A protest will take place at Skerritt roundabout in Galway City this weekend to highlight the danger to pedestrians and cyclists following a serious crash.
Sundays4Safety will be holding a protest from 11am on Sunday morning at the location where a cyclist was seriously injured in a collision involving a truck last month.
The pop-up demonstration will also feature a ghost bike, decorated with hearts to show solidarity with the injured man.
Sundays4Safety have previously held demonstrations in Salthill for safer streets, and in favour of reducing the speed limit to 30km/h in the city centre.
Gráinne Faller, organiser of the protest, told Galway Daily that the conditions at Skerritt roundabout, and many others around the city, are incredibly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.
“I think the fact that this accident happened there really illustrated the fact that that roundabout, and many others like it around the city, are dangerous by design,” she said, for people walking or cycling.
The Skerritt roundabout in particular is beyond irksome, Gráinne added, as it is located right next to ATU, with a large number of students coming and going, and no safe way across multiple lanes of traffic.
“Just the idea that you could design infrastructure like that, and not consider the safety of people walking, and people on bikes, and people wheeling, or anyone outside of a car, speaks volumes about the decision making process in Galway City Council.”
This is a problem with many roundabouts in the city, she said, which have multiple lanes of traffic and are designed for having cars travel at speed.
There is a problem with “driver blindness”, Gráinne said, where drivers don’t perceive people on bicycles as a threat, so they don’t register them as much.
“Only one person comes off badly in that collision,” she said. Slower, safer streets would be better for everyone, Gráinne said, as “no driver that I can conceive of wants to be in a situation where they are the reason for someone getting killed or injured.
The purpose of this protest is to call out the problem, and make it clear that accidents like this aren’t acceptable.
“We’re so used to this rubbish design in Galway, that the temptation is just to shrug and say ‘ah sure what can you do?’. But actually there is something we can do, we can call it out.”
“People walking, or people cycling, are going out for their walk or their commute, and they’re not coming home. To me that is horrifying, and the silence from our decision makers is telling.”
These are not just simple accidents, Gráinne added, but the result of designing roads for cars alone.