More than 2,600 cyclists were brought to court for road traffic offences committed between 2003 and 2011, according to national data released to this paper by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The release came with a warning that the numbers of cyclists prosecuted is likely to be higher given the way the data is collected, including offences by cyclists which are common to other road users.
In 2011, over 590 charges and summons were recorded – which is the highest on record over the nine years of data released.
The year, which is latest year data is available for, marked a high-profile stepping up of gardai targeting cyclists in Dublin.
The CSO estimates that there were at least 2,554 recorded incidents of cycling related charges and summons counted as general road and traffic offences. Another 99 cases were recorded of more serious offences titled “dangerous or negligent acts”.
Dangerous or negligent acts include: dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm, driving/in charge of a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit, driving/in charge of a vehicle under the influence of drugs, and endangering traffic offences. Under the road traffic acts a cyclist is a “driver” and a bicycle is a vehicle.
The lack of a system of on-the-spot fines for cyclists means that gardai must arrest or, as happens more often, issue a cyclist with a court summons. The same gardai must be present when the case comes before the courts. Officers are reportedly reluctant to use their time and that of the courts’.
Originally published in the Summer 2013 edition of the Cycling in Dublin newspaper, which can be viewed or downloaded here.