Stayin” Alive at 1.5 came in to being in 2013 following the deaths of 2 bicycle riders in County Wexford, Ireland in quick succession. Further info here.
We lobby for a change in our undefined dangerous overtaking laws and to have a defined minimum of 1.5 metres of lateral overtaking space when overtaking bicycle riders. This is called Minimum Passing Distance Law (MPDL) and would bring Ireland in line with many other jurisdictions that have implemented MPDL to date. As car drivers ourselves, we are aware of the lack of education and awareness that has been created to date around minimum passing distances of bicycle riders. Up until the most recent update in our rules of the road in 2015, this is a subject matter not taught hithertofore.
Part of our lobbying though has been to increase awareness around the safe overtaking of people who chose to ride bicycles;
There are many aspects to this which we would like to share with you.
Maybe you can help in the further roll-out of this simple but important message in your area.
If you see some idea here that you would like further information on or you think you could get involved in, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be delighted to help.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND WEBSITE:
Our first step was to design a website and to create a social media outlet. Most prominent in this is our Facebook page where most of our day to day business occurs. On this page we share interesting bicycle related stories and advocacy news concentrating mainly on issues pertaining to MDPL. Being drivers as well as bicycle riders ourselves, we realise that there is much awareness that needs to be created around safe overtaking; it is an area up until recently, not covered by any awareness programme and we like to focus primarily on this issue. Many drivers who don’t cycle are simply not aware of the need for a safe overtaking space as it isn’t taught in driving lessons or theory tests.
This page (as of July 2017) now has 15,100 followers and has reached almost 750,000 on some weeks. If you need to reach us, we respond fastest to PM on this page. We also use Twitter (@SafeCyclingIreland) but our main outlet remains Facebook (stayinaliveat1.5)
DEDICATED CAMPAIGN JERSEY:
Our next step was to design a highly visible and reflective jersey with a clear message. This was done by engaging the views of social media followers. This jersey was designed with the help of Spin 11 and along with the newly designed logo, had the words ‘1.5 metres please share the road’ written on it. This message has since changed to ‘1.5 metres please pass with care’. We feel that this wording provides greater clarity to our message. Many of these jerseys are seen regularily on our roads across the country where it really matters; spreading the word through Irish riders on Irish roads.
We have since gone on to include bib shorts, gilets and winter jackets which we do periodically by pre order from our online shop via Facebook. We mostly order extra stock as part of these orders so if you miss out on the pre-order it is worth contacting us if you require any item. We sell these at a small marginal profit and proceeds go back into the campaign. Shop HERE
LOCAL AUTHORITY ENGAGEMENT:
Our first major success was engaging with Wexford county council in an effort to have some signage on our roads to increase awareness. Many countries that have MPDL have permanent road signage in an effort to create further awareness of this simple message. (Many countries have permanent safe passing signage on their roads such as the US, Canada, Spain, France etc.)
These were rolled out for BikeWeek 2014 throughout the county and seemed to create a positive effect and conversation points.
Following on from the success of this, we negotiated to do some safe overtaking awareness videos with Wexford Co. Co. newly appointed cycling officer. Frank Burke was a main driving force behind this and with the support of the Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign, succeeded in creating 4 excellent awareness videos that have been seen millions of times worldwide. Following on from this we suggested to Wexford Co Co that we should survey the effect created by the signs and videos.
Following on from this success the current type signs were erected throughout Co Wexford in 2015. They are temporary signs and were placed strategically around the county. They were taken down to prevent damage from Winter weather but were erected again in early Spring 2016 such has been their impact.
Ideally of course, in time we will move towards permanent signage and this is where some of our future negotiations will revisit.
in April 2017 we are delighted to see some permanent metal signage out on Wexford’s roads. This will further educate those who may not be aware of this new rule of the road.
Further awareness has been created by the use of our logo and message on suitable council vans.
Wexford Co Co were the first to adopt this idea following discussions with the Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign. This has now been copied in Counties Mayo, Kerry, Donegal and Sligo. This is an important aspect of the awareness campaign as this message is prominent now on these county roads. Other counties are currently looking in to this at the moment. This works best when the initial contact is made through a local in the relevant county. We have a suggested letter that we would be happy to send to you as part of this contact.
A further link was created when we were invited to present to the country’s Local Authority Road Safety Officers in Sept ’16 This presentation was entitled “What can YOUR county do for bicycle rider safety?” As a result of this, we will be further engaging with more local authorities and associated road safety committees in an effort to get this message out further.
Awareness videos below
Some cyclists have simply grown tired of perceived local and national government’s lack of engaging in safety initiatives and have taken it upon themselves to do so. These now include several private vehicle owners and a bus company. Once again, it is important to see this message being rolled out in local communities where the associated degree of empathy can be created.
Our next project involved producing outward facing rear window stickers due to repeated requests from our Facebook followers. These earlier ones were sold at cost price and posted where required. The next batch of these were done up by Wexford county council and distributed through primary schools across the county. Cycling Ireland then came on board and produced a batch of 1.5 metre stickers in early 2016 and included them in the first batch of cycling Ireland licences.
The next project for stickers will involve a redesign and reaching out for sponsorship so that this
message can continue to be rolled out with the assistance of like minded companies. The first on of these is about to be produced and is sponsored by Zurich. If you are a company or know of a company that would like to join Zurich in promoting this simple message, please get in touch.
SEE THE PERSON, PASS WITH CARE.
In early 2016, we launched the See the Person, Pass with Care initiative with Wexford County Council. The message here is that we want other road users to not think of cyclists as objects or obstacles on the road and to think of them as people who ride bicycles, somebody’s family member..
These life size pull-ups have been displayed in libraries throughout the county.
Subsequently, these pull-ups have been displayed in various shops, businesses, train stations etc.
As with many initiatives, other counties and private individuals have come on board with this initiative and help to get the message out there.
With assistance from the Road Safety Authority, we were able to purchase some banners that we use at various events.
In Wexford, we have 2 of these displayed prominently for maximum impact. One at the exit of Wexford General Hospital outside Boggan’s Toyota dealership and the other at Wexford Youths ground in Ferrycarrig.
Mostly though, it involves people from various parts of the country requesting these and using them at their local event from St. Patrick’s Day parades to motor shows etc. We are happy to post these just so long as we get them back as you got them. We have a limited amount and supply depends on availability.
With assistance from the Road safety authority, we now have an awareness stall. With this pop-up tent, we attend various events with our awareness stall.
We have been to events ranging from a motor show, to a home security show, to cycling shows and events. With this we display various MPDL awareness campaigns from all over the world and other awareness tools as we see fit for the event. These also include a paper version of our online petition. Due to time constraints and cost entry in to some events, there is limited option to go to as many events as we would like. However, along with attending ourselves, we do selectively lend out our pop-up tent to various events to help increase the campaign profile.
We have some signs with a message on the rear that we encourage famous people to read out.
These then are posted to social media where their impact can be felt.
We have an active online and paper petition that between them now have well over 5,000 signatories. These include, Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche, Nicolas Roche who have been very supportive of this message. If you do just one thing following your reading of this page, then please visit the online petition and sign and share.
The mat itself is 4 metres by 6 metres. It is to scale to reflect real life situations where a motorist may encounter a person on a bicycle and the expectation and due care expected when overtaking.
The far left verge of the mat has a road imperfection and a drain which explains one of the reasons why the bicycle rider might occupy this position (known as secondary position) on the road. This is illustrated by the orange birds eye view of the bicycle rider. The grey shaded area is to refresent the riders space on the bicycle. In order the make this easy for non cycling motorists to understand, the mat has black parallel lines which represent where a car driver might position him/herself on such a road in terms of the near side and far side wheel.
The arrows then correspond to the RSA recommendations (latest radio ad) of a minimum passing distance as proposed in the private members bill currently in the Dáil. This being a minimum of 1 metre in speed zones of 50km/hr or less and 1.5 metres in speed zones greater than this as represented by the 80km/hr sign.
The second grey rectangle in the education mat represents where a bicycle rider might occupy primary position in areas where there may be parked cars or where the rider is about to make a right turn etc.
For demonstration purposes, a vehicle will be driven over the mat adjacent to the outside of whichever arrow and show what this distance looks like in real life.
This has been working very successfully in the U.K. and will be a valuable tool in the education of motorists as to how to overtake people on bicycles safely.
As a result of these engagements our rules of the road refer to ‘1.5 metres’ as the recommended overtaking space for the first time. Further work needs to be done with the graphic and the wording to provide further clarify. In this particular case we are looking for the bicycle rider to be positioned further away from the
edge (as per the RSA’s own advice) and for the car to straddle the centre line further
to the right in order to make the 1.5 metres look real.
The RSA has been proactive in this area but we believe that further awareness campaigns of the need for 1.5 metre space needs doing. These are some examples from overseas.
A large part of our campaign involves the lobbying of politicians in an effort to have out current ambiguous overtaking law amended in line with what many jurisdictions worldwide have done and continue to do.
Last year with the assistance of TDs Ciaran Cannon and Regina Doherty, Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 secured a meeting with the then transport minister, Paschal Donohoe. At that meeting he was presented with the petition for MPDL.
Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 is also a registered lobby group.
We await a further meeting with current minister for transport, Shane Ross.
We have been active in media as we continue to get this message out there. These links will take you to some of them