Recently the RSA published their 6 Month Road Safety Review which found that
- Ireland did not meet its 2021 target for reduction in road fatalities even though traffic levels had reduced due to the pandemic.
- Speeding had increased.
- Most fatal accidents occur in the time period 12:00 (mid-day) – 4:00pm at a time at which most schools close and pupils are returning home.
- Only 3% of trips nationally are by bicycle but 20% of serious injuries are to cyclists.
For some time, Cyclist.ie including Maynooth Cycling Campaign has been campaigning for the RSA and Departments of Transport and Justice to introduce a dedicated portal for road users to upload video evidence of dangerous behaviour. In non-fatal collisions with conflicting reports between drivers and vulnerable road users, An Garda Siochána is unable to decide on who is telling the truth without corroborating evidence. In the case of fatal collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians, the court often hears only one side of what has happened. However, many cyclists and indeed motorists use video cameras to record their journeys so that there is independent corroboration available. In the UK for the last three years, the authorities have encouraged people to upload such videos as the police cannot be everywhere..
In June during a debate in the Dáil, Deputy Ciarán Cannon called for An Garda Siochána to set up a similar portal in Ireland so that trained officers could assess the evidence and bring forward persecutions if warranted. The government rejected the proposal citing strict standards relating to photographic evidence. However, the UK legal system is similar to the Irish one so legislation could be introduced to resolve the issue. Furthermore, the government response ignores calls by An Garda Siochána for submission of videos in the case of road fatalities and serious crimes.
In 2017, Tonya McEvoy, while out with her cycling club, was fatally injured in a collision with a driver of a vehicle in Rathcoffey near Maynooth. In 2021 after a trial by jury, the driver was acquitted of a charge of dangerous driving. While there were a number of factors which may have contributed to the fatality, no-one – neither the car driver or drivers of other cars in the vicinity – were held responsible for the fatality. This is now history. The introduction of a video portal will not bring back Tonya McEvoy but it will help to make the road safer by reducing the number of near misses and close passes.
Postscript: In early July, Deputy Cannon was cycling in Mayo when he sustained serious injuries in a collision with a vehicle. It will take a minimum period of 12 months assuming that he will fully recover. We wish him well.