Fianna Fáil transport spokesman wants cyclists to wear helmets at all times

— And continues push for mandatory high-vis vests for pedestrians.

Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Robert Troy has said he intends to suggest attaching a minimum passing distance law the Road Traffic Bill 2017, but he also wants mandatory helmets for cyclists and high-vis for pedestrians.

His party are also opposing mandatory disqualification for lower-levels of drink driving — the main point of the bill.

According to the Dail record on KildareStreet.com, Robert Troy yesterday said: “This is an opportunity to tackle the scourge that is cyclist and the significant number of cyclists involved in fatalities this year. I intend to table an amendment that will ensure there is a minimum required passing distance for cars overtaking cyclists. I hope the Minister will support it.”

He directly added: “It should be mandatory for all cyclists to wear a helmet at all times. I have already discussed with the Minister the need for pedestrians to wear high-visibility jackets on unlit roads. That is another amendment which I will bring forward on Committee Stage. The Minister shares my concern and supported me when I raised the matter previously. This is an opportunity to address the issue.”

On Twitter this morning, he clarified that he meant the scourge that is cyclist’s deaths, not cyclists themselves. He tweeted: “My apologies if it came across I was anti cyclists 🚴 – I was referring to the scourge of cycling deaths & we must use this bill to address.”

Responding on Twitter, the junior minister for diaspora and international development, Ciaran Cannon said that he would be deeply grateful for a safe passing distances law, but mandatory helmets and hi-vis would have a “seriously detrimental effect” on cycling. Cannon was an advocate for cycling before he became a junior minister.

On Twitter this afternoon, Minister Cannon said: “Robert, I and all members of Ireland’s cycling community would be deeply grateful to you for proposing an amendment to provide for safe passing distances. It would be truly groundbreaking and would enhance cyclist safety overnight.”

He added: “The other proposed amendments re helmets and hi-vis would have a seriously detrimental effect on cyclist numbers nationally and this has been proven by experience in other jurisdictions. They would also unjustly shift blame for accidents on to our cyclists.”

POLL: Would you accept mandatory helmets and high-vis for cycling in return for a minimum overtaking distance law? Answer on Twitter.

The Road Traffic Bill is focused on removing a designed loophole which allows drivers avoid getting automatically disqualified when caught drink driving with between 50 and 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, drunk drivers in that range can choose to accept three penalty points.

Transport minister Shane Ross said: “The Bill will remove this anomaly. In place of the relatively trivial three penalty points, there will be a three-month disqualification. This is a short period but it is a disqualification. It is short because it is in the lowest bracket of those over the alcohol limit. Anything less would simply say – as the law so regrettably does at present – that a little alcohol over the legal limit before driving is not a serious matter.”

Fianna Fáil have objected to an automated disqualification suggested a €500 fine and five penalty points instead.

Deputy Troy said: “What the Minister and my party differ on is not the fact it is illegal, because currently that is what is in law, but on the sanctions that apply to motorists found to have a blood alcohol level in excess of 50 mg.”

He added: “The Minister portrays this legislation cynically in suggesting it will make a huge difference. He portrays Fianna Fáil as being soft on the issue. For this small category, we do not believe it is proportionate, in that somebody who has done the right thing and who took a taxi home the night before but who may be marginally over the limit the following morning, having done everything right, could potentially lose his or her driving licence for three months. As a consequence of this, such people could lose their job, which would have a huge impact on their family.”

10 Comments

  1. For this small category, we do not believe it is proportionate, in that somebody who has done the right thing and who didn’t take advantage of the drunk and comatose woman and rape her while she slept. But having done everything right the previous night, and who the next morning may be marginally stupid, and gropes the woman’s breasts and grabs her pussy, could potentially lose his or her reputation as a decent human being, which would have a huge impact on their family.

    Would ye ever feck off with yer utter garbage. Don’t drive while there’s alcohol in your system. If there’s any doubt, just don’t do it. It’s f*cking simple.

    And of course, mandatory chastity belts and tight jeans for all the women, so that they can’t be raped by the rapists. And if the rapists do rape them, well, sure, they weren’t wearing their chastity belts, now were they. Sure it was their own fault.

  2. Would this minimum passing distance law be enforced in any way? I’m just wondering because I suspect it would not be, not only because of lack of interest but also because of the difficulty of proving the offence in court.

    We’re really being asked if we are willing to accept a law which will discourage a lot of cycling (and have very questionable effects on cyclist safety) in exchange for some magic beans.

