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Cycling is a unique way of travelling and exercising. The Irish Heart Foundation recommends thirty minutes of exercise most days in the week to maintain a healthy heart (IHF, 2008). The introduction of the Dublin-bike scheme by Dublin city Council in connection with JCDecaux on the 13th of September 2009 has encouraged and allowed more people to cycle around the city of Dublin. Since their introduction, Dublin-bikes have grown rapidly in popularity. By the 31st of December 2009 24,016 people had subscribed to the scheme (Dublin City Council, 2009). On the 16th of August 2010, The Irish Times published that the one millionth journey had been taken on a Dublin-bike (Caollaí, É.Ó., 2010). As the Dublin-bike does not issue its users with any form of personal protective equipment (PPE), it is left up to the user to choose if they see the need for their use. Note that between the years 2002 to 2006 there were 427 collisions involving cyclists reported to the Gardaí in Dublin City, of which 11 were fatal (Tracey Solicitors, 2010) The aims and objectives of this study are to: i) carry out observational studies of safety equipment used by both categories of cyclists (Dublin-bike users and owner cyclists); ii) investigate the factors inhibiting use of PPE; iii) investigate sensory awareness/preparedness among cyclists; iv) assess cyclists’ road positioning; v) assess communication between cyclists and other traffic; and vi) assess the responsiveness of cyclists to the behaviour of pedestrians and other vehicles. At the start of this project all Dublin bike stations were identified. Questionnaires were handed out at St. Stephens Green East, St. Stephens Green south, Exchequer Street, and Cathal Brugha Street. The streets chosen for surveying owner cyclists were O’Connell Street, Nassau Street, and the area on the Red Line Luas tracks between Abbey Street and Heuston station. It was found that the age profile for cyclists in Dublin City is 18-30 years old. Dublin-bike users cycle daily with a distance of less than 3 km, they never use a helmet or High Visibility Clothing (HVC); they do not want helmets as a legal requirement and know lights are a legal requirement after dark, they never listen to an MP3-player while cycling and they feel fine while cycling. Owner cyclists travel daily with a distance of less than 3 km, they never use a helmet or HVC, they do not want helmets as a legal requirement and know lights are a legal requirement after dark, they never listen to an MP3-player while cycling, and they feel fine while cycling. In terms of good road safety practice, the following trends were observed. Helmet usage increased with increasing distance travelled and people who use helmets would like to see them made legal. If a helmet is used while cycling then HVC is likely to be used as well. Furthermore, the further the distance travelled the more confidence the person had. Younger age groups are more likely to use HVC and males are more likely to wear a helmet then females.
Deegan, E.:Comparison of Road Safety Behaviour of Rented Dublin Bike Users With That of Owner Cyclists. Dissetation, DIT, 2011.