Wednesday, the 11th of October, 2023. The day in which I shared an emotional phone call with Sean Landers, the partner of the late UCD cyclist Gabriele Glodenyte. Amongst his grief and anguish, Sean cried out for change. For a change in attitudes, for a change in habits, and for a change on the roads. Following the publishing of the article, Sean would speak with the Irish Times and Off The Ball, pursuing the ears of those who needed to hear the genuine impact of a road traffic accident.

Monday, the 19th of February, 2024. Just 139 days after that initial phone call, came the news of the passing of John Walsh, another member of the UCD Cycling Club.

Walsh was involved in a road collision with a driver on the Malahide Road at Kinsealy on Sunday morning. Following paramedics’ treatment at the scene of the crash, Walsh was brought to Beaumont Hospital with injuries that would prove to be fatal, Walsh was pronounced dead later in the day. He was just 40 years of age.

Coolock Garda station has announced it has undertaken an investigation into the collision.

A married father, Walsh is survived by his loved ones, his wife Olivia, and his three children, Andrew, Rowan, and Morgan. Many of those loved ones outside of his family will have known him through the club at UCD Cycling;

“With the deepest of sorrow, we pay tribute to our valued club member John Walsh who died yesterday from injuries he sustained in a crash with a driver in Kinsealy.”

An emotional tribute was paid to Walsh via a statement on UCD Cycling’s Instagram page, emphasising his importance as a cyclist, and as a friend;

“John has been in the club many years and was a crucial part of the club’s activities, especially during his time as a student when he was club captain and had taken out his licence to race again in the club colours this year. We will deeply miss John who was always to be seen ripping up the corners of Mondello on a Tuesday night.

“May the wind be always at your back, RIP”.

Unfortunately, this is a tragically familiar sight on UCD Cycling’s social media, following the passing of Gabriele Glodenyte last May. It is the hope that a sports club’s posts would display wins, events, and moments of achievement and glory. UCD Cycling currently has two posts pinned to the top of their profile, the immediate posts you will see upon entering. One of Gabriele, and one of John. Marking the deaths of two of their beloved members.

It is a heart-breaking sight, one sits with a person long beyond their initial viewing.

In 2023, deaths on Irish roads reached a worrying milestone, with close to 20% more road deaths this year than in 2022. Tragically, the number of lives lost on Irish roads hit 184 last year, the highest peak since 2016.

This worrying trend has unfortunately continued into the new year, as Ireland is on course to exceed last year’s road deaths, with 34 lives lost on the roads already recorded by mid-February. One of these cases was a six-year-old girl, Hannah Meshkat, who passed away just ten days ago in a single-car collision in County Westmeath.

We must not become numb to this, thirty-four people have lost their lives on Irish roads, just fifty-two days into 2024. This is far from a normality, nor should it be conceived as one.

We simply cannot become numb to the tragedies on our streets, and the subsequently damaged lives of our citizens who are dealt with the blow of sudden and unjust loss.

The way in which we think must differ, the manner in which we carry ourselves must demonstrate our empathy and the measures we take must begin to change.

Without a shift in reaction and purpose, those who embark on leisurely cycles remain at the mercy of those with a heavier vehicle, and that is a terrifying thought.

“Tragedy, we are told, is not simply death and suffering. It is, rather, a particular kind of event, and kind of response, which are genuinely tragic, and which the long tradition embodies.” – Raymond Williams.

The College Tribune offers its sincerest condolences to John Walsh’s family, friends, and everyone at UCD Cycling.

Dara Smith-Naughton – Sports Editor

Credit to Sean Rowe for generously giving The College Tribune permission to use his photo.