AQW 25692/11-15

Mr Daithí McKay
Sinn Féin
North Antrim

Tabled Date: 13/09/2013
Answered On Date: 26/09/2013
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of the Environment how many adverts his Department has commissioned, and plans to commission, to raise awareness of cyclist safety among motorists.

My Department has a statutory duty to promote road safety and, within the context of the Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy, does this through a wide range of road safety education activities, including road safety public information campaigns and education programmes.
Drivers are responsible for the majority of collisions, with the main causes being speeding, drink driving and inattention on our roads. Changing the attitudes and behaviours of drivers is therefore the most effective way of protecting all road users and our campaigns concentrate on changing such behaviours.
In October 2011, the Department launched the ‘Be Cycle Aware’ campaign, comprising of three advertisements; two of which are radio advertisements and the third a bus rear advertisement. This three-fold campaign reminds drivers and cyclists alike to pay attention when sharing the road. The first radio ad targets drivers as they travel in their vehicle during daytime hours when they would be expected to share the road with cyclists. The second targets cyclists, reminding them of their vulnerability and the need to pay attention. Likewise, the bus rear advertising reinforces this message as it alerts cyclists to be aware of their vulnerability as they share the road with many different vehicles. The radio campaign is on air at regular intervals as part of the Department’s road safety radio activity and the bus rear campaign is also currently running.
In May 2012, a campaign was launched to encourage road users to ‘respect everyone’s journey’. The important safety messages to drivers will benefit all vulnerable road user groups, including cyclists.
In September 2012, a campaign was launched, focusing on wider road user responsibility, urging all road users to take responsibility for their actions on the road. The television, press and online campaign includes an injured cyclist saying “I was cycling in the bike lane. The driver said the sun was in his eyes.”
A further campaign, launched on 24 April 2013, invites everyone to ‘Share the Road to Zero’. This is aimed at all road user groups – cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, drivers and passengers and, indeed, focuses heavily on cyclists in the opening scenes. The aim is to get every road user to take personal responsibility for helping to prevent deaths on Northern Ireland’s roads. The social media aspect of this campaign provides appropriately targeted road safety messages to subscribers, including cyclists. This can be found at
Between 2008 and 2012, six cyclists died on our roads. So far this year three cyclists have died. In 2012, 55 cyclists were seriously injured, an increase from 36 in 2003. The rate of Pedal Cyclist deaths and serious injuries per 100 million kilometers cycled in 2011, the latest figures available, was 77, an increase of 28% on the 2004-2008 baseline of 60.
Given a rise in cyclist casualties, the Department is currently analysing available data and has commissioned qualitative research to help inform consideration of potential new educational activity around cyclist safety.
I recognise the continuing challenges of reducing casualties on our roads, and will take forward further actions as appropriate from this analysis and research.