Health & Safety Authority tells cyclists “stay off the road” during harvesting

The Health & Safety Authority has told cyclists to stay off the road when silage is being cut, adding around farm yards farmers and contractors are too busy at this time of year to check mirrors and cameras


A senior official in the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) has made eye-catching remarks about the need for cyclists and pedestrians to stay off the roads in areas where harvesting is taking place so as to avoid large farm vehicles.

In another part of the same interview, the HSA’s senior agriculture inspector, Pat Griffin, said farmers and farm contractors were working “too fast” at this time of year to have the time for checking cameras and mirrors to monitor the areas where they are working.

Mr Griffin has also said people out walking in the middle of day in sunny conditions need to wear hi-vis clothing when harvesting is taking place and large machinery is being operated by farmers and contractors.

“If there’s silage being cut in a certain area, just be more aware in the car and watch for corners that you might get caught out on,” he told journalist Niall Hurson in the Farming Independent, a section of the Irish Independent newspaper.

“For people that are going to cycle or walk on the road while this is going on, I know it’s something that would probably be dismissive if I said it but, stay off the road for a day. The size of the harvesting machinery these days, they clear fields in an area probably in a day or two days at the very most.

“So stay off the road that’s being used at that time for silage harvesting. It doesn’t go on for long in any one particular area. If they do want to go out on the roads and walk the roads as this is going on, wear a high vis vest even in sunny conditions.”

He added more vulnerable people should not be in a farmers yard, where farmers and contractors are working, adding that only personnel involved in the work should be in yards at busy times.

“These people are just working too fast to be relying on mirrors and cameras to be watching people,” he said of farmers and contractors.

The HSA is the national body in Ireland with responsibility for occupational health and safety and to ensure a healthy and safe environment for workers. It reports to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

In the five-year period from 2018 to 2022 there were a total of 34 vehicle-related fatalities on Irish farms – 18 involving tractors and four involving quad bikes. Many other people – including cyclists – have been killed on Irish roads in crashes involving drivers in tractors and other farm vehicles.