Tale Of Two Forums

stomont2a-250Yesterday Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird attended a Road Safety Forum meeting at the Stormont Parliamentary Buildings.

The forum is attended by a range of stakeholders representing road users, from the volunteer section to government and non-government agencies and a few others with an interest in road safety.

The forum is chaired by Department of the Environment Minister Mark H Durkin – the DOE has the responsibility for road safety – and meets on a regular basis.

This forum meets to discuss any ongoing issues that would otherwise be dealt/discussed in isolation without any input from those outside government departments.

We cannot go into the discussions due to confidentiality, but we can inform our readers about the presence of this group that motorcycling has a place at the table that there is interaction with “government” not just on general road safety, but also with a specific Motorcycle Road Safety Forum that also meets regularly.

This Motorcycle Forum brings together various stakeholders interested in motorcycling issues including representatives of riders such as Right To Ride, the British Motorcyclists Federation – BMF and the Motorcycle Action Group – MAG, giving the riders voice a balanced approach, that perhaps is not present anywhere else.

Yesterday’s Road Safety Forum saw a presentation on the course for Drink Drive Offenders, progress on the Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy implementation and current challenges as regards to the increase in road fatalities. Other information provide was current statistics – progress on strategy targets and action measures. Further analysis / activity required – presentation on LGV / cycle safety / training and the forthcoming Belfast Public Bike Share Scheme.

Early Review

250 An early review of the analysis of road statistics from the DOE suggests that higher levels of motorcycle casualties occur at weekends, something that we have gleaned from other public reports and that around half of the motorcyclist casualties are deemed to be the responsibility of the motorcyclist and around half to be the responsibility of other road users.

The number of young motorcyclist casualties is decreasing, whilst the number of older casualties is increasing.

The DOE also says that “Given that increasing numbers of the motorcyclist casualties are older riders, this may be an area where further training and education could be targeted.” What that training and education would be has not been clarified, nor in what manner it would be delivered.

Meanwhile from the recent (October) Motorcycle Safety Forum, the delivery of a Motorcycling Safety Strategy and the commissioned statistical review of motorcycle casualties were on the agenda.

This review, ”Motorcyclist Casualty Research Brief”, includes the consideration of demographics, location and causation factors to allow the DOE to determine early areas of intervention to address casualty levels.

Meanwhile I was asked my opinion about motorcycle road safety and what aspects of this we thought could be relevant in road safety media advertising, the makeup and “structure” of the motorcycle community and what the issues are for motorcyclists.

This included meeting up with a research company up in Belfast. Their researcher wrote copiously down as I poured out my opinions. On a cold chilly day the £50 for my troubles will pay for the maintenance of the Right To Ride website for a year.

Elaine and I have now joined MAG Ireland, the Irish Riders Association – as a result of passing though Dublin last week and meeting up with some of the board of MAG Ireland.

So that’s at least one of us here at Right To Ride a member of the BMF and MAG – UK rider groups with representative regions here in Northern Ireland, this came just at the right time as MAG Ireland have just reduced their membership from 25 euros to 20 euros.

As that store says, “Every little helps”

Reportage

magirelandmembership-250This latest reportage is to let riders out there know that in the background there is a lot going on regarding motorcycling and that engagement in circles which is usually not discussed, does occur and we will keep reporting to you what is going on.

All of this is completely separate but keeping an eye on what is happening in the rest of the UK!

As we reported last week, it would appear that there is no money left in the coffers of the DOE (Department of the Environment) for Road Safety or any money in fact for anything in Northern Ireland from Policing to Bus Services to Health because of the (without getting too involved), political impasse at Stormont.

The DOE has launched a “Department of the Environment Consultation on 2015-16 Draft Budget Proposals” which details the effects that are predicted on the money available for road safety and other drastic cuts to other service provisions that are the responsibility of the DOE.

Apart from the worrying sounds of political implosion in Northern Ireland, let’s hope that the Northern Ireland Motorcycling Safety Strategy currently under way by the DOE and the stakeholders group remains on track.

We as riders need to remain engaged, after all it is our life style that we are talking about and it is better to be involved with Ministers and the civil servants.

Information & Links

The consultation document is available from the Right To Ride page – “No Dosh For Road Safety” – Click Here

MAG Ireland – On Facebook

www.magireland.org

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  1. Environment Minister today- 9th December – made an impassioned plea for road users to take extra care over the Christmas period

    Mark H Durkan made his comments after engaging with stakeholders at a meeting of the Road Safety Forum at Stormont yesterday.

    The Forum discussed the rise in road deaths and the need for everyone to be particularly vigilant on the roads, especially during December which has seen high levels of road deaths in previous years.

    Mark H Durkan said “The Christmas party season is now well under way, but this is a time when the nights are at their darkest and visibility poorest for drivers, riders and pedestrians, increasing the danger as we use the roads. So please take steps to increase your visibility for fellow road users. I want everyone to enjoy Christmas and New Year but I want them to do it safely.

    “Already this year, there will be 75 empty places at dinner tables this Christmas due to road deaths. Let us all do our best to make sure there are no more.

    “I implore everyone to pay attention, slow down, wear your seatbelt and avoid driving when over-tired or if drink or drugs have been consumed.

    “It can be tempting to take an unplanned drink, particularly at Christmas parties and consider driving home. However, even small amounts of alcohol impair driving. Leave the car at home and use a taxi, bus, train or a designated driver who can enjoy complimentary soft drinks under Coca Cola’s Christmas road safety campaign.

    “You may still be over the limit in the morning, so if you have to get to work, the shops or drop children to school the next morning, do not take a chance – make other arrangements.

    “One poor decision on the roads can change lives forever.

    Original Source – Click Here