While young children and teenagers are learning from home during the COVID-19 schools closure periods, why not add road safety and cycle safety to your list of learning tools and tutorials at home. Even teaching your kids the very basis of the ‘Safe Cross Code’ can help save a life.
Below are some useful posters and guidelines which you can teach children about on how to cross a road safely, using traffic signals, cycling safely and travelling in a vehicle safely. You can discuss these topics with your child and explain the reasons why these safety mechanisms are in place and why we all need to be extra careful while using the roads.
KCC - Travelling Safely
KCC - Cycling Safely
KCC - Using Zebra Crossings
KCC - Using a Pelican Crossing
KCC - Crossing at Traffic Islands
KCC - Crossing between parked cars
KCC - School goers guide to road safety
The Road Safety, Cycling and Sustainable Transport Officer (RCSTO) is responsible for the delivery of the council’s role and responisbilities under three categories:
Road Safety, Cycling and also Sustainable Transport. While a broader outline of each section of the role is listed on the menus on the left, below is a brief synopsis of the role and responsibilities of the RCSTO.
Road Safety –
School Warden Service (Management, Training, Safety, PPE and Payroll)
Preparing, promoting and assisting in the implementation of the Road Safety Plan
Liaising with RSA, LARSO, AGS and other Stakeholders
Initiating and promoting road safety campaigns and projects
Deliver road safety education in schools and throughout the community
Organise and deliver annual AXA Road Safety Roadshow for TY/LCA & Youth Groups
Promote safer cycling and cycle awareness
Service and support the Kildare Cycle Forum
Arrange and provide Cycle Training at schools
Assess schools and students in cycle proficiency and knowledge
Organise cycleways and greenways promotional events
Organise and promote annual Bike Week events
Sustainable Transport –
Support Mobility Management Initiatives and other initiatives which support greater use of walking, cycling and public transport.
Promote current Greenways and Blueways
Prepare grant funding applications for new Greenway and Blueway schemes
Promote Active Travel and Smarter Travel initiatives
Liaise with Kildare Fáilte, Kildare Tourism, Schools Network and other stakeholders to promote and support Green & Blueway tours and water based events and activities.
Organise and promote annual EU Mobility Week events in Kildare and co-ordinate sustainable transport initiatives during EU Mobility Week and other related EU, National, regional, and local events as required.
Support the Kildare Regional Climate Action Office in sustainable transport initiatives
Any other such other duties that may be assigned from time to time
Is Your Journey Absolutely Necessary?
In extreme weather conditions you should ask yourself if making a journey by road is absolutely necessary. You might consider delaying your trip until the weather and road conditions improve or use public transport where available. If your journey is unavoidable you should be prepared. Ensure your vehicle has a more than adequate supply of fuel for the journey. Allow extra time and drive with caution. Let someone know your route and when you expect to arrive. Check to see if there are any problems on your intended route before setting out on a journey. Listen to TV or radio bulletins and check the weather forecast. Remember that the best road conditions are likely to occur between 10am and 4pm.
Is Your Vehicle Winter-Ready?
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual and find out if it has any safety assist technology e.g. ABS
- Get your vehicle serviced to ensure it is fit and safe
- Carry out regular checks on the vehicle
- Check for wear and tear on wiper blades and replace them as soon as they start to smear rather than clean windows
- Keep tyre pressure at the manufacturer's recommended level
- Replace tyres if necessary - check your tyre tread depth - the minimum legal limit is 1.6mm, however, for winter driving 3mm is advised
- Make sure all vehicle lights are working and clean
- Ensure the vehicle has adequate levels of anti-freeze coolant and screen wash
- Check your vehicle battery
In prolonged icy or snowy driving conditions it is advisable to carry a fully charged mobile phone and have the following in the boot of the car:
- High Visibility Vest
- Tow rope
- A shovel
- Appropriate footwear in case you have to leave your vehicle
- A hazard warning triangle
- De-icing equipment (Both for glass and door locks)
- First aid kit
- A fire extinguisher
- A torch
- A car blanket, additional clothing & some food and water (for long journeys)
- Consider carrying some salt or sand
Motoring Tips in Snow and Ice
- Clear your windows, mirrors and lights before you set out – do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass
- Ensure your vehicle is clear of snow including the roof
- Have sunglasses in the car
- Visibility may be reduced. However, do not hang on to the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you
- Use your dipped headlights and fog lights
- Manoeuvre gently, too much steering is bad
- Slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front
- When you slow down, use your brakes gently so that the brake lights warn drivers behind you
- Avoid harsh braking and acceleration
- Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends
- If your car has rear wheel drive the addition of extra weight in the boot will help your wheels to grip
- Be careful on compacted snow – it may have turned to ice
- Watch out for black ice especially in sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees, under or on bridges and adjacent to high walls
If your vehicle begins to skid you should:
- Identify the cause – it is either; too much braking, too much steering, too much acceleration or a combination of these.
