The DOE has run its first TV campaign focusing on the issue of cyclists’ safety and the responsibility that drivers and cyclists have for each other.
The campaign, “Don’t Forget”, ran on TV from 18 April until mid-May and was supported by outdoor and online activity.
The DOE says that the number of cyclists seriously injured on Northern Ireland’s road almost doubled in the period 2002-2012, while all serious road traffic casualties fell by 50% over the same period.
The DOE points to research which is says shows “a lack of ownership of responsibility from both cyclists and drivers, as they tend to blame each other in mutually difficult situations”.
With regard to responsibility for pedal cycle casualties, the research shows that cyclists are responsible for just over 40% of casualties, while drivers and other road users are responsible for just under 60%.
Mark H Durkan, Northern Ireland’s environment minister, said: “This campaign encourages cyclists and drivers to engage with each other emotionally and help them understand each other’s perspective, so that they respect each other’s journey.
“Cyclists have a right to ride on the road, just as motorists have a right to drive. Drivers must be vigilant of cyclists and respect their right to use the road. Cyclists need to take sensible precautions like wearing conspicuous clothing and using the road safely.
“As road users, we all make choices and we all have influence. If we share the road, we have to share the responsibility.”
Superintendent Gerry Murray, Northern Ireland’s head of roads policing, said: “Cyclists should always wear a helmet, reflective or fluorescentclothing, but most importantly, pay constant attention to their surroundings.
“Motorists should be patient, slow down and give cyclists plenty of space while overtaking and, if emerging from a junction, look closely to see all traffic, especially cyclists.”