Cycle safety is the back-to-school message from the RSA & ESB Networks

High visibility vests to be distributed to every child starting school

Friday 25 August The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and ESB Networks are calling on parents, guardians and teachers to ensure road safety, in particular cycle safety is on the lesson plan for all children as they return to school in September, and will be distributing free high visibility vests to all children starting school this year.

To provide practical cycle safety and skills training to promote competent and confident cyclists, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the RSA and Cycling Ireland, with input from central and local agencies and other groups have developed Cycle Right, the National Standard for Cycle Training.

 “Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said: “Now that the children are returning from holidays and going back to school it is important to remind motorists to be mindful of our most vulnerable road-users. We would encourage parents and teachers to use our new cycle training programme to educate children to be vigilant when out walking or cycling to school and ensure they have all the correct safety gear; high vis jackets, lights and helmets for doing so.”

Speaking at the launch of this year’s back-to-school campaign, Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “With children returning to school over the coming week, road users need to be vigilant. In addition to the inevitable increased traffic levels, motorists and other road users should be conscious of children walking and cycling to and from school. Drivers need to pay attention to their speed, particularly in urban areas. Children are the most vulnerable of our road-users so it is really important that parents and teachers ensure that they learn how to stay safe on the roads.”

Marguerite Sayers, Managing Director, ESB Networks DAC, said: “We are delighted to be working with the RSA again to ensure that school children are visible on the roads. Wearing a high-vis vest is so important whether you are walking, cycling or travelling on the school bus. We would encourage all schools to register for the ‘Back to School’ packs and be safe, by being seen. Our partnership with the RSA reflects ESB Networks' ongoing commitment to promoting safety at all times. This initiative is part of our wider ‘Stay Safe, Stay Clear’ electrical safety campaign which we are promoting throughout schools in the Republic of Ireland.”

Geoff Liffey, CEO Cycling Ireland, administrators for Cycle Right, said: “Using a bike for the first time and learning to cycle has been a rite of passage for generations of youngsters. I would urge all parents, guardians and teachers to encourage safe cycling by giving children proper guidance and instruction at an early age to ensure that basic safety rules are absorbed while young. This can be achieved through the Cycle Right programme which delivers best-practice cycle training across Ireland and gives primary schools the chance to train to cycle their bikes with skill and confidence and to experience cycling on the road.”

As well as the ‘safe cycling’ message, the RSA is reminding parents to ensure their child is visible when walking or cycling on the roads, or when waiting for the school bus.

The RSA has also issued recommendations to schools if they intend to hire a bus to carry children. The bus company concerned should be asked to confirm in writing that it is providing safe and legal transport services.

The RSA has compiled a useful Declaration of Compliance which outlines a checklist of important minimum legal requirements from bus owners. This can be downloaded and printed off from www.cvrt.ie.

For the seventh year running, the RSA and ESB Networks will distribute free high visibility vests to every child starting school in September. To date, this partnership has provided 800,000 children throughout the country with high visibility vests. Schools can now register online for the RSA’s ‘Back to School’ road safety packs which will be sent to primary schools nationwide over the coming months.

The ‘Back to School’ campaign

Teachers are encouraged to register online for the RSA ‘Back to School’ Pack for Primary Schools, which contains:

  • A high visibility vest for every child starting school in partnership with ESB Networks
  • ‘Going to School’ leaflets for junior infants entering education. This is a parent’s guide to getting children to school safely;
  • A ‘Safe Cross Code’ promotional pack including a CD of the song and a poster with the words of the ‘Safe Cross Code’ song and dance to be taught in the classroom;
  • The ‘Educational News’ newsletter;
  • ESB Networks safety information leaflet about a fun, exciting and educational way for pupils from Infants to 6th Class to discover the benefits of electricity, while learning to be safe around it

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The RSA also has a number of other road safety resources for teachers and students which aims to promote and encourage road safety among children aged five and under.

At primary level, ‘Safe Cross Code’, ‘Street Smart’, ‘Be Safe’, ‘Let’s Go’, ‘Seatbelt Sheriff’ and ‘Hi Glo Silver’, teaches young road users how to use the roads safely.

At secondary level, there is the Junior Cycle resource entitled ‘Streetwise’ as well as ‘Your Road to Safety’ for Transition Year. The ‘Let’s Go’ CD, which is a road safety resource for principals and teachers, will be delivered to every secondary school over the coming weeks.

The RSA’s Nationwide Road Safety Education Service is available to visit schools to give a comprehensive road safety presentation to students which can be tailored to suit all class sizes, groups and ages. We tackle a range of topics on road safety including road safety at school, pedestrian and cycle safety, urban and rural transport issues, learning to drive and killer behaviours. This service is free of charge.

The RSA Shuttle, Rollover Simulator and ‘Street Smart’ will begin visiting schools nationwide at the start of the academic year.

For further information contact:

RSA Communications Office: 096 25008

Grace Cooney, Drury Porter Novelli: 01 2605000 / 086 153 6886, grace.cooney@drurypn.ie

Kieran O'Neill, Media Relation Manager, ESB Corporate Communications

(T) 00-353-1-7026193 (M) 00-353-87-9349200 Email: Kieran.oneill@esb.ie