- Remove the cause – gently and smoothly
- Avoid over-correction with too much steering, be ready for a secondary skid in the opposite direction
- Cars have different braking systems.
Motoring Tips in Strong Wind
- Slow down and increase the distance from the vehicle in front
- If driving a high-sided vehicle be prepared, when approaching exposed
- sections of roadway, for the impact of the wind on the steering dynamics of the vehicle
- Avoid overtaking manoeuvres on such exposed sections
- When passing motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians be prepared in case the wind blows them into your path
- Be alert to the possibility of flying debris and fallen trees
- If you have to stop for any reason use your hazard warning lights to warn other drivers
Motoring Tips in Severe Flooding
- Slow down - do not drive at speed into floodwater – there may be a
- pothole or debris concealed in the water or your vehicle may aquaplane leading to loss of control
- Before you drive through floodwater ascertain how deep the water is to ensure your vehicle can get through safely
- In rain and when visibility is poor drivers should use dipped headlights
- Keep a sharp lookout for pedestrians, cyclists etc and avoid spraying or swamping them
- If you have to stop, activate your hazard warning lights
Motoring Tips in Fog
- Slow down and increase the distance from the vehicle in front
- Use dipped headlights and front and rear fog lights, if fitted
- Remember to switch off fog lights when visibility improves
- Keep a sharp lookout for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists
- Do not blindly follow the vehicle in front – it may leave the road for whatever reason
- If you have to stop, activate your hazard warning lights
Advice to Pedestrians
- If a journey cannot be avoided, be extremely careful as snow and ice can make walking on footpaths very dangerous
- Wear sturdy footwear - insulated and waterproof with good gripping soles
- Be careful when walking on compacted snow – it may have turned to ice
- Take an extra look before you cross the road and do not attempt to cross if there are vehicles approaching – remember snow and ice increases the distance that vehicles need to stop
- Be Seen to Be Safe! Visibility is reduced in poor weather conditions so wear high visibility clothing or carry a torch. As children often journey to school in the dark, make sure your child can be seen
- Be extremely careful in the vicinity of open water, canals, lakes, ponds or coastal piers etc
- Never walk on frozen waterways
- In order to protect yourself if you fall, avoid walking with your hands in your pockets
Advice to Motorcyclists / Cyclists
- Consider your safety first - controlling two-wheeled vehicles in snow or icy conditions can be extremely difficult and there is an increased danger of a collision with a vehicle that is out of control
- Consider taking alternative transport or walking
With the increase in people out walking, jogging or cycling on local roads, ‘sun glare’ can cause vision impairment issues for some motorists, which in turn can pose a risk to those using the road. Sun glare in some areas can prevent a person from being visible to drivers and all too often, motorists who encounter a person unexpectedly on the side of a road may have to break hard or swerve to avoid them.
Using sunglasses is always a good start in combating the effect of sun glare.
Kildare County Council is reminding people who use the road to be more aware of their environment and the roads they are using and be mindful of any sun glare spots which may cause a shadow and sometimes ‘hide’ the person, resulting in some motorists having to take evasion action.
Declan Keogh, Road Safety, Cycling and Sustainable Transport Officer said: “Everyone is taking advantage of quieter roads and local roads so they can exercise within their 5km radius, however, these are areas where people may not be too familiar with for their walks or a cycle which also means they may not be fully aware of the risks associated with those roads. Continue exercising, but be mindful that sun glare spots may occur, which can basically hide your presence on the road, so just be mindful of your surrounding and listen out for approaching vehicles and take action to avoid any incidents.”
The following are guidelines for drivers to combat sun glare:
- Use polarized sunglasses that can help prevent glare.
- Delay driving times to occur before or after sunrise or sunset.
- Don’t use high-gloss products on the dashboard, which can contribute to extra glare.
- Keep the inside and outside of the windshield clean.
- Make use of sun visors.
- If glare is a problem, leave extra space between your car and others in the event of sudden stopping or other road hazards.
- Drive slowly and be mindful of obstructions.
- Try taking another route that goes in a different direction than the one from which the sun is shining.
- Leave extra time so that you don’t feel rushed getting to your destination.
