with oncoming traffic.  I am a member of Galway Cycling, and they gave me the telephone number of Traffic Watch to contact to report the incident.

So where can you report Dangerous driving? Members of the public can call Traffic Watch lo-call number1890 205 805 to report aggressive driver behaviour, driving hazards and traffic-related incidents. Calls are answered and logged by civilian personnel at the Garda Information Services Centre, Castlebar. The reported incident is then forwarded to the relevant Garda Station for investigation.  More info here. I recommend you ring as soon as possible to keep the memory fresh. Having footage will be very helpful. I wrote about it here.

Any update?

As I hadn’t heard since I reported the incident, I contacted the Garda Station in Galway City, who put me in contact with the Garda station in Loughrea. Just today the investigating Garda was in contact, and I am now awaiting for a written statement to be taken in a few days time…

Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 m campaign

Once I published my blog post, I got a message from Phil Skelton. I had seen the 1.5 M signs on the Facebook page from WexBug, but didn’t know the finer details.  Turns out it was Phil Skelton ( Phil if you are reading this, thank you so much!!)  that spearheaded the Irish campaign for cyclist specific minimum passing distance legislation, it was called the Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign. Phil has now moved into the role of Chair of WexBUG.
 
Phil tells me that the sign you see on our WexBUG social media are not just for Wexford, they are an agreed Irish road sign now
 
1.5 meter Distance Traffic Sign

1.5 m Meter Distance

 
As some background please see the Stayin Alive at 1.5 website.  http://www.safecyclingireland.org/
 
In a nutshell, Phil started this campaign following a close pass not too dissimilar to what just happened to me. He started a National campaign in 2014.
 
The key aims of the campaign were:
  • 1. to change the rules of the road where a minimum passing distance would be included – this happened in 2017
  • 2. To roll out a RSA specific campaign. 
  • 3.The ad that you see now on TV is a direct result of my lobbying 
  • 4. To change the then ambiguous dangerous overtaking law – this was changed via secondary legislation to a cyclist specific one in 2019 with increased penalties following direct lobbying. 
  • 5. The rollout of funded road signage throughout Ireland – this is what you are seeing now in many counties. So rather than us at WexBUG convincing Wexford Co Co to erect signage, this has come from the Dept Transport. To be clear, WexBUG did not need to engage local councillors in this process. The council themselves applied for funding when to opportunity was announced and are now towards the finish in rolling them out. 

And what is the situation in Galway County Council?

Galway County Council seems to have missed out on the vital step to apply for funding.  Every local authority except Kilkenny and Galway applied for funding for these and many are now in the process of erecting the signage. Covid 19 meant that there was a delay. Why didn’t Galway Co. Co. apply for signs? Has money been “ringfenced for these signs? I would love to hear the answer. Below is an overview of all the Counties that applied for funding for these signs via circular RST 04 2019. 
 
Applications for funding by Council
 

Since the pandemic, so many people are out walking and cycling on rural roads, but there is no provision to alert drivers that the road is shared ánd to remind them to reduce speed. Dangerous driving is a real issue. This is another sign we should get on those roads where it is known people are walking and cycling. 

Shared Road Sign

 

 

And last but not least, there is the whole initiative of Love30, check out their website here. Check out the submission by Galway Cycling Campaign to bring down speed limits ( for now with limited success.) I’d like to start a debate on the 80 km speed on country roads, how can a country road be safe if the speed limit is 80 km?

Love30 

How can you help?

I asked Phil for further info on how to go about identifying what roads are eligible and to suggest locations for the signs. He shared recommendations following a zoom chat with the Local Authority Road Safety Officer group in early October last year (He was not sure if Galway Co Co were in attendance) These were the recommendations that he made to them on that subject:

  • This first one is a link to some cycling routes from Sport Ireland. There will be other cycling routes in your counties too. This is where I would start with safe overtaking signage. https://www.sportireland.ie/outdoors/cycling-on-road/trails (This is a strange one, it seems there is only one trail in Clifden? )
  • This next link is to the Strava heat map. This is an app used mainly by leisure and sports riders and will give a good overview of roads in your local authority area that are used by these riders. https://www.strava.com/heatmap#7.00/-120.90000/38.36000/hot/ride
  • This link is from the RSA’s cyclist collision data 2005-2016. This will help to identify particular problematic areas. https://www.google.com/mymaps/viewer?mid=1PpqLW_G84YQc26WQ1fFMFifHNfAz3fys&hl=en_GB    (This really shows the overview of minor, major and fatalities on roads in South Galway – I had a quick look, and it looks like the R380 from Gort to Loughrea has at least one fatality on the Gort Side and a few other incidents and 1 fatality towards Loughrea… 
  • Lastly, please engage with local cycling advocacy groups or/and cycling clubs for further location suggestions.

I am looking for people to help me to research the above and request input from Galway Co. Co to make our road safer.  Please contact me here.

Join my Facebook Group Gort Cycling Trails to find out about #GortCycleTrails #SafeCycletrails and sign up here to get updates on when I’ll be setting up a community cycle from Woodford to Flagmount later in the summer( when restrictions are eased hopefully). These are the loops I have mapped so far.

 

 

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Posted in Burrenlowlands, Co. Galway, Gort, Gort Cycle Trails, West Of Ireland and tagged , .

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