Department backpedals from firm position on cycling fines for children

A new parliamentary question on fines for children cycling footpaths shows that the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe is now less clear on the issue, and his department is “consulting with the Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority at present to develop proposals”.

Children under 12-years-old are below the age of criminal responsibility, but it is unclear why the department are not including this in their response to parliamentary questions.

As we reported last week: When asked if there were plans to exclude “very young or hearing impaired cyclists” from planned on-the-spot fines for cycling on footpaths, Minister Donohoe (Fine Gael) said in a written response: “I do not believe that a change in the law to allow some cyclists to use footpaths is an appropriate response.”

However, in a response to a follow up parliamentary question, the department of transport are now less clear on the matter, saying little more that the fines are on the way and that the department is consulting with Gardai and the Road Safety Authority.

Tommy Broughan TD, an independent for Dublin North East, asked the minister “If he will report on the procedures for issuing on-the-spot fines for cycling on the footpath; if young children will be exempt from these fines as the Road Safety Authority states that children under 12 should not cycle on public roads; [and] his plans to improve cycling infrastructure in view of the imposition of this fine.”

A response last week in minister Donohoe’s name, said: “Action 92 of the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020 provides that the fixed charge notice system will be extended to include offences committed by cyclists. My Department is consulting with the Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority at present to develop proposals in relation to this Action. The legal provisions necessary will be drafted in the coming months and any primary legislation necessary will be included in a draft road traffic Bill that I expect to bring to Government shortly.”

MORE: No exemption for children cycling on footpaths says minister
MORE: Fines for cycling do not target causes of issues says Cllr Cuffe
MORE: On-the-spot fines for cycling delayed until 2015
MORE: Varadkar asked to use lower rate cyclist fines
MORE: On-the-spot cyclist fines could be higher than €50
MORE: 3,200 Irish cyclists summoned to court in ten years

2 Comments

  1. The Minister has no option under present regulations to ban cycling by children on footpaths. The law is quite clear about riding (=driving) any vehicle on a public footway.
    Those that favour children under 12 (primary school age range) being permitted to cycle on a footway are not doing those children any favours.
    Most drivers in Ireland reverse illegally out of driveways onto public footways and roads and so in many cases a child rider will not be seen due to sight-line occlusion from the driver’s seat.
    With the rise in the proportion of high-sided vehicles in the private fleet (SUVs/4x4s) this is a very real safety issue.
    Traffic must be managed differently from now on and it is a pity that road authorities are so slow to abandon free-flow for motorised traffic movement that is inimical to cycling promotion,

  2. Reversing out of driveways is a plague on those that live in suburban areas. Not only are people afraid to let their children outside the home for fear of been run over on the street, there’s also the real danger of being hit while running or playing on the sidewalk. It’s just another area of our lives that are blighted by the motocracy.

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