Fingal County Council Acts to Help Make its Fleet Safer and back MPDL campaign

by Sylvia Pownall
MPDL campaigner Neil Fox's sister Donna was killed when she was knocked off her bike as she cycled to work

Fingal County Council has added warning signs to the back of its 70-vehicle fleet in a move to back the minimum passing distance law (MPDL) campaign.

The local authority also installed road safety signs along six routes after consulting with cycling clubs on the issue.

The road safety division within the council has also backed a campaign for a MPDL, requiring motorists to pass cyclists at 1m clearance on 50kmh roads and 1.5m on faster roads, to be introduced.

The move was welcomed by MPDL campaigner Neil Fox from Balbriggan, whose sister Donna was killed when she was knocked off her bike as she cycled to work.

He told Dublin Gazette: “It is great news that Fingal County Council is backing the MPDL. Naturally as Donna was from Fingal it has extra significance for me as a campaigner for this law.”

Urging people to lobby TDs and senators to back it, he added: “To me it is a no-brainer. The task however is to convince enough members of the Oireachtas now to allow the bill to pass the vote on February 28.

“A duty of care is owed to all vulnerable road users by the state and it is time to not merely reflect on our attitudes but to act decisively.

“I am motivated by the loss of my beautiful sister 17 months ago. The shock and grief make me want to highlight how fragile life is; in a moment a life can just be gone, and so many others torn asunder.”

MPDLs already exist in 42 jurisdictions including many states in Australia and the US, and councils in Wexford, Mayo, Kerry, Sligo and Donegal have erected signs cautioning drivers to overtake safely on popular cycling routes.

Pressure has been increasing on the Government after figures from the Road Safety Authority showed that cyclist road deaths doubled last year.

Senior safety officer with the council’s road unit Niamh Russell said: “Many of our councillors are avid cyclists and Fingal has a lot of rural roads that stretch into scenic areas, so improving safety in these areas has been a priority for a while.

“I am a cyclist and a motorist so I hear the arguments both sides have put forward about the need to be aware of others on the road.”

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