"Cyclists are entitled to road space as much as cars, vans, goods vehicles or indeed any other vehicle on the road," says the Road Safety Authority of Ireland, promoting its new public information film which has started to air on TV in Ireland.
"This commercial aims to educate drivers on sharing the roads safely with cyclists, and motorists’ responsibility to cyclists as vulnerable road users."
The RSA adds: "Ultimately, we are asking motorists to be respectful of cyclists and mindful of how they use the road. We all share the road, and if we’re considerate of each other, we’ll see fewer needless accidents and deaths."
The TV ad – already going viral on YouTube – is aimed at motorists, although the perspective changes between cyclists and motorists, swapping from one to the other as they encounter each other. This is to contrast the perceived safety of a car versus the vulnerability of a bike, and to make motorists aware of this vulnerability.
The ad features a broad cross section of cyclists: commuters, shoppers, families and road gangs. Motorists are advised to anticipate cyclists at junctions and check blind spots; the ad shows how to avoid the risk of ‘dooring’ a cyclist; and, critically, there’s an excellent demonstration of how motorists should give cyclists a lot of room when overtaking, at least a car’s full width. Roadies will appreciate that the TV ad shows motorists how to safely overtake cyclists riding two abreast: there’s no admonition for club rides to willow out to single file.
The video is complemented by a new publication from the Irish transport authority showing how designing solely for motor traffic kills communities.
The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets shows that it’s preferable to design for people, rather than cars. "The continued assumption of growth in private vehicle usage is not sustainable." says the manual.
In a foreword to the manual, Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, said:
"Better street design in urban areas will facilitate the implementation of policy on sustainable living by achieving a better balance between all modes of transport and road users. It will encourage more people to choose to walk, cycle or use public transport by making the experience safer and more pleasant. It will lower traffic speeds, reduce unnecessary car use and create a built environment that promotes healthy lifestyles and responds more sympathetically to the distinctive nature of individual communities and places."