The number of cycle accidents is far worse than previously thought, according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and transport consultant Conor Faughnan.
According to figures presented by the RSA, the number of injuries sustained in road crashes reported by hospitals is almost twice the level of accidents reported by An Garda Síochána.
There were 15,677 road traffic collisions according to hospital statistics, compared to 8,977 incidents recorded by An Garda Síochána.
Mr Faughnan told The Pat Kenny Show the misrepresentation of figures has the biggest impact on cyclists.
“When a cyclist has a crash and there’s no other vehicle involved, because there’s no insurance and no reason for Gardaí to follow up, the cyclist will call an ambulance, go to hospital and never show up on our road safety data,” he said.
“This tends to happen overnight, tends to happen on weekends, and tends to be overwhelmingly male.”
In 2020, for example, Gardaí recorded 248 lone-cyclist accidents, compared to 755 serious injuries involving cyclists in hospitals.
Mr Faughnan said this could mean cyclists need to be more careful – but it could also mean local authorities need to improve cycle tracks.
“They may have to look at how well cycle tracks are illuminated at night, they have may to look for curves and obstacles, and they may know see any of this,” he said.
“You certainly have to look at infrastructure.”
The RSA and Government can’t create new policies to improve road safety without the full picture, according to Mr Faughnan.
“There’s distinct cohort of road accidents and we’re just plain missing them,” he said.
“We see a pattern of males at weekends – that's worthy of analysis.”
Mr Faughnan said the lack of data is not the fault of Gardaí.
“Gardaí are following a fairly simple format,” he said.
“If a Garda faithfully fills out and submits it, it’s not their fault the hospital subsequently knows that was a much more serious injury.
“We need to marry up hospital data with Garda data.”
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