The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and ESB Networks are urging the public to be “Be Safe Be Seen on the shortest and darkest day of the year.
‘National Be Safe, Be Seen Day’ aims to remind people of the importance of wearing high visibility material when out walking, cycling or motorcycling and encourages the public to do so throughout the year, but especially on the shortest day of the year and during the winter months.
Approximately two-thirds of fatal pedestrian collisions happen in hours of darkness.
To date this year(Wednesday, 20 December), 153 people have died on Irish roads, 29 less than this time last year. Vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians, accounted for 2 in 5 deaths with 15 cyclists, 20 motorcyclists and 28 pedestrians killed on Irish roads so far, this year.
Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “So far this year more than a third of those killed on Irish roads have been a vulnerable road user. It is vitally important for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists to heed the warnings and always wear a pair of reflective armbands, high-visibility belt or other reflective or fluorescent clothing which will help you to be seen from a distance. If walking on country roads it is important to carry a torch when walking in the dark. Although you can hear a car coming and see its lights, the driver may not see you and certainly won’t hear you so it is worth bearing these important rules in mind.”
Earlier this year, the RSA and ESB Networks distributed free high visibility vests to every child starting school.
Mr Mark Madigan, Safety Health and Wellbeing Manager, ESB Networks, said: “ESB Networks are delighted to support the Road Safety Authority’s ‘National Be Safe, Be Seen Day’. This year, ESB Networks distributed 110,000 high visibility vests to all children starting school, helping to ensure that our youngest and most vulnerable road-users are kept safe when walking or cycling to school. This is important as the evenings get darker and the weather deteriorates and is particularly relevant on the shortest day of the year.”
To promote pedestrian and cyclist safety over the festive period the RSA has teamed up with the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) to distribute 50,000 high visibility jackets to almost 4,000 publicans for distribution free of charge to their patrons to ensure they get home safely over the Christmas and New Year period.
Recent research has shown alcohol to be a contributory factor in 38% of fatal crashes in November and December in the lead-up to Christmas.
The RSA and ESB Networks are asking people around the country to support ‘National Be Safe, Be Seen Day’ by sending photos of themselves wearing their high visibility vest or jacket on the shortest day of the year. Photos can be sent to the RSA via their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat profiles or tweet @ESBNetworks using #BeSafeBeSeen.