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Traffic Press Release - May Bank Holiday Weekend 2013

As we head into the May Bank Holiday, we must take note that tragically, 64 people have lost their lives on Irish roads to date.

This is 13 more than this date last year. To reverse this increase in fatalities, An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority appeal to all road users to exert maximum care on the roads over the coming days, and in particular, to the large numbers who will be travelling to various parts of the country. Reducing your speed, wearing your seatbelt, not drinking and driving, being alert and concentrating fully on the task of driving, are all proven lifesavers.

Vehicle users are reminded there will be significant enforcement activity over the coming days, targeting all road traffic breaches and in particular the key lifesaver offences.

The milder weather has brought about an increase in motorcycle traffic in recent weeks, and sadly this has been reflected in the number of fatal road traffic collisions involving motorcycles. The number of motorcycle fatalities has doubled from 3 to 6 in the past four weeks alone.

With this in mind this Bank Holiday will focus in particular on motorcyclists. We ask all motorcyclists to make sure they are visible and always ride responsibly. We also ask other drivers to specifically look out for them.

Whether you are an all year round motorcyclist, or are now taking your motorcycle out after being in storage for the winter, the basics remain the same. You must wear appropriate protective clothing and ensure your helmet is correctly secured. Trainers and jeans offer little protection in the event of a collision or contact with the road. Make yourself as visible as possible with the aid of a high visibility vest or bib and ride with your dipped headlights on. This ensures you are doing everything you can to be seen by others. Whether it’s a commute or leisure ride, be aware that more than half of motorcycle fatal collisions since 2011 have happened on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, typically 12pm-6pm.

Mr. Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said today:-

"Bank holidays provide everyone with a well-deserved break, but road safety is one area where none of us can afford to take our eyes off the ball. I urge everyone travelling this weekend, whether for pleasure or work, to be vigilant. There is a long litany of tragic accidents on bank holiday weekends. Motorcyclists should be especially vigilant as there have been several bad accidents this year. Let’s all try to ensure that this coming weekend is one of the safest yet.”

Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips added:-

"We must reverse the increase in fatalities we are currently facing so we appeal to all road users to always concentrate 100% when on the road. For those that may be travelling for this bank holiday, we want them to do so safely, so please remember the basics of reducing speed, wearing seatbelts, never drinking and driving, being alert and concentrating fully on what you are doing. Coupled with this there will be significant enforcement activity targeting non-compliant vehicles users. Together we can make the roads safer for all”

Commissioner Phillips continued:-

"More than three quarters of fatal collisions involving motorcycles since 2011 have involved another vehicle so we appeal to riders make yourself as visible as possible, always ride responsibly and take extra care especially when overtaking or lining up for a bend on the road. In addition a motorcycle is about a third of the width of a car, so drivers must watch out for motorcyclists, especially when coming out from junctions, overtaking or changing lanes - Look, look and look again for motorcycles before you move.”

Highlighting motorcycle safety in the run up to the bank holiday weekend Mr. Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority said:-

"Motorcyclists really are vulnerable road users. From 2000 to 2012, a total of 466 motorcyclists have died. In 2011, a total of 18 motorcyclists were killed and a further 324 were injured on Ireland’s roads, accounting for 10% of all fatalities. For a motorcyclist, the risk of dying in a traffic crash, per vehicle kilometres travelled, is about 24 times higher than it is for a car occupant.”

He added, "The lack of a protective shell combined with high speeds means that motorbikes will always be more exposed to risk than other road users. However motorcyclists can greatly reduce this risk by taking some simple precautions. For example by investing in and wearing good personal protection equipment and ensuring that their bikes are properly maintained.”

"Training also plays a key role in improving safety by improving the competence levels of motorcyclists on the roads. So if you have never received any formal training the RSA’s Approved Driver Instructor programme, allows motorcyclists to avail of expert tuition from RSA-approved instructors all around the country. The list of instructors can be found on rsa.ie.” concluded Mr. Brett.


Motorcyclist / Pillion Passenger Fatalities – 1st January 2011 to 2nd May 2013

·        2011: A total of 17 motorcyclists and 1 pillion passenger were killed

·        2012: A total of 16 motorcyclist and 3 pillion passengers were killed

·        2013: A total of 6 motorcyclist have been killed year to date – the same number as the corresponding period last year

·        The four most common types of collision seen over recent years involving motorcyclists and other vehicles were:-

o       A motorcyclist overtaking another vehicle turning right resulting in the motorcyclist colliding head on into the side of the turning vehicle

o       A motorcyclist overtaking a vehicle travelling in the same direction colliding head on with an oncoming vehicle.

o       A motorcyclist losing control while taking a corner and crossing into the path of an oncoming vehicle resulting in a head on collision.

o       Another vehicle turning or driving through a junction / joining a main road from a minor road colliding with a motorcyclist

May Bank Holiday Returns 2008-2012

Fatalities (people)
Fatal collisions
Serious injuries (people)
Serious injury collisions
MAT Checkpoints
MAT Breath tests
Intoxicated while driving incidents
All figures are current as of 2nd May 2013 and are provisional, operational and subject to change.

A representative from An Garda Síochána will be available by phone between 10am and 12pm on Friday morning 3rd May, 2013. Requests to be forwarded by email to pressoffice@garda.ie

Garda Press Office