Cyclists who mislead gardai on identification will risk arrest

Under new powers Gardai will be able to arrest “pedal cyclists” accused of committing road traffic offences if they refuse to confirm their details or are suspected to be giving misleading information. The move follows the introduction of on-the-spot fines for cycling road traffic offences last year.

As the law stands, when a garda officer has reasonable grounds for believing information given is false or misleading, they may take the suspect’s bicycle — by force if necessary — and retain it until such time as they are satisfied as to the identity of such person.

Motorists who refused to give their name, address and date of birth, or who gives what a garda believes to be false or misleading information, are currently subject to arrest and a court fine of up to €2,000 — this section of the Road Traffic Act is to be extended to users of bicycles as part of the Road Traffic Bill 2016.

In an explanatory memorandum on the bill, the Department of Transport said: “As Gardaí may now issue fixed charge notices [aka on-the-spot fines] to cyclists, it is necessary to enhance Garda powers in dealing with cyclists.” It said that the section of law which allows offices to take bicycles will also remain in force.

However, given the wording of the legislation, the powers of arrest is likely to cover more than just the limited road traffic offences covered under the on-the-spot fines system, introduced last August.

In a parliamentary reading of the bill, which includes a number of other measure such as 20km/h speed limits, Senator Pat O’Neill (Fine Gael) said: “Was it already the case that in law a cyclist did not have to give his or her name to a member of An Garda Síochána? I was amazed to read that amendment to the existing legislation.”

For readers who are budding legal eagles, here’s the related sections of the Road Traffic Bill and the previous sections of the Road Traffic Act:

Explanatory Memorandum of Road Traffic Bill 2016
Section 20 amends section 107 of the Principal Act so that it applies to pedal cyclists as well as motorists. Section 107 empowers Gardaí to require name, address and date of birth from motorists in specified circumstances and to arrest a person who refuses or who gives what the Garda believes to be false or misleading information. Section 108 provides Garda powers related to cyclists which are more limited and do not involve a power of arrest. As Gardaí may now issue fixed charge notices to cyclists, it is necessary to enhance Garda powers in dealing with cyclists. Section 107 is therefore being extended to cover cyclists as well as motorists, while section 108 remains in force.
Road Traffic Bill 2016
Amendment of section 7 of Principal Act – obligation on cyclists to give name and address etc. on demand to member of Garda Síochána 20. Section 107 (inserted by section 79 of the Act of 2010) of the Principal Act is amended— (a) in subsection (1) by inserting “or a pedal cycle” after “mechanically propelled vehicle”, and (b) in subsection (4) by inserting “or a pedal cycle” after “mechanically propelled vehicle”.
Road Traffic Act 2010
79.— The following section is substituted for section 107 of the Principal Act:
“107.— (1) Where a member of the Garda Síochána alleges to a person using a mechanically propelled vehicle that the member suspects that such person has committed a specified offence under this Act, the member may demand of such person his or her name and address and date of birth and may, if such person refuses or fails to give his or her name and address or date of birth or gives a name or address or date of birth which the member has reasonable grounds for believing to be false or misleading, arrest such person without warrant.
(2) Where a member of the Garda Síochána has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under this Act has been committed and that the vehicle in relation to which the offence was committed does not carry its identification mark under the Roads Act 1920 , section 131 (5) of the Finance Act 1992 or any other enactment, the member may arrest without warrant the person whom he or she has reasonable grounds for believing was using the vehicle when the offence was so believed to have been committed.
(3) Where a person, when his or her name and address or date of birth is demanded of him or her under this section, refuses or fails to give his or her name and address or date of birth or gives a name or address or date of birth which is false or misleading, such person commits an offence.
(4) Where a member of the Garda Síochána has reasonable grounds for believing that there has been an offence under this Act involving the use of a mechanically propelled vehicle—
(a) the owner of the vehicle shall, if required by the member, state whether he or she was or was not actually using the vehicle at the material time and, if he or she fails to do so, commits an offence,
(b) if the owner of the vehicle states that he or she was not actually using it at the material time, he or she shall give such information as he or she may be required by the member to give as to the identity of the person who was actually using it at that time and, if he or she fails to do so, commits an offence unless he or she shows to the satisfaction of the court that he or she did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who that person was, or
(c) any person other than the owner of the vehicle shall, if required by the member, give any information which it is in his or her power to give and which may lead to the identification of the person who was actually using the vehicle at the material time and, if he or she fails to do so, commits an offence.
(5) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000.”.
Road Traffic Act, 1961
108.—A member of the Garda Síochána may demand of a person in charge of a pedal cycle whom the member suspects of having committed any crime or offence or of having been concerned or involved in a collision or other event in a public place causing injury to person or property, the name and address of such person, and if such a person refuses or fails to give his name and address or gives a name or address which the member has reasonable grounds for believing to be false or misleading, the member may take the cycle, by force if necessary, and retain it until such time as he is satisfied as to the identity of such person.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: