In What County Do Cyclists Run The Greatest Risk Of Injury?

Maynooth Cycling Campaign has for some time been trying to get data from the RSA on injuries (serious and minor) by county as we were interested in which was the safest and most dangerous county for cyclists.

We received the information recently and carried out a basic analysis of the data. To take the level of cycling in different counties into account, the number of commuting cyclists was taken from the Census 2016 reports. This was then divided by the average number of  injuries per year to estimate the risk of an accident to a commuting cyclist.

Ideally, it would be more useful to differentiate between serious and minor injuries and to have data over several more years. It would also be useful to separate out the number of single vehicle injuries ie where only a cyclist was involved as the figure would then reveal the injury risk to a cyclist from a motorised vehicle.  

The results found that the greatest risk to a commuting cyclist is in Leitrim where it is 1 in 24. The safest county for commuting is Dublin which the RSA categorises as one entity. Although there are more than 600 injuries per year in the capital, the risk of an injury is 1 in 93. In some ways, this should not be surprising as there is a greater expectation of meeting cyclists in Dublin than in a county like Leitrim. It tends to support the theory of “Safety in Numbers”.

Atr first sight, the results for Kildare appear quite good but there are of course a lot of qualifications. The numbers only refer to commuting cyclists ie people travelling to school/college or work so excludes recreational and many other utility journeys. It is not possible to draw any conclusions whether or not a particular local authority is getting more dangerous, less dangerous or the risk is consistent. Most importantly of all, the analysis only considers the risk of injury – not fatalities

The result for all counties is available below:

An Garda Siochana & Illegal Parking

On 29th July last, there was a funeral at St. Mary’s Church, Maynooth. This is not an unusual event in itself but what was unusual was that the funeral was larger than normal and from early in the morning, drivers began to park their vehicles on the footpaths and shared paths on the Kilcock and Moyglare Roads.

Kilcock Road
Kilcock Road
Moyglare Road
Moyglare Road
Moyglare Road

Members of An Garda Siochana were observed on duty adjacent to Manor Mills. It was assumed that they were taking action on the illegal parking. However, it turned out that rather than actively enforcing the law, they were merely onlooking as drivers parked cars illegally as far as Aldi on the Kilcock Road and the entrance to Mariavilla on the Moyglare Road.

Such drivers have an inflated sense of entitlement to park wherever they want. It is not just a temporary inconvenience to pedestrians and cyclists – it has resulted in fatalities elsewhere. Parking on footpath and cycle facilities is illegal under Irish road traffic legislation and begs the question was there an alternative to the Gardaí acquiescing in drivers breaking the law? Of course there were alternatives. Drivers could have parked in any of the following locations:

  • In the Leinster Street carpark which was adjacent to the Funeral Home.
  • In Manor Mills carpark
  • In Aldi’s carpark
  • In the teachers’ car park attached to St. Mary’s Boys School
  • In the car park attached to the Maynooth Post Primary school grounds
  • In Maynooth University’s several car parks
  • In St. Patrick’s University several car parks
Maynooth University North Campus

St. Patrick’s College

Maynooth Post Primary School

Leinster Street Car Park

Admittedly, some of these premises are privately owned as opposed to publicly owned and others would not be available for much of a normal year. However, as can be seen from the above photographs which were taken on the day, several were available so the Gardaí could have directed drivers to park legally but failed to do so.

Since then, Maynooth Cycling Campaign has emailed the Gardaí in Leixlip on more than one occasion looking for information on how many tickets were issued for illegal parking in  Maynooth on the 29th July and more generally in Kildare in 2020. We  are still waiting a response or even acknowledgement. At the recent meeting of Kildare County Council’s Joint Policing Committee, Maynooth Cycling Campaign also raised the issue through a question to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Unfortunately, due to the meeting on Zoom rather than in person, the question was asked via a third party. This resulted in the question being inaccurately relayed to the Commissioner so his response failed to address the issue. On the bright side, according to the Chief Superintendent John Scanlan, the new Superintendent in Leixlip will be in contact with us in the near future.

Time to Allow Public to Upload Video Evidence of Dangerous Road Behaviour

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, 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.

Another Year, Another Increase in Cyclist Fatalities

Another year over and another year with a continuing upward trend in cyclist fatalities.

With a 3% level of cycling in Ireland, it is expected that the number of cyclists fatalities would be statistically insignificant from year to year ie it would follow a random pattern with fatalities increasing some years and decreasing other years. The number of fatalities (solid line above) confirms this pattern.

The  trend line (dotted) looks at longer term patterns and show a continuing increase in cyclist fatalities. Admittedly, using a different baseline, say 1990, would show a different picture but the graph above uses a baseline of 2010 as that is the year with the minimum number of cyclist fatalities and minimum level of cycling as measured by the 2011 National Census.

From the 1970s when the Netherlands prioritised cycling and began to provide high quality infrastructure, cyclist fatalities dropped despite increased cycling. Irish local authorities have still to recognise the link between high quality infrastructure and the safety of cyclists. Despite increased cycling during the pandemic, the removal of “emergency” cycle infrastructure and opposition to reallocation of road space shows that we have quite a way to go.

