SUVs pose ‘serious risk to cyclists and pedestrians’ – Motoring expert

“First of all, they are definitely more inefficient.”
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

09.44 16 Jan 2024

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SUVs pose ‘serious risk to cyc...

SUVs pose ‘serious risk to cyclists and pedestrians’ – Motoring expert

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

09.44 16 Jan 2024

Share this article

SUVs pose a “serious risk to pedestrians and cyclists”, a leading motor expert has warned.

On Newstalk Breakfast today, Geraldine Herbert called for the EU to impose new regulations to reduce the number of SUVs on the road.

Yesterday HSE public health Dr Catherine Conlon warned that Ireland must ‘end its love affair with big cars’ if we want to reduce the number of deaths on the road.


In an article for the Irish Examiner, she urged the Government to make it “harder and more expensive to drive cars the size of tanks”.

She was writing after the number of road deaths this year hit ten on Sunday.

Ms Herbert said SUVs have only become an issue over the last decade in Ireland.

“First of all, they are definitely more inefficient,” she said.

“They create more emissions and they do pose a serious risk to pedestrians and cyclists.”

SUV dangers A Land Rover Discovery. Image: Chris Pearsall / Alamy Stock Photo

Ms Herbert said car manufacturers “call everything SUVs” but the real issue lies with brands such as Range Rovers and Land Rovers.

“It’s the big ones where the issue is,” she said.

“We have cars a lot higher off the ground than they used to be but in terms of posing a risk to people, it’s those heavy ones with the big grills.

“If they come in contact with a pedestrian, they will be hit at a much higher level – that’s where the issue is.”


Ms Herbert said SUVs are, ironically, favoured by families for their safety.

“People think these are the safest way to transport family - precious cargo - as they’re high up and can see more,” she said.

“The problem is, we rarely discuss the risk they pose to others.

“The other issue with these big heavy cars is if they come in contact with a smaller car, the other car is at a huge risk in terms of the severity of the impact.”


Another issue Ms Herbert has with SUVs is their incompatibility as an electric vehicle (EV).

“Having an already heavy car like an SUV and adding a big battery is just a disaster waiting to happen,” she said.

“Car makers are trying to sell EVs and because SUVs are so popular – a lot of EVs that came on the market first were SUVs and crossovers.

“The thing about electric cars is efficiency and aerodynamics so we are going to be moving away from big box-like SUVs because they are such a disaster for range.”


Ms Herbert is calling for regulation at an EU level.

“The onus has to be on car makers and the EU to bring in regulations,” she said.

“I wish we could find more creative solutions than taxing things out of existence.

“We need to offer consumers more choice and I think car manufacturers are a big issue in this.”
She added that people “shouldn’t be penalised” for buying SUVs when there is no alternative.

Main image: A compact Range Rover. Image: VDWI Automotive / Alamy Stock Photo

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