- Eye exams or surgery can make eyes more sensitive to the sunlight. Avoid driving after these appointments.
- Be aware of your surroundings and look at the road from a driver’s perspective
- If there is no footpath, walk on the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic
- Step in off the road to avoid approaching vehicles
- Increase your visibility by wearing a high visibility or reflective jacket or vest, even in daylight hours.
- Again, be aware of your surroundings
- Considering the distance drivers must allow to pass a cyclist, always be aware that not all motorists may see you
- Be more alert for approaching vehicles and prepare to pull in off the road if it is necessary
- Being more visible to other road users is essential, even in daylight hours. You could wear a high visibility, illuminous or reflective garment to become more visible to others.
- If cycling in groups, please bear in mind the width of the road and allow space for other vehicles to overtake or pass.
Kildare’s Christmas Road Safety campaign continues until 5th January 2021. The Kildare Garda Roads Policing Unit is engaging in Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints at various locations across County Kildare. The checkpoints will operate around the clock.
While traffic volumes have reduced by 70% at times during this year, there has been a 133% increase in detections for drug driving. The Kildare Joint Policing Committee and the Kildare Road Safety Working Group are appealing to road users to be responsible and use the roads safely and wisely over the festive season.
Inspector Tony Connaughton of the Naas District said gardaí can stop a motorist randomly at a checkpoint and test them for an intoxicant. If the driver proves positive for alcohol or drugs, they can be arrested and brought to the local garda station for processing.
“When a driver is detected at a testing checkpoint, we can stop a motorist randomly driving through. To test for alcohol, we can do a breath test and to test for the presence of drugs we will do an oral fluid test.” If the person proves positive for either of those tests, they will be arrested and brought to the local garda station where a specimen will be provided. If the specimen comes back positive and above the thresholds set out, that person will be prosecuted and on conviction in the District Court they will receive a disqualification from driving and a criminal conviction, all of which may lead to issues of employment or future travel plans for that person.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not just illegal and dangerous, it can also lead to other consequences for many other people. If people are involved in a collision, because of the actions of an impaired driver, those peoples’ lives are affected also.
Kildare’s Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh is appealing to people to drivers to be safe and sober while driving and for passengers to also be aware of the drivers’ actions. “We’re asking drivers to be safe and sober of any alcohol or drugs while driving, and for any other person who is getting into a vehicle with a driver, that they themselves know that the driver is safe and sober of alcohol or drugs, and above all for every single person in the vehicle to wear their seatbelt and for the driver to drive within the speed limit.”
Pedestrians and cyclist are also reminded to become more visible and alert while using the roads.
New Ten-Year Government Road Safety Strategy Launched – first step to ‘Vision Zero’
Minister of State in the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD has today launched Ireland’s fifth Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030.
The primary aim of the government’s new road safety strategy is to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by 50% over the next 10 years. This means reducing deaths on Ireland’s roads annually from 144 to 72 or lower and reducing serious injuries from 1,259 to 630 or lower by 2030.
The Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 will be delivered in three phases. Phase 1 which runs from 2021 to 2024 is backed by a projected €3.8bn investment and includes 50 high-impact actions and 136 support actions.
The strategy is the first step in achieving the 2020 Programme for Government commitment of bringing Ireland to ‘Vision Zero’. This is to eliminate all road deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by the year 2050. The Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 builds on the progress made during the last road safety strategy which saw Ireland achieve the lowest number of annual road deaths since records began and the second lowest rate of road deaths in the EU in 2019.
Speaking at the launch of the strategy, Minister for State in the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, T.D., said, “At the heart of this Road Safety Strategy is change. How we use our roads is changing. So how we understand and think about road safety needs to change. We must adjust our attitudes and behaviours to take account of the fact that no one form of transport takes primacy over another. Each and every road user is entitled to use our roads and not have their safety or life put at risk due to others’ dangerous behaviour. This Road Safety Strategy sets out the steps we need to take to reduce deaths and serious injuries by half over the next decade and provides the metrics that will measure our progress. However, the core of the strategy is not about words or numbers on a page, but about saving lives and preventing injuries. It is about people. This strategy is for all those who use our roads, and who have the right to do so safely.”
Commenting on the strategy, Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, T.D., said, “This strategy will be the first stage on our journey to achieving Vision Zero, that is no road deaths or serious injuries by 2050. It is ambitious. That is why we have set a target of reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries by half by 2030. This strategy prioritises the safety of those who are most vulnerable, ensuring their right to travel the roads safely is protected. It also recognises that road safety policy does not exist in a vacuum; it must reflect wider societal change and social needs. Concerns about climate change and the need to change our behaviour are being reflected in increased growth in active travel across Ireland. We need to encourage more people to use sustainable forms of transport, e.g., cycling, walking and using public transport, and this must be supported in our strategic thinking around road safety.”
