Transport minister Leo Varadkar has been asked to use a lower rate of the on-the-spot fines for cyclists given the lower danger presented by cyclists to the public.
Commonly known as on-the-spot fines, the fixed charges for cyclists which are due to be in place next Summer are aimed at addressing the issue that gardai can only sanction cyclists by summoning them to court. In a written Dail reply the minister said the current system is viewed as not representing “best use of either Garda or Court resources”.
The reply from Varadkar said:
“I will set that amount so as to give recognition to the offence itself and to encourage payment within the prescribed timeframes provided for under the legislation, thereby keeping those cases out of the courts.”
The parliamentary question was under the name of Gerry Adams (SF), it asked if a “lower rate on-the-spot fines” could be used which “would take into account the lower level of danger presented by cyclists to the public”.
The department of transport has previously said that: “No decision has been taken on the fines but they are likely to be €50 or higher – lower than equivalent motoring fines, but sufficiently high to act as a deterrent.”
Offenses such as breaking red lights and cycling in footpaths are expected to be covered but a full list of what cyclists could be fined for has yet to be published.
Read the full question and reply here.
I think €50 is the right amount. If the fine is to be a deterrent then it needs to be enough that people are afraid to incur it (enforcement issues aside) but not so much that it disproportionate to the risks posed by the infractor.
I have no problem with the whole idea of “on the spot fines”, but like most other traffic offences, I believe it will be another 9 day wonder. I fear it will be just like when penalty points were launched. If laws are made they have to be enforced, otherwise they fall into disrepute. In an uncommon display of fairness there will have to be an equal application of laws on all road users. So will on the spot fines be applied to road users in all cases or only the usual selective application? If cyclists are to be penalised for cycling on paths, will motorists be prosecuted for parking or driving on them too? Will motorists be prosecuted for driving through red lights if cyclists are to be? Will motorists be prosecuted for stopping in the cycle box in front of the white line at traffic lights or will it only be cyclists who are forced beyond the box such as a recent incident in the UK? Will Taxi drivers be prosecuted for speeding and driving in cycle lanes?
We have laws up the ying yang and seldom enforce them. Like I say, yet another 9 day wonder!
Kevin O’Farrell Very curious to see how fairly and proportionally these will be enforced. Will cyclists be treated much more harshly than other road users ? Given that was majority of offences go unpunished due to wholesale lack of enforcement, will these be used as another tool to stir up cycling hatred. All road users have to be treated equally in a non judgemental manner, otherwise there is no point to the exercise at all. We will have to wait and see what happens.
i’ve seen so many Gardaí cars by now that ignore the cyclist box at traffic lights, who drive-text or who stop on yellow boxes… if the enforcing body doesn’t adhere to the rules, why would anyone else?
But on the topic of the question: 50 quid seems ok for speeding on a path (serious risk to pedestrians) but too much for breaking a red light (depending on the traffic light and situation). Why? Because most traffiic lights in Dublin don’t make the least amount of sense. Maybe employ (additional jobs! hooray!) a few people to optimise the traffic light settings. There really is no need to have a 2 minute phase where all lights are red. Or if only the right turn for one lane is green, let the others cross where it is safe.
We would need to penalise j-walking (is that how it’s spelled?) as well. Pedestrians in Dublin are far too cocky when it comes to crossing where- and whenever they feel like it. If you cross during a red light on Dame street you will probably die – and rightly so. It isnt the car drivers fault. They should be careful, not omnipotent