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Alcohol a factor in 29% of fatal motorcycle crashes

The fourth landmark Pre-Crash Report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has revealed that almost a third of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012 had consumed alcohol. The findings of the report were presented at the RSA Annual Academic Lecture today, the first event of Irish Road Safety Week which runs until Sunday 9 October.

983 fatal collisions occurred on Irish roads between 2008 and 2012, claiming the lives of 1,077 people. The RSA analysed An Garda Síochána Forensic Collision Investigation reports for 867 collisions in order to determine what caused or contributed to the collisions. Of these 867 collisions, 93 collisions involved a motorcyclist and claimed the lives of 96 people. A further 7 people were seriously injured.

The report revealed that: Speed was a contributory factor in 49% of the 93 fatal collisions involving a motorcyclist;  54% of the fatal collisions involving a motorcyclist occurred in an 80km/h speed zone;  Almost one third (29%) of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions had consumed alcohol, and almost half of these (45%) were four times or more above the current legal limit;  The presence of alcohol was most prevalent among 25-34 year olds;  57% of the motorcyclists in fatal collisions who had consumed alcohol crashed on a Sunday. More motorcyclists with a presence of alcohol were in a fatal collision between 5pm and 6pm on a Sunday than any other time during the week.

  The report also revealed that:

Six counties – Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary – accounted for almost half (47%) of fatal motorcycle collisions;  57% of collisions on a Saturday and 58% of collisions on a Sunday occurred between 12pm and 7pm;  April and July were the most dangerous months for motorcyclists, accounting for 16% and 15% respectively;  Of the 93 fatal collisions involving a motorcycle, the motorcyclist was deemed culpable in 72 collisions and part culpable in 8 collisions;  98% (78) of the motorcyclists who were deemed culpable for the collision were male;  30% of those culpable had no insurance and 15% did not hold a current motorcycle licence at the time of the collision;  and 4 of the 6 pillion passengers killed were being driven by motorcyclists who had consumed alcohol.

  Delegates at the lecture heard from Dr Áine Carroll who presented on the consequences of motorcycle collisions from a medical perspective, highlighting the types of injuries typically sustained by motorcyclists.

  Dr Saskia de Craen, Researcher from SWOV Institute of Road Safety Research (Netherlands) presented the results of her research into the effectiveness of rider training. SWOV evaluated the ‘Risk’ one-day advanced training course at the Royal Dutch Motorcyclists Association over a two-year period from 2012 to 2014. The results showed that the training had a positive effect on safe riding behaviour and hazard perception of motorcyclists in the short-term (the first few months after training). In the long-term, ‘Risk’ trained motorcyclists showed safer traffic behaviour than those without training.