AQW 26113/11-15

Mr Daithí McKay
Sinn Féin
North Antrim

Tabled Date: 23/09/2013
Answered On Date: 08/10/2013
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister for Regional Development whether he has considered introducing awareness measures for motorists similar to Transport for London's 'look out for cyclists when getting out' campaign.

I would remind the Member that the Department of the Environment 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, which I am highly supportive of. My Department works closely with the Department of the Environment on matters of road safety, including in the Delivery Board for the Road Safety Strategy and on a number of joint activities such as the development of the Cycling Skills and Cycling Safety leaflet.
With regard to awareness measures, the ‘Be Cycle Aware’ campaign, which launched in October 2011 and is still ongoing, comprises radio and rear of bus advertisements reminding drivers and cyclists alike to pay attention when sharing the road.
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’. It 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.
I understand that given a rise in cyclist casualties, the Department of the Environment is currently analysing available data and has commissioned qualitative research to help inform consideration of potential new educational activity around cyclist safety.
As the Member will be aware, I have recently instructed officials in my Department to give increased and focussed priority to the needs of cyclists, to encourage greater participation in this healthy and sustainable form of transport. I have also asked for a new cycling unit to be established, to ensure the effective progress of a range of cycling initiatives.