    Here’s some things I would trade mandatory helmets (and mandatory high viz for when I’m walking) for:-

    Mandatory black box recorders for cars which would be used to show the motorist’s actions and speed for a period before every accident.

    Offences such as dangerous and careless driving to be eliminated and existing laws used instead. For instance if someone kills a pedestrian because they went through a red light while speeding and on their phone they should be charged with and convicted of manslaughter not give a few points and a fine. Someone who drives at a cyclist to “teach them a lesson” should be charged with attempted murder.

    Anyone found driving while disqualified should have their car seized and be imprisoned for not less than six months instead of the current system where they get given another disqualification.

    Let me know when any of those deals are on offer. I won’t hold my breath.

  3. Clark in Vancouver November 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Don’t fall for it. Look at Australia. They added bigger fines for lack of wearing a helmet tied in with a bill that gave a passing distance. People thought it was worth it. The result is that people are fined huge amounts when cycling and the passing distance is rarely enforced.

    The bill about drunk driving needs to not be mixed up with something unrelated tagged onto it.

    This is just a scam to get everyone else out of the way of cars. Somebody needs to tell this guy that the 20th century is over.

  4. I agree with Eric et al. As with most “Legislation” that exits on this little pebble off the west coast of civilisation, it’s enforcement that’s needed, not more words on paper! Banks are not really supposed to screw the country into oblivion, motorists are not supposed to break speed limits and An Garda Siochana are supposed to be a police force. Welcome to Oireland, land of make believe and BS!

  5. If they pass a law like this I will not obey it, I will break it in front of the Garda Station on Farnham Street Cavan, if fined I will refuse to pay and will go to jail. When out of jail I will break it again and repeat. I have been a rural commuter cyclist for five years and being endangered by motorists is part of my daily life, as is listening to ill informed BS from politicians and commentators.

    I long ago accepted the sad reality that as a rural commuter cyclist nobody in a position of power gives a damn about me or my safety, and that if I am killed by a motorist (whether drunk, hapless, reckless, incompetent or distracted) there will be no justice for me or my loved ones. I have sadly accepted this as part of my daily existence but I will not accept the imposition of idiotic victim blaming laws. The rest of you cyclists may do as you wish, but I will resist the passing and implementation of any such laws with all means at my disposal.

    I am going to write to my FF TD Niamh Smith stating all the above. I will also be pointing out that as a daily cyclist I will never occupy a bed in Cavan General being treated for an obesity related illness, and that when the cheque is written to pay our carbon emission fine, my bicycle rides won’t be part of it. Like the man in the film many years ago I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.

  6. This is moronic and backward like most Fianna Fail proposals.

  7. Good man Kevin. Well said! Join us on an iBike action at some point. We’re always looking for people willing to act.

  8. If a change in the law is the right thing to do then it should be done without bringing any other situation into consideration .There should not be a trade off between popular and unpopular laws .Just do what is right and stop posturing

    Ps as a cyclist I fear I may not sleep very well if I must wear a helmet at all times .

  9. Since more people get head injuries from travelling in a car then cycling shouldnt helmets be compulsory for motorists,it maybe an inconvenience but it would sure save lives .

  10. How about hi-vis for cars first! Ban black, grey, silver & dull coloured cars and make all car head lights permanently on.
    Insurance statistics show that white and brightly coloured cars are involved in 10% fewer crashes than black and dull coloured cars. Also most car drivers don’t realise that head lights are not just for the driver to better see the road but for other road users to better see the car coming in the shadows and poor lighting. Fewer pedestrians and cyclists would be hit if they could better see the speeding cars coming at them.
    As for helmets for people on bicycles – nothing is worth introducing that short-sighted and damaging law. I’m an Australian and I used to get pulled over the cops often just for not wearing a helmet while the cops are ignoring all the drivers without head lights on after sunset, using mobile phones, speeding etc. etc. etc. Every week I get ar–holes in cars & even some on race bikes yelling at me “Where’s ya helmet!” or when I get into an argument with a car driver who just cut me off they just argue about I should be wearing a helmet.
    The easiest & cheapest proven way to improve improve safety for everyone is to reduce speed limits in urban areas so that some crashes can be avoided and the severity of crash injury is reduced. WHO reports that the chance of death for a pedestrian hit by a car at 30kmh is about 5%, at 40kmh its about 50% and at 60kmh its about 95%.

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