Lowest Road Deaths

The Department of The Environment (DOE) reports that the number of people killed on Northern Ireland’s roads last year was the lowest since records began in 1931.

The figures reported show the number of people killed in accidents in NI fell from 115 in 2009 to 55 in 2010, representing a 50% fall in fatalities and a 20% reduction in serious injuries. Of the 55 people killed in 2010, 10 were pedestrians, 10 on motorcycles and the rest in other vehicles.

Regarding motorcycling, Right To Ride reports based on figures provided that there has been a 60% reduction in motorcycle fatalities since 2004 (24) and 2010 (8 + 2 pillion).

The Environment Minister Edwin Poots said the 50% reduction in fatalities was welcome, but warned against complacency.

“We cannot dwell on our achievements and we cannot be satisfied by 55 deaths and hundreds of seriously injured people. Even one life is one too many. There is a greater prize to be had – zero road casualties,” he said.

A number of reasons have been put forward by PSNI spokespersons and Road Safety organisations which include:

  • The recession and bad weather – less traffic on the road.
  • People are a lot more careful.
  • Higher cost of fuel – people use other means of transport which is more cost-effective – made people slow down.
  • Road safety mechanisms in cars such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), air bags, better design of cars and increased wearing of seatbelts – people were surviving accidents at 60mph when previously they were dying.
  • Increased, focused and structured advertising campaigns throughout the year.
  • PSNI – robustly targeting dangerous and inappropriate driving.

These explanations all combined may be a reason for the overall reduction for all vehicles and motorcyclists.

Our own thoughts at Right To Ride are that the local communities especially in rural areas, have become more involved in dialogue with drivers and riders.  Engagement through local safety events with all agencies delivering face to face safety messages through 2010 especially to young people, have, in our opinion, had a far greater effect than the sporadic shock, horror ads on TV.

For motorcycling there are initiatives such as the PSNI Bikesafe scheme with its basic assessment of rider skills.  Ride It Right, a road safety initiative by riders for riders with the support of the UnLtd Road Safety Challenge programme, funded by the DOE.

Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird said, “There does not seem to be a “silver bullet” to explain the reduction of motorcyclists killed on our roads, we can only guess at the reasons and hope this reduction in fatalities continues.  Our aim is continue to promote responsible motorcycling and the pleasure that this form of transport offers, whether riders use their motorcycles purely for leisure or in combination with rural and urban commuting.”


  • 31,156 motorcycles licensed – 2009.
    Mopeds – 2,564
    Scooters – 2,679
    Scooter Combination – 46
    Motorcycle Combination – 21
  • 30% of motorcyclists use their bikes for commuting.
  • 60% reduction in fatalities since 2004 (24) 2010 (8 + 2 pillion).
  • 2nd DLD two part test introduced 2009.
  • CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) Direct Access and register of trainers to be introduced.

UnLtd Road Safety Challenge Programme Award Winners

Ride it Right

Engage with as many motorcyclists as possible, raise awareness of bike safety and encourage the development of good road skills.

Cruise Centre

Provide young people who are interested in driving with advice and training around road safety in a fun and professional environment. A drop-in centre and membership club that provides vehicle maintenance, custom styling, performance tuning and advanced driver training.

Reclaiming the Country Roads

The project will target communities in rural Derry and run workshops and events to highlight the steps people can take to walk and cycle more safely. Community workshops will provide training and high-visibility gear, and they will particularly focus on the elderly and young people.

Live to Play

The ‘Live to Play’ campaign raises awareness at games and in clubs using hard-hitting messages such as, ‘A mistake on the pitch might cost you the game. A mistake on the road can cost you your life’. The programme delivers educational workshops, promote club road safety policies and signposts bereavement support.

Easy Drive

A course to assist young people with a learning disability to pass the theory and hazard perception test, making use of UnLtd Award Winner Diane Hall’s book ‘L of a Way to Pass’. Intensive training available to 20 young people with learning disabilities in the North West

Road Safety for Scooter Users

Create and deliver training on road safety to 61 scooter users and hopes to scale up to reach anyone in the area who has limited mobility. Develop an awareness campaign to inform the general public of the behaviour that can impact on scooter and wheelchair users.

