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Lowest Road Deaths

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The Department of The Environment (DOE) reports that the number of people killed on Northern Ireland's roads last year was the lowest since records began in 1931.

The figures reported show the number of people killed in accidents in NI fell from 115 in 2009 to 55 in 2010, representing a 50% fall in fatalities and a 20% reduction in serious injuries. Of the 55 people killed in 2010, 10 were pedestrians, 10 on motorcycles and the rest in other vehicles.

Regarding motorcycling, Right To Ride reports based on figures provided that there has been a 60% reduction in motorcycle fatalities since 2004 (24) and 2010 (8 + 2 pillion).

The Environment Minister Edwin Poots said the 50% reduction in fatalities was welcome, but warned against complacency.

"We cannot dwell on our achievements and we cannot be satisfied by 55 deaths and hundreds of seriously injured people. Even one life is one too many. There is a greater prize to be had - zero road casualties," he said.

A number of reasons have been put forward by PSNI spokespersons and Road Safety organisations which include:

  • The recession and bad weather - less traffic on the road.
  • People are a lot more careful.
  • Higher cost of fuel - people use other means of transport which is more cost-effective - made people slow down.
  • Road safety mechanisms in cars such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), air bags, better design of cars and increased wearing of seatbelts - people were surviving accidents at 60mph when previously they were dying.
  • Increased, focused and structured advertising campaigns throughout the year.
  • PSNI - robustly targeting dangerous and inappropriate driving.

These explanations all combined may be a reason for the overall reduction for all vehicles and motorcyclists.  

Our own thoughts at Right To Ride are that the local communities especially in rural areas, have become more involved in dialogue with drivers and riders.  Engagement through local safety events with all agencies delivering face to face safety messages through 2010 especially to young people, have, in our opinion, had a far greater effect than the sporadic shock, horror ads on TV.

For motorcycling there are initiatives such as the PSNI Bikesafe scheme with its basic assessment of rider skills.  Ride It Right, a road safety initiative by riders for riders with the support of the UnLtd Road Safety Challenge programme, funded by the DOE.  

Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird said, “There does not seem to be a “silver bullet” to explain the reduction of motorcyclists killed on our roads, we can only guess at the reasons and hope this reduction in fatalities continues.  Our aim is continue to promote responsible motorcycling and the pleasure that this form of transport offers, whether riders use their motorcycles purely for leisure or in combination with rural and urban commuting.”

For information, links and details of the UnLtd Road Safety Challenge Programme Award Winners visit the Right To Ride website

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