Claimed mandatory use of cycle track law flaw was found when fines were introduced 

IMAGE: If mandtory use of cycle tracks is still in place there is no direct written provision to avoid cycle lanes, such as the example above where the cycle lanes ends in the same location as motorists traveling ahead are pushed to the roadside kerb.

Advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions via the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau was central to the Department of Transport coming to the view that mandtory use of cycle tracks was not revoked, a parliamentary question has confirmed.

Gardai informed the Department of Transport of advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in advance of the new on-the-spot fines for cyclists which were introduced in August 2015. The communications is that which the department refuses to release under freedom of information legislation.

Not using a cycle track was in the original list of 15 offences which could be covered under the new fines system. The list of 15 were eventually cut down to 7, although it is still open to gardai to bring cyclists to court for the other potential offences.

The latest news came after Eamon Ryan, Green Party leader and Dublin TD, asked a parliamentary question on the issue of if the Garda National Roads Policy Bureau and the Director of Public Prosecutions communicated with his department in May 2015 in relation to SI 332 of 2012 which removed the legal obligation on cyclists to use certain cycle facilities; and if so, the reason for these communications.

A written response under the name of Shane Ross, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: “The Garda National Roads Policing Bureau (GNRPB) communicated with my Department in May 2015 in relation to SI 332 of 2012. This communication referenced advice received by the GNRPB from the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

Theministerial response added: “The reason for this communication arose due to work by my Department and the GNRPB on the introduction of fixed charge notices for certain cycling offences, including offences relating to cycle tracks.”

8 Comments

  1. This doesn’t explain anything. What was it about the introduction of the fines for cyclists in relation to road offences that overturned the legislation supported by Leo Varadker in regards to cycle lanes? What was this advice, exactly, by the director of public prosecutions? And how does it affect the intent of the legislation that was supported by Leo Varadker? What was the problem with the legislation? None of this has been answered. All we now know is that somebody said there’s a problem and that people on bikes still have to use cycle lanes. This is totally bonkers.

    And why was none of this said by anybody before this parliamentary question? Instead we heard some vague and barmy stuff about misplaced commas! Does anyone actually know their arse from their elbow in the responsible departments.

  2. Deeply troubling revelation that answers nothing about the ‘comma’ as Citizewn Wolf observes.
    Since these state bodies still can’t sort out adding points to drivers’ licenses after court appearances there is no hope for us!

  3. Could it be that, when they received the list, the DPP pointed out that compulsory cycle tracks had already been revoked? So then rather than admit a mistake and amend the list, the DoTTS tried to come up with some formulation to “prove” the DPP incorrect?

  4. It seems very peculiar. Correct me if I’m wrong but the powers that be wanted “Not using the perfectly good cycle lane that the tax payers provided for you” to be one of the fixed penalty offences. The DPP then provided information that, contrary to general opinion at the time and the wishes of the minister, this was indeed an offence. Then somehow this offence doesn’t make it on to the list of fixed penalty notice offences?

    It seems odd to miss out on that opportunity given how hot certain parties seem to be to punish cyclists who do not use these things. I would very much like to know why this got dropped from the list. I kind of suspect that they didn’t want to open a can of worms relating to whether the cycle lanes are actually legal (not having the correct signage) or are properly maintained or when exactly a cyclist who wants to turn right is allowed leave the provided cycle lane when this only goes straight ahead.

  5. Eric brings up a good point: when on a cycle-lane, and you want to cross the road to turn right (let’s say it’s a minor side road & not a major junction with traffic signals). Does a mandatory cycle lane law mean that you have to stay on the cycle-lane until it runs out, and then double-back down the other side of the road and turn left at the point you wanted to get to? I know this seems preposterous, but isn’t that the logical conclusion of a mandatory cycle-lane law?

    I’d also like to bring up another point: Last year the Gards decided, (without proper authority, AFAIK), to use the cycle-lanes on the Alfie Byrne Road as a bus parking lot. If cycle lane use is mandatory, then do they somehow have to become equal in status to proper carriageways and therefore subject to all the rights of carriageways ie you can’t just shut them down without good reason, and you have to follow due procedure when you do shut them down.

    And back to the original point of all this: We still don’t have an answer as to why the legislation brought in under the watch of Leo Varadker is null and void (according to the director of public prosecutions). What exactly is the legal advice? Why is the legislation not valid? What was the nonsense about the comma, and why didn’t the minister mention that in his Dail response?

  6. Since the information that was already obtained is secret then perhaps the only solution is for someone, a TD most likely, to ask the same question again. Are cycle lanes mandatory in all cases? If yes then under what circumstances is it legal for a cyclist to not use a cycle lane? What does this law actually say in plan English?

  7. I think that Eric has managed to get to the nub of the issue, and quite likely the reason for the original decision to make cycle lane use non-mandatory as well as the whole confusing debacle that has ensued since then. If cycle lane use is to be mandatory, the cycle lanes themselves must be properly designed and fully integrated into the existing traffic infrastructure. Otherwise it is entirely unworkable as there are so many problems the hopelessly inadequate existing network. Hence the fudge, obfuscation and nonsense from the DOT.

  8. Yes, but now according to DoT – they ARE mandatory….

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