For the first time in recent memory, there were no road deaths in Limerick city last year.
While there were a total of five road deaths in the Limerick garda division during 2012 (see page 5) none occurred in the greater city area.
This represents a major reduction compared to 2011 when five people died in four separate road accidents in the city and its environs.
“From a garda point of view, there was one fatal accident in the Roxboro district last year but that was in the county so yes the city didn’t have a fatality, which is a phenomenal achievement for everyone concerned,” said Insp Paul Reidy, head of the traffic corps in Limerick.
The Henry Street garda district, which is one of the busiest in the country, was the only garda district in Limerick where a road fatality was not recorded during the 2012 calender year.
While the behaviour of motorists in Limerick has improved generally in recent years, Insp Reidy says a number of other factors could be behind the positive figures.
“People are slowing down on the roads alright but if you look at the emigration figures, people are still leaving the country and with more and more people not working, there are less people and less traffic on the roads,” he said.
Cllr Ger Fahy, chairman of Limerick City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructural Strategic Policy Committee, has welcomed the fact that there were no road deaths in the city last year.
“Absolutely, it is very positive and as far as we are concerned in Limerick city we are very conscious of bringing in projects that will increase the safety for all road users,” he said.
A number of initiatives have been rolled out in Limerick city in recent years such as the installation of electronic signs on approach roads to the city centre, the construction of dedicated bus and cycle lanes and the development of the city’s orbital route.
“It’s hard to know what exactly the reason for the reduction in road deaths is but were are very conscious that we improve road safety whenever we can such as we did last year with the upgrade works on William Street,” said Cllr Fahy.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will publish a new road-safety strategy later this year which its hoped will result in a further reduction in road deaths by 2012.
Gay Byrne, chairman of the RSA, says the 15% reduction in road deaths across the county last year was extraordinary.
“While one death is one too many, this is an extraordinary achievement and something of which you should all be very proud. The challenge now is to build on this success. We have three more lives a week to save.”
Gardai say despite the positive figures for 2012, they will continue to be out in force across the city during 2013.