At the end of December, the RSA issued their customary end of year press release on road fatalities. In 2016 there was a 15% increase in fatalities as 186 people were killed on Irish roads including 10 cyclists. This was one more cyclist fatality than in 2015 and the second highest since the low point in 2009.
For cyclists the 3 year average shows a slight dip compared to 2015. The general trend since 2009 shows increased fatalities following increased traffic as the economy recovers rather than any safety in numbers effect from more cycling.
Number of Cyclist Fatalities 1996 – 2016 (No. of Fatalities vs Year)
Although the large increase in fatalities had been well flagged from earlier in the year, the response of Shane Ross, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport was to issue a press release reminding people to share the road and a promise of more legislation rather than a government commitment to enforce existing laws. We expect this to have a similar impact on road fatalities in 2017 as Project EDWARD. For those who do not know, Project EDWARD (European Day Without A Road Fatality) saw European police forces and road safety organisations tackle road safety by urging motorists to sign a pledge. In Ireland, on that day two people died.