‘Cycling Safe Passing’ Signs

Noel Gibbons is a founder member of Western Lakes CC and has been involved in every facet of the club. Little did he know that his years in cycling would aid him in his role now as Mayo Road safety officer. Noel was instrumental in bringing loads of different safety intuitives to make our roads safer for driving and cycling. Here is a piece from 2002 where Noel instigated signage for the famous Srah circuit..

As Cyclists , whether we are leisure , competitive or we use the bike as a form of transport , we all know too well how important it is for our safety that motorist give us adequate space when over taking us . That’s why we were delighted when a new law was introduced on Monday, Nov 11, 2019, that stated drivers found dangerously overtaking someone on a bike will find themselves on the receiving end of a €120 fine and three penalty points.

In the ideal world, we would all be cycling on segregated cycle lanes , but that’s not the case we live in a very rural County and we find ourselves intermixing with all size of vehicles on these roads so we need to be fully focused and depend on motorists adhering to the rules of the road for our safety.

As a follow on from the introducing of the safe passing law in 2019 Minister Shane Ross has (June 18 2020) announced the allocation of €446,500 to 19 local authorities for the roll out of cycling ‘safe passing’ signs.

This new sign, which has been included in the Traffic Signs Manual, advises motorists of the need to leave adequate space when overtaking cyclists.

Motorists should know that dangerous overtaking of a cyclist is an offence and punishable by a fine and penalty points, and motorists are reminded by this type of signage located around the Country.

But did you know that one small cycling club in the West of Ireland working in partnership with its local authority, was the first in the Country to erect safe over taking signage as far back as 2002.

Western lakes Cycling Club committee members working with the local Area engineer Mr John Ferguson and the road safety officer Mr Michael Gormally saw the merit of erecting signage on three roads which then became know in the cycling fraternity as the Srah circuit . The 5 mile loop or in new money 8km loop was used regularly by the then three local clubs Western lakes , Castlebar cycling club and Covey wheelers (Westport) . It was used for training spins , introducing youth to road cycling and leisure spins . Once the signage was erected it be came the home for the Mayo League for many a year , where a lot of blood and sweat was lost and unfortunately a few bones broken also .

This circuit became the envy of other cycling clubs around the Country, grapping local and national media attention with articles appearing in cycling magazines and papers.

The specially commissioned road sign which has the image of a racer bike not the normal image of a bike attracts the attention of motorists to this day 19 years later and set the seed for the present signage been erected presently around the Country , to create a safer environment for cyclist to take to the road.

This shows a club in the west of Ireland can make a difference nationally when we work together as members and never has it been more important in these challenging times , here to a bright 2021 and looking forward to cycling with you all if not in person in the virtual world of teams or zoom, personalities will come and go but the one common love for cycling will always exist in Ballinrobe and its hinterlands.