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Environment : Road Safety Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Don’t shoot cyclists -Give Them Space
By Noel Gibbons
7, May 2016 - 09:19

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Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has said cyclists should be "taken out and shot" - but one of Ireland's elite Paralympic athletes doesn't agree and he has teamed up with the road safety office of Mayo County Councils to produce an awareness clip ( to highlight the importance of giving cyclist a safe distance when overtaking with a minimum distance of 1.5m.

If people of the same view really put some thought into it, they may realise the more cyclists there are, the fewer cars on the road, the faster their commute, less pollution and a healthier population. For 99% of the time, a cyclist's journey is uneventful. Most people seem happy to accommodate the cyclist, a bike and their car. There's always the minority who overtake in inappropriate places or at inappropriate times and in inappropriate ways.

Members of the general public were interviewed on what distance a driver should give when over taking a cyclist , with some surprising results. The clips provides the feeling for a cyclist as vehicles whizz by at speed just inches away from them.

Mr Jerry Toweys own story is on a Sunday night in November 1990, Jerry Towey found himself lying on a road in Foxford being told to keep his helmet on and ‘don't look at your leg'.

He had crashed his motorbike. Three weeks later his leg was amputated just below his knee, due to an infection and the extent of the injury.

Six months later, he walked out of the National Rehabilitation Clinic in Dún Laoghaire with a prosthetic leg.

When talking about the harsh reality of people losing limbs and becoming seriously injured in road traffic accidents, Jerry doesn't go into gory details. He simply says: ‘It's the same wards, but different faces in the beds'.

"It's the same stories. Late for a match, picking up the girlfriend. It's always the same story," says Jerry. He sees young men in the Dún Laoghaire clinic every time he attends for prosthetic appointments.

"You can't tell young lads, you just can't. The reality was, there was six or seven lads in the Kilmovee area like me. It just happened that I was next for shaving. The next few generations there were lads up for shaving and they got it as well," says the straight-talking Kilmovee man.

In July 2013 ,Jerry found himself lying on that cold tarmac once more. He was hit by a car while out cycling in preparation for two events, the World Para-Cycling Championships in Canada and the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup, but Jerry is not one to give up . He is now putting his efforts to promote road safety and continuing to train for Rio.

Noel Gibbons road safety officer said "Driving can be a stressful and challenging experience but with cyclists in the mix extra tensions can arise. Equally, cyclists are very vulnerable and the road can be a scary place if you don't have the protective shell of a car body. That is why encouraging mutual respect and appreciation between car and bike users through this campaign is so important." The campaign reminds motorists to overtake cyclists with care and give at least 1.5m space between the vehicle and cyclist,we want to encourage more people to use the bike as a means of transport and for exercise."

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