On-the-spot fines for cycling road traffic offences delayed until 2015

Cyclists in Dublin

People cycling stopped at a red light in central Dublin

Cycling a bicycle past a red traffic light or breaking other traffic laws was expected to be subject to “on-the-spot” fines of around €50 by now, but IrishCycle.com has learned that the changes are delayed until next year at the earliest.

In the meanwhile, however, if you cycle past red lights you will run the risk of joining thousands others who have already been brought to court and received court fines, which in theory can be up to €750. Fines at the higher level are uncommon, but reported amounts paid to the courts can be far higher than the motoring equivalent on-the-spot fines or “fixed charge notices”.

The Government’s Road Safety Strategy says that they will “Legislate for the extension of fixed charge notices to other offences including those related to cyclists and drivers’ hours.”

The safety strategy was complied by the Road Safety Authority and then adopted as Irish government policy. It puts the Department of Transport as the lead agency and its Secretary General as the person with responsibility for the extension of fixed charge notices. The completion date is marked as “Q2 2014”, but the Department of Transport has confirmed this week that it will be next year before the changes are enacted.

Aidan Glover, press officer at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: “At present, Section 107 of the Road Traffic Act creates a duty for a person using a mechanically propelled vehicle to provide their name, address and date of birth to a member of An Garda Síochána in certain circumstances. As per Action 92 of the Road Safety Strategy, the Department’s aim is that road traffic offences committed by pedal cyclists should be brought within the fixed charge notice regime. In order to enable this policy to operate, it is necessary to amend section 107 so that a Garda may in the appropriate circumstances require personal details from a cyclist, as they already may from a motorist. This primary legislation change will be made in the new Road Traffic Bill currently in preparation.”

He added: “When this legislation change is completed, amendments to the Fixed Charge Notice system can then be made to include cycling offences. The Department will look at all safety issues in conjunction with An Garda Siochana, concentrating firstly on those offences that already exist in current legislation.”

In 2013, the Department of Transport said:: “No decision has been taken on the fines but they are likely to be €50 or higher – lower than equivalent motoring fines, but sufficiently high to act as a deterrent.”

The move will make it easier to fine people on bicycles for traffic offences — freeing up the time and resources of the Gardai and Court Services.

As we reported recently, 3,200 Irish cyclists were summoned to court in the last ten years. The lack of a system of “on-the-spot fines”, officially known as fix charge notices for cycling offences means that gardai must bring bicycle users to court. The same gardai must be present when the case comes before the courts. The accused will often have to take a day off work to attend court.

5 Comments

  1. The €50 fine proposed is wholly disproportionate in relation to the paltry €80 in force for motorised vehicle infractions.
    The mass disparity between a bicycle (ULW approx.10 kg) and say a SUV (Land Rover Discovery Mark 4) at 2.4 ktonne means that the fixed-fine for motorised vehicles should be raised to at least €500.

  2. Just to add further to the comment above.

    The standard fixed-charge fine for most driving offences is €80 but some attract only €40. This fine amount was set when the penalty-point system was introduced in 2004 (?) and has been left at that ever since. No increase for inflation. Cyclist.ie called for an increase in the basic €80 fine in its Pre-Budget 2015 submission to Finance.

    Driving on/in a cycle track attracts only €60 fine.

    It is my view that the motorised vehicle fines are set too low to ensure proper respect. Vulnerable road users need a fine system deployed against drivers to ensure better compliance against dangerous overtaking, driving in cycle lanes, parking in cycle lanes, etc.

    If we are talking about fining cyclists for infractions the fine quantum needs to take into account the mass/velocity difference between the bicycle and motor vehicle modes.

    As I said above, if it’s to be €50 for a cycling infrrrrrction then it needs to be an order of magnitude + greater for driving infractions.

    €50 vs €500 is about right.

  3. +1 for what Mike has said above.

  4. Irrespective of the disproportionate fine being levied against either party, it still will not result in any more respect given to the cylist/cycle user by other road (motorised vehicle) users. It is merely an excuse for obtaining money from a soft (er) target…It will not in any way be used to equalise the treatment of the more vulnerable road users…pedestrians included. ..

  5. Fully agree with The Kaner. If they wanted to make a real difference why not bring in the 1.5m overtaking rule. It would be much easier to enforce as it is a lot clearer than the dangerous overtaking rule that’s there at the moment. I know some form of deterent has to be there for cyclists not to break the law as some, not all cyclists do have a habbit of risking it…

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