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Outrage over Garda Twitter poll on road safety

By Joyce Fegan

An Garda Síochána have urged social media users to “respect” others after a Twitter poll it ran was met with outrage.

On Thursday night, a Twitter account belonging to An Garda Síochána asked people was it more dangerous for a cyclist to run a red light or for a car to be parked in a cycle lane.

While more than 15,000 people responded with 55% saying the parked car was more of a danger, the poll was labelled “divisive”.

Minister of State for the Diaspora Ciarán Cannon said he thought the poll was “appallingly ill-conceived” and “deliberately divisive”.

Meanwhile, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan also described it as “ill-conceived”.

Mr Ryan said the manner in which the question was asked would be construed as “antagonising” to cyclists and “didn’t help anyone”.

The Green Party leader tabled the idea instead of members of the Garda traffic corps sitting down with cycling groups to talk about how traffic laws could be better enforced, particularly in the capital.

The Irish Examiner asked An Garda Síochána for comment and while a spokesman said it would not comment on third-party statements, he urged social media and road users to be respectful of each other.

“An Garda Síochána do not comment on third-party comments. However, our social media accounts have consistently called on all road users to respect others. The account highlights a range of road traffic offences on a daily basis whilst taking care not to identify any person/vehicle,” he said.

“The purpose of the account is to promote and raise awareness of all road safety matters. We urge people to respect others — both online and on the roads. Feedback from members of the public is always welcome no matter what the subject matter is,” he added.

A total of 15,973 people engaged in the poll online, which An Garda Síochána said was to raise awareness of road safety and to get people talking.

However, only 8,816 people actually answered the poll.

“The final result of the poll is that both options are dangerous to you, me and all other road users.

“We urge motorists to obey all the rules of the road and we urge cyclists to obey all the rules of the road. But no matter how you use the road we want everyone to take care,” said An Garda Síochána.

In 2017, 15 cyclists were killed on the roads, according to figures from the Road Safety Authority, while 10 cyclists were killed on our roads in the previous year.