Only 112 motorists fined for blocking cycle lanes at same time first 244 cyclists get on-the-spot fines

— Just 16 motorists stopped for invading bicycle advance stop boxes
— Gardai do not understand safety for people who cycle claims 
campaign

Gardai only fined 112 motorists for blocking cycle lanes in the same time period as officers stopped and fined bicycle users for 244 cycling-related offences.

The details of the numbers of motorists fined was released in response to a parliamentary question by independent TD Tommy Broughan. The time period relates to July 30 to September 30 of this year, the first two months of on-the-spot fines for cycling related offences, such as cycling past a red traffic light.

The answer from the Department of Justice revealed that 112 motorists were fined for parking in a cycle track during its period of operation in the two months in question — cycle tracks is the legal name for cycle lanes or cycle paths.

At many junctions where bicycles are given “advance stop boxes”, a space for bicycles only to wait before other traffic, this space is blocked by motorists once nearly every traffic light sequence. However, the parliamentary answer revealed that only 16 motorists were fined for invading a bicycle advance stop box or line at junctions by failing to bring their vehicles to a stop behind a primary stop-line.

Mike McKillen, chairman of Cyclist.ie, an umbrella group for most Irish cycling campaign, said: “It shows that An Garda Siochana does not understand road safety for people who cycle in that members fail to interdict drivers who are impacting negatively on the safety of cyclists.”

Opinions among cycling campaigners on-the-spot fines for cyclists is mixed, but even some of those who support the fined say that the low level of enforcement for often dangerous parking in cycle lanes highlight the lack of priority given to safety of bicycle users.

This is made worse by the perception that Gardai give a high level of priority to keeping motoring traffic free-flowing — seasoned campaigners point out that “improve traffic flow” used to be a stated high-level aim of the Garda Traffic Corps, sometimes listed before the goal of enforcing road traffic legislation. Cars or vans parked on cycle lanes and footpaths don’t block other motorists.

This year people who cycle across Ireland have taken to Twitter to highlight parking in cycle lanes using the #FreeTheCycleLanes hastag. And then, in June, the Corp’s official Twitter account responded to an image of DHL vans parked in a cycle lane and on a footpath by stating: “vehicles are given latitude of genuinely making a delivery & no facilities are available”.

McKillen said, “There is institutional blindness to the real road safety needs of cyclists within the force. This should be of concern to both the ministers for justice and transport but they too are indifferent.”
He added: “The Road Safety Authority is tarred with similar brush. It thinks that handing out hi-vis vests on street corners contributes to the safety of cyclists.”
The Department of Justice said that 60 motorists were fined for dangerous overtaking — but it added that “it is not possible to provide a breakdown between overtaking pedal cyclists and mechanically propelled vehicles, therefore the figure provided relates to all manners of dangerous overtaking.”

The department said that the figures are “provisional, operational and subject to change”.

5 Comments

  1. That link to the Garda traffic corps twitter-feed where they say that they’ll turn a blind eye to delivery vehicles parking on cycle tracks when there’s “no viable alternative”. – What the heck does that mean exactly?

    How about using alternative means instead of vans and trucks to deliver goods? Cargo bikes for example? DHL use these in other countries, but they can’t do that here? They certainly won’t if there’s no pressure to, ffs.

    Also, when a Gard see’s someone delivering goods parked in a cycle lane, to what extend does that Gard see if there was a viable alternative?

    And anyway, that obnoxious tweet by the Garda traffic corps is obviously a pile of bunk because the Gards do sweet F A about the plague of cars not delivering anything but still parked in cycle lanes every single day. Raheny, where I live, is a particular hotspot. And there’s a Garda station in the center of Raheny. The Gards just ignore the whole situation which makes that tweet by the Garda traffic corps all the more galling.

  2. “How about using alternative means instead of vans and trucks to deliver goods? Cargo bikes for example? DHL use these in other countries, but they can’t do that here? They certainly won’t if there’s no pressure to, ffs.”

    This is a good point. DHL and other delivery companies should be made to explore other options. Allowing people to misappropriate public space is effectively a subsidy of counterproductive practices.

  3. As the instigator of this PQ, set via Deputy Tommy Broughan (Ind. Dublin Bay North), the data did not surprise me at all. I had predicted the result for Cyclist.ie members.
    We know we have a dysfunctional police force (Garda Inspectorate reports and a recent editorial in the Irish Times) but we now have undeniable evidence of institutional blindness to what we call the ‘real safety needs’ of cyclists. Handing out hi-vis vests at street-corners to cyclists and instructing them to wear helmets is not promoting road safety for cyclists.
    Garda management need to reflect on what these data reveal.
    Do they know what is the road safety function of an ASL?
    Do they understand that ‘dangerous overtaking’ terrifies cyclists?
    Do they understand that rampant fly-parking forces cyclists out into the fast-moving traffic stream?
    I would like these PQ data to be the basis of a reference to the Garda Inspectorate for investigation.

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