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Road safety: Minding vulnerable Road Users

Date Published 17.04.2017
Topic Car Insurance

Road safety: Minding vulnerable Road Users

As drivers we share the road with others who don’t have the protection we do in our cars. If there is an accident, they will come out of it worse off. So we have a duty to drive safely when we encounter a vulnerable road user. Driving tips vary depending on who you encounter:

1. Pedestrians 

We all share the roads with pedestrians, what differs by location is how close they are to traffic:

Rural areas:

In rural areas that don’t have footpaths, pedestrians should be walking on the right hand side of the road so they can see you approach. As a driver slowdown in good time when you see a pedestrian, indicate and, if safe to do so, pass them allowing a meter or more of space. Be particularly cautious when driving in rural areas at night. Pedestrians may not be visible until you are very close to them.

Urban areas:

In urban areas you are more likely to encounter pedestrians in a larger variety of situations. As a driver in an urban area you need to be especially watchful for people on foot. Our driving tips for urban areas are:

  • Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially when you are turning
  • Be especially cautious around schools and residential areas where children may run out onto the road unexpectedly
  • Be patient with elderly people, adults with children or people with disabilities who may need more time to cross
pedestarians

2. Cyclists

Cyclists are probably the most at risk group on our roads, they travel closest to moving traffic. At only the end of March 2017, 5 cyclists have been killed on Irish roads. This is a frightening increase from 10 over the whole of 2016. It’s more important than ever to be careful around cyclists. Our driving tips when sharing the road with a cyclist are:

  • Look out for cyclists at junctions and check for them in blind spots
  • Allow plenty of space when you are passing or driving near cyclists
  • Don’t forget to look out for cyclists when you are opening your car door in an area a cyclist may be passing

3. Motorcyclists 

On average 20 motorcyclists are killed or injured on Irish roads each week. This is a pretty stark statistic. For this reason, as a driver it is really important to:

  • Look twice: motorbikes are small and can be difficult to see. Before you make any move in a car make sure you look twice and check your blind spots
  • Listen: some motorbikes have loud engines to make them stand out in traffic so it’s worth keeping an ear out too!
  • Leave space: although motorbikes are small many don’t have anti-lock brakes so they need more stopping distance than you may imagine. Make sure you leave enough space for them to stop in an emergency.
motorcyclists

4. Horses and other animals 

Living in a relatively rural country like Ireland, it is not uncommon to encounter people on horseback in the country (and occasionally the city). When it comes to driving near horses, remember they have a mind of their own and may not react in the way you expect. Although some may be trained not to be frightened of traffic, you won’t know this as you approach. Best to be cautious and follow the instructions of the rider.

You are also likely encounter animals on Irish roads if they are being moved by a farmer from one location to another. In this situation stop and wait a safe distance away or follow the instructions of the farmer. Driving tips when it comes to driving near animals:

  • Slow down (think 15kmph)
  • Take a slow wide berth
  • Observe all around you as you pass

Easy things that make it less likely an animal will be spooked.

By slowing down and following these simple steps we can make sure everyone who uses Irish roads gets to where they are going safe and sound.

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