Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 15 February, 2005

Written Answers - Road Safety.

  136. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport the measures he intends introducing to try to prevent the continued incidence of fatal accidents between cyclists and heavy goods vehicles. [4805/05]

  Mr. Cullen: A disproportionate number of cyclists’ fatalities are through collisions with heavy goods vehicles. Developments at EU level will result in new heavy goods vehicles, HGVs, having to comply with higher standards in relation to the fields of vision of drivers. In November 2003, the EU adopted Directive 2003/97/EC, which provides for an extension of the field of vision to address the issue of blind spots. The directive harmonises the rules relating to the type-approval of devices for indirect vision, including mirrors and camera-monitors, on motor vehicles and of vehicles equipped with these devices. These enhanced requirements should lead to a reduction in fatalities and serious injuries involving pedestrians and cyclists due to the driver’s inadequate field of [1343] vision. The directive requires all new HGVs entering into service from 26 January 2007 to meet the revised standards for field of vision set in the directive.

The Irish Road Haulage Association, IRHA, has a strong commitment to the improvement of road safety and has taken a number of initiatives in recent times to improve safety awareness with regard to the more vulnerable road user such as cyclists and school children.

On a more general basis, the National Safety Council has been mandated with responsibility for road safety advertising and education. The council has developed safe cycling leaflets to promote the use of reflective clothing and safe cycling practices. The council also issues road safety advice through the media on a regular basis and generally refers to the vulnerability of cyclists in order to make both cyclists and drivers aware of the importance of road safety.

  137. Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Transport the number of schools engaged in safe routes to schools programmes; and the budget for these projects in 2005. [4809/05]

  Mr. Cullen: In 2000, an interdepartmental working group, chaired by the Dublin Transportation Office, DTO, was formed consisting of representatives from the Departments of Health and Children, Education and Science and Environment, Heritage and Local Government, National Parents Council, public transport operators and local authorities in order to initiate some pilot safer routes to school schemes in the greater Dublin area. The DTO carried out a review of the pilot programme in 2004 and I am currently awaiting recommendations from the DTO based on the results achieved.

There were initially six schools involved in this pilot programme. Four continue to be actively engaged in the programme. There are a number of other schools engaged in independent schemes, both inside and outside the greater Dublin area.

I am aware that the DTO has received some applications for funding for school safety measures, which are being considered in the context of the overall budget for the traffic management grants scheme administered by the DTO. The steering committee of the DTO is currently finalising the 2005 allocations from this scheme. Whether funding is made available in 2005 for safer routes to schools initiatives is a matter for the DTO steering committee.