READ OUR UPDATE HERE: Cycling on footpaths removed from planned on-the-spot fines
There will be no exemption for to the law which makes cycling on footpaths illegal, the minister for transport, tourism and sport has said in response to a parliamentary question asking if there were plans to exclude “very young or hearing impaired cyclists”.
Cycling on footpaths is already illegal in Ireland (expect shared use paths marked with signs, as pictured above) –, however changes are soon expected to allow offenders to be fined with on-the-spot fines. Currently Gardai have to summons offenders to a district court — which is seen as a waste of Garda and Court resources, and a waste of time for all involved.
Some cycling campaigners and people who cycle on the footpath claim they do so because it is safer and they are intimated off the roads by motorists. In the absence of off-road cycle paths, primary school children around the country generally use footpaths to cycle to school.
Minister Paschal Donohoe (Fine Gael) said: “I do not believe that a change in the law to allow some cyclists to use footpaths is an appropriate response.”
He was responding to Seán Kenny TD (Labour), who asked the minister for transport of his plans “to allow exemptions for very young or hearing impaired cyclists to use footpaths; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Fines had not expected to apply to children under 12, as younger children are currently generally exempted from criminal responsibility, including minor. But the written reply under the minister’s name did not mention this.
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The minister said that the law on the issue of cycling on footpaths is at present as set out in the Roads Act 1993 and that “specifies that footpaths are for the use of pedestrians”.
Donohoe said: “Safety is my highest priority in all areas of transport. When it comes to road safety, certain road users are especially vulnerable, including pedestrians and cyclists. Both my Department and the Road Safety Authority have pursued and are continuing to pursue a wide range of measures to improve safety for all road users, and in particular for those who are most vulnerable. These include infrastructural improvements through funding for the provision of cycle lanes and educational initiatives to improve awareness of the safety of cyclists, among both cyclists and motorists.”
He added: “However, I do not believe that a change in the law to allow some cyclists to use footpaths is an appropriate response. This would take some cyclists off the road, but at the price of creating more risk for pedestrians. It would also be difficult to enforce a situation in which some cyclists were allowed on footpaths and others not. I have therefore no plans to amend the legislation on usage of footpaths at this time.”