Safe transport infrastructure is not only a social justice issue but a matter of life and death

Last week stands out in one’s mind as significant in terms of safety and active transport. On the 24th of April, a 22-year-old student studying in Dun Laoghaire was knocked down and killed by a truck. She will be remembered as “the kindest, gentlest” daughter and “a blessing” in the life of her friends and partner. She had a future taken away from her by something as mundane as broken bollards. This cannot be described as a tragic accident. It certainly is tragic, but when junctions this dangerous and complex lack protected cycling infrastructure the inevitable mingling of fragile human bodies and dangerous vehicles is much more deadly. This junction has been identified for improvement, recognising this danger. The delay in getting the improvements over the line are, unfortunately, more at fault in this incident than any human error involved.

This road death happened four days before a motion to reopen consultation on the Dublin city transport plan was defeated in Dublin City Council. If this motion was to succeed, the planned safety measures which will make Dublin City centre more public and active transport friendly would likely have been delayed for up to a year. As someone who regularly cycles through the city centre, I understand how dangerous it is.  Roads with multiple lanes, cars rushing to make the green light and disappearing cycling lanes often leave you in dangerous tight situations beside buses, cars and luases. Every time I cycle in town I count near misses or identify incidences that one mistake from me would result in my injury or worse. Delays in making this busy area safer for everyone – which is only possible by removing space for cars and giving more room to walkers, cyclists and those in wheelchairs – could be betting on the lives of people who use this space.

We have written extensively on safe active transport as a social justice issue. Making towns and cities more walkable is a social justice. Allowing children the safety and freedom to walk to school is a social justice issue.


Until we fully recognise that safe transport infrastructure is not only a social justice issue but a matter of life and death – we will not see the horrifically sad numbers of people dying on our roads and in our towns and cities reduce.