Officials in the Department of Transport have drawn up 15 cycling-related road traffic offences which could be covered by on-the-spot fines, expected to be in places as early as next month. The fines are expected to be €50 or more.
The draft list which is subject to consultation with the Gardai and the Road Safety Authority, includes fines only for offences which already exist. No new offences will be created as part of the process. In legal terms, the offences related to “driving” a “pedal cycle” (or in every-day English: Cycling a bicycle).
The main stated goals of the change is act as a deterrent against reckless and inconvenient behaviour, and also to free up the time and resources of the Court system and Gardai, by giving accused offenders the chance to pay the fine rather than go to court.
The draft list of offences which will incur on-the-spot fines includes well-flagged offences such as no lights after the hours of darkness, running red lights, cycling on footpaths or pedestrianised streets, cycling on Luas tram lanes, and cycling or attempting to cycle while under the influence of an intoxicant.
A likely worry to campaigners is the inclusion of the offence of proceeding beyond a ‘No Pedal Cycles’ sign — there is little regulation covering the use of these signs which are yet-to-be used widely. To date the signs are mainly used on tunnels on non-motorway roads. In other countries similar signs are used to force people cycling to use off-road routes; although, so-call “mandatory use” of cycle lanes was only removed in Ireland in recent year.
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There will also be a fine for cycling “without reasonable consideration”, which is not well-defined in law.
The draft list also includes cycling more than two abreast, not cycling in single file when overtaking traffic, having no brakes on your bicycle, failing to stop for a school warden, and holding on to a vehicle which is in motion.
The above mentioned offences are included in what is viewed as the first phase of the roll-out of on-the-spot fines for cycling offences. The Department of Transport has a longer list of bicycle-related offences which could be used for this or future expansion of the fines. These future finable offences include: No rear reflector on a pedal cycle; failure to drive a pedal cycle on the left-hand side of each lane on a two-way cycle track; failure to drive a pedal cycle on the designated cycle lane of a shared track for pedal cycles and pedestrians; and driving a pedal cycle on a motorway.
UPDATE: Only seven offences were chosen to be included in the first phase, read about that here.