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Gardai refuse to fine driver who hit cyclist, says mother

Rock Road Street View
A view of the Rock Road from Google Street View

According to the mother of a female cyclist, who was left bloodied and confused in shock on the side of the road, Gardai have chosen not prosecute or fine the taxi driver who crashed into her daughter because his car was not travelling at speed and that the collision was a “misjudgement”.

The taxi driver – who had a client in his car – stopped and gave his details to the cyclist, but continued on without phoning for medical or police help. The cyclist’s mother said that the woman was left bleeding with facial injuries and crying on the side of the road.

The woman, Patrica Delmonte, told RTE’s Liveline earlier today that her daughter was hit when she was cycling in a cycle lane on the Rock Road in Dublin.  She said her daughter was without a phone and in a “terrified” in a state of shock fearing another car may hit her.

A passer-by stopped and called the gardai.

Delmonte told Liveline presenter Joe Duffy that the garda said the driver had ‘misjudged’ the overtake of the cyclist and this is not considered as dangerous driving.

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Bus and cycle lane signs on the Rock Road

“I was talking to the police man who was very kind and was being very helpful, but he said the taxi driver could not be fined for dangerous driving as he was not driving fast,” said Delmonte.

“I thought that was quite shocking that misjudging would not be considered dangerous driving even though this man was a professional driver,” the woman said.

She said it was a worry that the situation was not taken seriously.

The cycle lanes on the section of the Rock Road where the woman was hit – described as near Blackrock College – are within bus lanes. As with many bus lanes of this type around Dublin, the space inside the bus lane varies, but often it is not sufficient for overtaking without taxis or buses having to at least partly leave the bus lane.

Regular cycling commuters who use the Rock Road complain of frequent close passes by taxis.

The Dublin Cycle Campaign said on Facebook this evening that even if it was not dangerous driving, it could have been counted as dangerous overtaking which comes with 2 penalty points plus an €80 fine.

“What disappoints us is that the investigating Garda stated that it was due to a ‘misjudgement’ by a professional driver and he would be taking no action,” the campaign said.

MORE: Liveline podcast (part 1, December 11, 2013)

 

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8 comments

  1. Is there a possibility that a Civil action could be taken against this Driver and sue him for dangerous driving. That Guard should be reported for not doing his job. Lots of Taxi drivers passing to close to Cyclists for many years. Should they not be allowed to drive on Bus Lanes as they cannot be trusted to drive safely. Lots of times they have pulled in suddenly to pick up fares without looking for Cyclists ,it has happened to me loads of times. Also making sudden U Turns in front of Cyclists..

    Reply
  2. Too many taxi drivers either have no idea how to behave safely near cyclists or seem to have a dangerous contempt for them.

    This taxi driver is surely guilty of leaving the scene of a collision at least?
    Garda Traffic are always tweeting about driving with due care and consideration for other road users being a requirement. Where was the due care in this case?
    Nobody should drive in such a manner that a mistake from them or anybody else endangers a life.

    I cannot understand the thought process which allows this type of behaviour to go unpunished. If you injure someone through a misjudgement have you not injured them? Are you not responsible for their injury? If you kill somebody through a misjudgement are you now not responsible for their death? Or does it take a death before the Gardaí are obliged to defer to a higher authority? Are we to believe that anything less and it is up to the particular Garda to make judgement?

    These bicycle lanes in the bus lane are a joke and encourage bad passing behaviour. The dept of transport and the local authority should be ashamed.

    This Garda has not served the public interest. He/She has served only to reinforce some misguided notions – namely that cyclists are less important than motorist and that motorists do not need to worry about making mistakes. The RSA, the Dept of Transport and the Local Authorities must tackle these dangerous notions!

    Reply
  3. I hope the family do decide to take a civil case – maybe worth trying to crowd-fund one? If every cyclist in Dublin who has ever been left feeling shaky after a dangerous overtake put a few Euro into the pot…

    Seems like the ‘misjudgement’ was that the driver actually hit the cyclist when his intention had been to pass dangerously close without colliding with her. It may or not be the case that this particular driver should be prosecuted for dangerous driving (or at least fined for dangerous overtaking). But that’s a bit speculative on my part, and I’m relucant to criticize the Gardai over a decision taken in an individual case. I accept that they have to assess how robust the evidence is before they can take anything forward, and that minor technical issues can sometimes preclude what strikes me as the only logical course of action.

    But on a more general level, it seems that a crackdown on dangerous overtaking (of cyclists in particular) is more than overdue. If the guards collect the evidence themselves, with high-quality equipment (cameras and sensors) then it will be robust enough (a) to show drivers exactly what they have done and (b) to stand up in court if drivers are prosecuted or get FPN and appeal them. I would sugest teams of 3. One plain-clothes garda on an unmarked bike with cameras, sensors and a radio, and two uniformed gardai further up the road in a traffic corps car to stop dangerous drivers identified by Cop 1, wave them into a side street to park, show them the video evidence and have a chat/issue a ticket/start the ball rolling for a prosecution.

    Is this already happening? (Anybody know how many fines for dangerous overtaking have been issued recently?) If so, great. If not, Rock Road might be a good place to start.

    Reply
  4. his car was not travelling at speed and that the collision was a “misjudgement”

    – the implication here is that a motorist would only be prosecuted in this situation if there was proof that they had run down a cyclist intentionally? thats just scary!

    Reply

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