Road Safety Forum

Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird attended the special Road Safety Forum on Wednesday, 14th September, convened by Environment Minister (DOE) Alex Attwood, to highlight initiatives he wants to introduce to reduce road casualties.

The meeting brought together representatives of the emergency services and a range of organisations with an interest in road safety and transport, younger and older people’s groups, insurers and Right To Ride as motorcyclists.

Minister Attwood said: “I am keen to share my views and listen to people, who, like me, wish to see swift action to further reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads. In recent years much has been achieved but more remains to be done”.

Adding, “I want to engage with stakeholders to hear from them how we might improve personal responsibility, driving standards and compliance with road traffic laws and the Highway Code. I also want to hear how we can get communities and businesses more involved in tackling road safety issues”.

The issues brought up at the meeting were not just picked out of the air but have been included in the DOE’s consultation regarding the published new Road Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland and the, “Proposed Changes to the Learner and Restricted Driver Schemes and on Graduated Driver Licensing.”

The minister also highlighted the main issues to be tackled, “impairment, carelessness and speed. I am finalising plans for major new initiatives which will include reducing the drink drive limit and increasing the 45 mph speed restriction on learner and restricted drivers. I want to see new drivers being fit to drive at speeds used by fellow road users and the mutual recognition of penalty points for offences committed in the north or south.

I am working with my counterpart in Dublin, Minister Varadkar TD, to address these and other road safety issues across the island. We face the same challenges, with many of the same road users travelling north and south, and it makes sense for us to work together to identify and implement solutions”

Although the main focus of the meeting was on these issues, Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird was able to explain that motorcyclists and the motorcycle community are in the main, safety conscious and mentioned the motorcycle safety initiative – Ride It Right – as well as within the Road Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland, the setting up of a motorcycle safety forum. This would include the possibility of a motorcycle safety strategy for Northern Ireland of which initial meetings have taken place with officials.

However there seemed to be a mutual agreement with representatives at the meeting that we must not be complacent regarding any advances in road safety and reductions in casualties and that interested parties must work together.  A key factor was education and engagement with all sections of road users.

In previous statements the minister has said regarding motorcycling that: “Biking can be a great experience but, ridden inappropriately, a motorcycle becomes a lethal weapon.

“Be under no illusion, drivers and motorcyclists alike, on the road: speed kills and wrecks lives. Bikers have a responsibility to ride their bikes in a proper and safe manner. So please bike safely.”

At Right To Ride, our view is that motorcycling is all about personal freedom, whether used for leisure or commuting, but freedom comes with responsibility and a realisation of our own mortality.

In concluding, the Minister said: “All road deaths are unacceptable and many could be avoided with a better understanding of the road environment and how to share it with others. Everyone has a role to play and everyone should be committed to doing what they can to make a difference.”

Information

View the report from UTV includes a video report – Click Here or below.

10 seconds in – Who’s that sitting beside Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird – It’s the Minister Alex Attwood!

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