Greyways – An Irish Solution to an Irish Problem

A Greyway?

It is with some concern that that we read about “Greyways” in the details of the government’s July Stimulus package. We googled “Greyways” and found no reference to Greyways pertaining to cycle infrastructure. There is also no reference to Greyways in the National Cycle Manual, the Design Manual for Urban Road and Streets or Rural Cycleway Design. So it appears to be yet another Irish solution to an Irish problem. Lack of quality cycle infrastructure is not an Irish problem – it is a world wide problem in many if not most countries.

Converting hard shoulders to cycle infrastructure is not a recent idea. Back in 2012-13, the Department of Transport funded a number of such schemes. An example was the R420 between Tullamore and Clara in Offaly.

As far as I am aware, one of the requirements for the scheme was that local councils had to include counters to measure the effectiveness of the scheme but there appears to never have been any publication of the results. Nevertheless, although there was no official announcement of its failure, the initiative was soon abandoned and the Department made clear that they were not going to fund such infrastructure in the future.

The July Stimulus package claims:

             “This would provide better and safer cycle facilities, between towns and villages,         facilitate modal shift and also help to reduce vehicle speeds because of reduced    carriageway widths. “

The addition of cycle logos has been proven not to protect vulnerable road users. While such hard shoulders are used by road cyclists, most people perceive them not to be safer especially where the speed limit is 80 or 100 km/hr?  They also do nothing to facilitate modal shift. They may help to reduce vehicle speeds of the majority of drivers but what is the evidence that they reduce the vehicle speed of the fastest drivers? We may be premature in jumping to conclusions about the quality of proposed infrastructure but we will wait and see.

Change Our Streets

Hello – You are invited to the following event:  CHANGE OUR STREETS

Event to be held at the following time and date:

                            Tuesday, 5 May 2020 from 19:00 to 19:45 (BST)

Tickets on Eventbrite –

Let’s Get Moving

          Tune in – Tuesday’s meeting is devoted to Sustainable Transport solutions

 We invite you to watch IN ADVANCE a short film (15mins) by Streetfilm on Groningen best cycling city in the world.

          Then from 7:00pm on Tuesday, we will meet on Zoom to discuss ways to                                #ChangeOurStreets to more sustainable future.

         *    What drives Dutch bike culture, socio-economic rewards of cycling, health                           effects of clean air and bonus lower noise pollution brings.
          *   How complementing wider investment into cycling infrastructure can help                          create  more  value in future.
          *  Lessons for Kildare

 Do share this event on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope you can make it.

All the Best,

Gerry Dornan, Maynooth Cycling Campaign

Deirdre Lane, ShamrockSpring 

Press Release – Provide Safe Space for Pedestrians and Cyclists during the Current Crisis

The Irish Pedestrian Network and call on the national government to provide safe, usable space across the country for people to shop, exercise and commute by walking and cycling during the Covid-19 crisis as a matter of urgency.

While current lock-down restrictions are in place until May 5th, the Minister for Health Simon Harris has stated that social distancing measures may stay in place to some degree until a coronavirus vaccine has been found. A substantial percentage of Irish people shop on foot or by cycling, and physical exercise is vitally important to both physical and mental health.

The Irish Pedestrian Network and propose that while motor traffic is reduced, space on streets must be reallocated to walking, running, cycling and playing to ensure safe social distancing within communities – a reallocation that is already taking place internationally.

Speaking for the Irish Pedestrian Network Ailish Drake says, “The New Zealand government has empowered local communities to create more social distancing space by providing 90% funding for new footpaths and widen existing ones, and to create pop-up bike lanes. These measures can be put in place in a matter of hours or a few days using paint, blocks or planters.”

Damien Ó Tuama spokesperson for, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, says,
“Over sixty towns and cities worldwide, in recognition of this new reality, have quickly installed low-cost temporary measures by using cones to widen footpaths and repurposing full vehicle lanes to cycle lanes. Dublin has now joined Berlin, Washington DC and London in reallocating road space to ensure safer social distancing is possible. We want other councils to do the same.”

The Irish Pedestrian Network and welcome efforts by many local Councillors and TDs in seeking additional space for social distancing across Irish cities and in particular the progress made in Dublin where Dublin City Council will begin implementing emergency distancing measures from Monday 20th April.

The IPN and now call on the government to implement a nationwide program as follows:

      1.   Make social distancing easier for those walking or cycling to shops or essential work
       2.   Automated pedestrian crossings so people do not have to manually press signal buttons.
       3.   Introduction of a default speed limit of 30km/h on all urban and suburban streets
       4.   A proportionate reallocation of road space to pedestrians and cyclists, to make walking and cycling safer for those who are exercising within their 2km zone, especially those with prams or wheelchairs
       5.   Local authorities to prioritise temporary widening of footpaths, pop-up cycle lanes, quietways in cities and/or closing road lanes and specific streets to motor traffic (for example: by the temporary application of DMURS standards to existing streets)
       6.   New space to be allocated fairly and with consideration of universal needs across city centre, suburbs, towns and villages to avoid people ‘flocking’ to centralised areas
       7.   Dedicated teams in each local authority to enable local residents and interested groups to plan and design temporary footpaths and cycle lanes in their locality
       8.   Rapid implementation of said routes with a design strategy to clearly indicate new routes to users and motorists.

