DONEGAL Gardai launched their biggest road safety blitz of the year today and urged motorcyclists and motorists to slow down this May Bank Holiday weekend.
Traffic Inspector for Donegal, Michael Harrison, said that the intense campaign would continue through the Bank Holiday weekend until Tuesday.
Inspector Harrison stressed that there would be a ‘significant increase’ in traffic policing this weekend with a particular emphasis on motorcyclists.
He was speaking after the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, announced there would also be a clampdown on motorists using mobile phones while driving.
At a press conference yesterday, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and Assistant Commissioner John Twomey of the Garda National Traffic Bureau appealed to motorcyclists to drive responsibly and to take precautions.
Inspector Harrison said that, nationally, there had been a sharp increase in deaths of motorcyclists last year. However, there were no recorded deaths in Donegal.
An analysis of motorcycle deaths last year by Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority identified four main factors behind the deaths:
– A motorcyclist overtaking a vehicle turning right, resulting in the motorcyclist colliding with the side of the turning vehicle;
– A motorcyclist, in the act of overtaking, colliding head-on with an oncoming vehicle;
– A motorcyclist losing control while cornering and crossing into the path of an oncoming vehicle or colliding with a pole or wall on the other side of the road;
– A driver failing to see a motorcyclist when turning, driving through a junction, or joining a main road from a minor road and colliding with the motorcyclist.
The analysis said that, in 16 of the 22 deaths in 2013 where the addresses were recorded, the motorcyclist was familiar with the local area.
“Also, in the majority of cases the weather was dry; the road surface was also dry; and the conditions were daylight with good visibility,” he said.
Insp Harrison also appealed to motorists to slow down and take their time on what he described as one of the busiest weekend of the year on our roads.
Significant extra volumes of traffic are expected, as people move throughout the county over the long weekend.
Gardaí are appealing to all those who use our roads to be vigilant and to keep safety at the front of their minds at all times.
All road users are encouraged to report any incidents of dangerous or reckless driving to Traffic Watch on 1890 205 805.
DECLAN BONNER will look to collect the first piece of silverware from his second tenure in charge of Donegal.