RSA Chairperson, Liz O’Donnell, said, “Ireland has made significant progress over the lifetime of previous road safety strategies. Since the launch of the first ever Road Safety Strategy in 1998, road deaths have declined by almost 70%. Reducing road deaths and serious injuries by 50% over the next decade is achievable. Vision Zero by 2050 is achievable. We can do it. Given our road safety journey to date, no target is too ambitious for us. Every day, every weekend, every week without a road death or serious injury in your community is Vision Zero in action. The starting point is recognising that road deaths or serious injuries should not be the price to pay for our mobility.”
RSA Chief Executive, Sam Waide, added, “The new government Road Safety Strategy has been developed in line with international best practice, and in collaboration with government departments and agencies, including stakeholders involved in the delivery of road safety actions and those who have an interest in the area. The public have had their say too. We carried out a public consultation process in the development of this strategy and received over 2,000 submissions. We can truly say that the public have shaped how we will be addressing road safety over the next decade. But we will need every road user and delivery partners to play their part in achieving our target of reducing road deaths and serious injuries by 50% by 2030. This Road Safety Strategy commits to reducing road trauma through focused, measurable actions, deeper existing partnerships, new partnerships & collaboration, transformation and stronger governance. We are determined to deliver on these goals.”
The 2021-2030 government Road Safety Strategy will feature three phases:
Phase 2 Action Plan: 2025-2027 and
Phase 3 Action Plan: 2028-2030.
The Phase 1 Action Plan (2021-2024) which has been published alongside the ten-year strategy document, includes 50 high-impact actions - those that will have a direct impact on the reduction of deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads. Some high-impact actions include:
- Establish a working group to examine and review the framework for the setting of speed limits. As part of this review there will be a specific consideration of the introduction of a 30km/h default speed limit in urban areas.
- Expand speed management measures on National, Regional and Local roads using Periodic Speed Limits at schools, Vehicle Activated Signs and Average Speed Cameras in collaboration with An Garda Síochána at appropriate high-risk locations.
- Review the operation of the mobile safety camera system to maximise its effectiveness in detecting road traffic offences
- Explore the potential of an online portal for road users to upload footage of road traffic offences which could assist in prosecution.
- Review the penalties for serious road traffic offences including the following: impaired driving, speeding, mobile phone use, non-wearing of seat belts, carrying unrestrained children in a vehicle.
- Legislate for increased sanctions for polydrug and drug and alcohol use while driving.
- Over the period 2021 to 2025, 1,000km of segregated walking and cycling facilities will be constructed or under construction on the national, local, and regional road network, to provide safe cycling and walking arrangements for users of all ages.
- Develop and implement a safety rating indicator for national road infrastructure, which will help target investment on sections of national roads with the highest risk of fatal or serious injury.
- Eliminate the incidence of unaccompanied learner permit drivers. Reduce the number of learner car drivers who hold a third or subsequent learner permit from 24.6% to a maximum of 10% by 2024. Legislate to introduce measures to promote taking of the driving test by multiple learner permit holders and consider introducing mandatory driver training for this.
- Prioritise lifesaving technologies associated with General Safety Regulation (GSR) including Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) on cars and direct vision for commercial vehicles.
- Conduct a review of road traffic policy and legislation to prioritise the safety of walking and cycling.
To monitor performance during the first phase of the strategy a number of interim targets have been set to support the overall objective of reducing road deaths and serious injuries by 50% by 2030.
- By 2024, we will reduce deaths on Ireland’s roads by 15% from 144 to 122 or lower.
- By 2024, we will reduce serious injuries on Ireland’s roads by 10% from 1,259 to 1,133 or lower.
The strategy is led by a Safe System approach, which is viewed as best practice globally in the delivery of road safety strategies. The Safe System approach emphasises the shared responsibility amongst those who design, build, manage and use the roads and vehicles to prevent or reduce collision impacts, and those who provide post-crash response to mitigate injury. Ireland’s road safety strategy for the next 10 years will be delivered with a heightened focus on the provision of infrastructure and vehicle safety enhancements, improved road user behaviours and enforcement, and post-crash response.
The action plan for Phase 1 (2021-2024) and the Straitéis na hÉireann maidir le Sábháilteacht ar Bhóithre 2021–2030 / Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 can be found on the Road Safety Authority website.