As the Easter holidays approach and with many young people already enjoying a break from schools and colleges, police are once again urging all road users and pedestrians to focus on road safety.

Chief Superintendent Sam Donaldson from Operational Support Department, said: “71 people died on our roads during 2023, an eight-year high. Another 15 have already lost their lives on our roads since 1st January 2024. These numbers are more than a statistic, they are individuals whose families and friends have been involved in traumatic, life-changing experiences. I am appealing to every member of the public to take more care on the roads.

“We know there will be more road users on our road network during the public holidays, including drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. This leads to an increased risk of collisions, so it is important to remember we ALL have a responsibility to be safe and take extra care on our roads.

"In the coming days we will be paying particular attention to our road network specifically looking for road users taking unnecessary and potentially life-changing risks.

“Drivers, always remember the fatal five and the steps you can take to be safer. Don’t drink or take drugs and drive; slow down; don’t be careless; always wear your seat belt and never use your mobile phone whilst driving.

“With many schoolchildren and young people enjoying the holidays road users should also keep an eye out for increased numbers of children using or crossing roads, particularly close to parks and leisure amenities, in addition to junctions and bus stops.

“Pedestrians must pay attention to their environment, whether that means not getting distracted by friends or mobile devices, or being especially careful when walking on country roads by walking against the traffic flow and by wearing highly visible clothing. If you think a friend is going to walk home on a dark country road in particular, please give them a lift or order a taxi for them. If you see someone walking and think they’re vulnerable to traffic, call us on 101.

“With the ongoing brighter weather bringing greater numbers of motorcyclists and cyclists out onto the roads, Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups on Northern Ireland’s roads, remember they could be approaching faster than you think. Always take another look for a motorcyclist before you make any manoeuvre.

“Motorcyclists also need to be cognisant of their speed, the weather conditions and other road users. If you are taking the bike out for the first time in a while please ensure your motorcycle and safety equipment are in good working order.

“Cyclists also need to remember they are amongst the most vulnerable road users, so we recommend wearing a helmet, always using front and rear lights, not listening to music players and keeping aware of their surroundings.

“At the same time, drivers must be aware of cyclists, paying particular care at junctions, traffic lights, when opening vehicle doors after parking. Most importantly, drivers need to give cyclists enough room when overtaking.

“All other road users, particularly those using country roads, need to ensure they drive at an appropriate speed to give them enough time to react to any slower moving agricultural vehicles, pay particular attention to width markings and any signals. Please take extra care and patience to reduce risk by not making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres.

“We want everyone to have a safe, enjoyable holiday. If we share the road, we have to share the responsibility, it is up to all road users to focus on road safety.”