X the TXT

To promote an anti-texting campaign in Northern Ireland. Deliver an interactive, fun, yet hard-hitting campaign to address the increasingly-widespread problem of texting while driving. Deliver workshops and presentations in 30 schools, aimed at 15-18 yr-olds, and a wider public awareness radio campaign.

Triathlon Clothing

Through a keen amateur triathlon athlete in the past sports gear has been used as a vehicle for road safety messages; to broaden this approach to involve a triathlon club. As well as getting the message out to a wide audience, to keep the memory of loved ones alive. The club is keen to put warning slogans about drink driving and excessive speed on club clothing.

University of Ulster Road Safety Campaign

Concerned about the number of student road collisions in Coleraine want to deliver a programme that combines practical and awareness-raising elements of road safety to students. Police, fire and rescue and road safety groups will host a major road safety event on campus early in 2011. Students will also sign up for workshops, after which some will win advanced driving lessons.

Hi-vis Road Safety

School principal in an area where schoolchildren have been involved in sometimes fatal road traffic collisions. Wants to increase uptake of reflective school blazers and improve online child-based road safety resources. By facilitating a teacher to visit other schools and raise awareness of the benefits of the hi-vis blazer he will increase the number of young people in Fermanagh wearing them, thereby making them more visible on the dark and narrow roads.

Road Safety Event

A driving instructor who wants to show young people that being a better skilled driver also means more fun and can lead to job opportunities (e.g. HGV). Planning a road safety event in the grounds at Stormont in partnership with Cool FM and the emergency services and other road users. Intention that this will kick-start a Young Driver of the Year competition next year.

Moving Forward in 2010

Involvement with a local Road Safety Committee for over a decade. This project will work with young men who modify and race cars illegally on the roads, thereby putting themselves and other road users at risk. Mechanics and the PSNI will work with road offenders to demonstrate how to build and modify a car safely and legally. The car and young people will then tour schools to deliver road safety messages

Children’s Road Safety Signs Project

Co-ordinator of a children’s community project in an area where poor and crowded on-street parking, combined with schools, a park and a youth club have led to accidents involving children, despite residents’ attempts to improve driver behaviour. Develop artist-led and children-designed visual safety signs that even non-native English speakers can understand. Talks on road safety and interactive quizzes will reinforce the message.

Young Farmers Club of Ulster Road Safety Campaign

Vice-President of the YFCU who has been motivated by the vulnerability of rural road users to deliver three major road safety events across Northern Ireland and distribute Road Safety packs to every Young Farmers’ Club. Reminder text messages will be sent out over the Christmas holiday period and their annual public speaking competition will also focus on this theme.

Community Multimedia

Multimedia director and designer who has seen family members involved in drug and alcohol-related accidents. To work with youth in North and West Belfast on the dangers of driving while using drugs or alcohol. In partnership with Alternatives and Belfast Local TV, work with young people to create videos and a website and host social network debates.

Beam Creative Network

Manager of Beam Creative Network, a social enterprise in Donaghmore. This road safety project will script, develop, produce and pilot a drama targeted at secondary school children on the theme of road safety, especially in relation to distractions. The production will be piloted in four secondary schools and will be evaluated using focus groups and questionnaires. The long term aim is to develop dramas tailored to suit different age groups.

Don’t Hurt the One you Love

Community Safety Manager with Ballymoney Safety Partnership. Aware of the culture of ‘boy racers’; will deliver the project ‘Don’t hurt the one you love’, an initiative to raise awareness amongst young people of the dangers of anti-social driving. A challenging piece of drama written in collaboration with Cambridgeshire road safety team will be brought to schools, colleges and the general public. This message will be reinforced by a text, Valentine’s Day card and poster campaign and a finale event using various presentations and activities.

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