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'Any motorcyclist will tell you of a near miss with a car or van where that driver said ‘Sorry, I just didn’t see you’'

An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are appealing to motorists to be aware of and to look out for motorcyclists, not just over the coming May Bank Holiday weekend but at all times. The appeal is being made as a worryingly high number of motorcyclists have died so far in 2022. A total of 11* motorcyclists have died up to today’s date, five* alone were killed in March.

Drivers should expect to encounter motorcyclists on the road more often now and throughout the summer period.

They also need to understand that motorcyclists have less protection in the event of a crash and so are many times more vulnerable. A factor in collisions involving a motorcyclist and a driver is when a car or van turns or drives through a junction / joins a main road from a minor road, fails to observe, and ends up colliding with the motorcyclist.

Therefore, it is critical that drivers look out for motorcyclists especially, at junctions, at intersections, when turning onto a main road and when changing lanes.

Garda Adrian Corcoran, DMR Roads Policing Unit, Dublin Castle, said: "As a Garda motorcyclist and a motorcycle enthusiast I know how enjoyable riding a motorcycle can be. I also know how vulnerable we are on the road. Motorcycling is challenging and it requires very high levels of knowledge, skill, and understanding.

"A good motorcycle rider needs to have a healthy respect for the motorcycle they are riding and a socially responsible attitude when using the roads. As motorcyclists we should also ensure we are equipped with the correct PPE and ride with dipped headlights on, to increase visibility.

"Unfortunately, motorcyclists are overly represented in the road death statistics. In addition, our detection figures show that half of the top speed detections are motorcyclists, with many travelling in excess of 160km/h. It is also extremely important to show restraint by reducing speed, and never, ever ride a motorcycle under the influence of an intoxicant.”

Garda Corcoran added that "In June 2021 An Garda Síochána and the RSA launched the BikeSafe pilot safety initiative. The pilot programme offered a workshop on topics such as hazard awareness and an on the road assessment ride accompanied by an Advanced Garda Motorcyclist.

"The workshops are open to all motorcyclists holding a full motorcycle driving licence and are free of charge. The pilot was a huge success providing post-test assessment to over 200 bikers. Following the success of the pilot An Garda Síochána are planning to offer the BikeSafe programme to motorcyclists on a full time basis.”

Mr. Stefan Auler, Regional Manager, Driver Testing, RSA said: "As someone who tests motorcyclists and is a keen motorcyclist, I have first-hand experience of the challenges that motorcyclists face daily on the road. Visibility is often a factor in motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles.

"Because of its narrow profile, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots such as the door and roof pillars or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car like bushes, fences, and bridges.

"Drivers should always assume motorcyclists are closer than they appear. Their speed and distance are difficult to judge, especially at intersections. Look twice before turning right or left, crossing junctions and when changing lanes.”

"Any motorcyclist will tell you of a near miss encounter or collision they’ve had with a car or van where that driver said the immortal words ‘Sorry, I just didn’t see you’. So, drivers, expect to meet motorcyclists on your journey, concentrate on observing the road and don’t get distracted.”

Photo by Gavan Becton