Orla Burke, spokesperson for Pedestrian Cork explains, “Families in Cork, denied the opportunity to drive to their favourite walking spots, are coming face-to-face with the poor provision for walking in their immediate neighbourhoods. Quick wins are available to our councils but this requires thoughtful leadership. This could be a time for simple yet effective improvements to facilitate walking. We call on our local authorities to rise to the challenge of Covid-19 make our streets safe for all.”

Anne Cronin of Cycle Bus Limerick added, “For children that live in the city or suburbs, jumping on their bike with a parent, is their only way to connect with a space outside of their home. Many children are forced to cycle on the road as opposed to the footpath and therefore are at risk without segregation. The increase in the numbers of children cycling in our city is remarkable at the moment and children should be protected and supported to remain doing so.”

Ailish Drake added that “these temporary actions in response to the Covid-19 emergency, would be strategic in creating a positive culture change to make our towns and cities more liveable and contributing to a much needed boost in footfall required to aid the economic recovery when we move beyond the current crisis. This is in line with current government policy for both urban and rural regeneration development funds (URDF & RRDF).”


The Irish Pedestrian Network is a national advocacy group working to deliver a public realm that is inclusive and ambitious for all. The Network has rapidly grown since its foundation in 2019, and now has affiliated groups in Dublin, Limerick and Cork. Twitter @IrishPedestrian

Maynooth Cycling Campaign is a member of, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network.


Is it Time to Support Health Services People by Reducing Speed Limits

Professor John Crown has called for lowered speed limits during this COVID-19 emergency via social media (Twitter, Mar 20). On behalf of people who walk and cycle every day, we back him 100%. As he said, soon our Emergency Departments will likely be busy enough.

Frontline healthcare professionals have to self-isolate outside of work, both to protect themselves and us. Many are choosing alternatives to public transport to get to and from work. Cycling provides social distancing, daily exercise, and mental health benefits; all of which our doctors, nurses, carers, porters, and cleaners need.

Empty streets mean people are staying home. But we are deeply concerned by countrywide reports of people driving faster and ignoring speed limits. They are putting people walking and cycling at risk of being patients in our EDs.

The research is stark: collisions at 50km/h are five times more likely to be fatal than at 30km/h.

As Prof Crown says, we need lower speed limits, now.

What Do They Love More – Their Cars or Their Kids?

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 14.30.25

A number of Moyglare Abbey residents have complained about the proposed narrowing of the entrance to the estate from the Moyglare Road as part of the provision of cycle facilities to the new school campus.

Arising from issues raised, Kildare County Council undertook to carry out a review of the proposed junction and in a letter the Senior Executive Officer stated that

With reference to the entrance to Moyglare Abbey, the proposed works to the entrance are to ensure compliance with DMURS.

This statement is incorrect. The internal roads of Moyglare Abbey were designed at a time when engineers considered that wide roads were beneficial for road safety reasons. It is now realised that on the contrary wider roads encourage faster speeds which makes it more dangerous particularly for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS) sets out current thinking on the design of urban roads and streets. The emphasis is on the design of “streets” in urban areas as the word “streets” suggests multi users as opposed to “roads” which suggests priority for cars and motorised traffic. Leaving aside the term streets, roads are categorised as either arterial roads, link roads or local roads. Internal estate roads like in Moyglare Abbey are local roads – they cater for local only as opposed to through traffic. Section 4.4.1 of DMURS includes Figure 4.55 which gives widths for different categories of roads. The following, an extract from Page 102, defines the widths for local roads ranging from 5 to 5.5m:

If the entrance was in accordance with DMURS, it would be within this range. Instead it is 7m wide which is narrower than it was but which shows how badly designed, by current standards, many of our existing roads and junctions are. If councillors are interested in road safety, they should ask three questions:

  1. What Is the width of the junction and where is it set out in DMURS as being applicable for a local road?
  2. What are the the kerb radii and where is it set out in DMURS as being applicable for a local road?
  3. Does the junction design prioritise cars or pedestrians and cyclists as set out in the DMURS hierarchy of road users?

The Moyglare Abbey access road is different from many other estates in that it also serves a farm. As the entrance must also work for the farm, councillors should ask a fourth question :

    4.  What is the width and frequency of “farm” traffic.

This may lead to a wider entrance than specified by DMURS but an increase should be reasonable. It should not, as in the past, be designed for the  widest vehicle. 

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 14.41.10

Photograph showing Entrance to Farm off Moyglare Abbey

Those who oppose the narrowing of estate junctions increase the risk to children and other vulnerable road users. The Moyglare Residents Association erected the sign below to alert drivers of the presence of children but in deciding on speed most drivers take their cue from the road form rather than from road signage. At the end of the day, people have to decide what do they love more  – their cars or their kids? 


Postscript – The road/laneway to the farm is only 2.45m so the entrance to a residential estate is nearly three times the width of a road for farm machinery. Crazy!!!