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.
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.
I’m a big fan of on the spot fines for cycling offences in general, I hope the enforcement is fair though. For example apparently in New York the cops have been known to park their car in the cycle lane and then ticket cyclists who go around them.
I wasn’t aware that there was such an offence as “drunk cycling”. I thought the legislation related to that was specific to motor vehicles.
The only thing I am likely to fall foul of is the highlighted “No pedal cycles” signs. I’m not going to get off and walk because some workers have taken over the cycle lane and the powers that be think cycling in the road shouldn’t be an option.
block the city every day in protest. they might listen then bet most of the people making the rules drive :) i see it a degradation of my constitutional rights. look at the RSA rules of the road which are a contradiction of the road traffic act (road traffic act regarding cycle lanes) I ask all cyclists to make documentation of how we are discriminated against compared to motorists. its big dog kicking the shit out of little dog or is it the cars sales lobby groups behind all this investigate them.
Im a cyclist an Im delighted to see this in , Im fed up of having no recourse against students who cycle the wrong way in cycle lanes in Galway, they cant see the traffic lights which are obviously set up for people cycling and riving on the correct side of the road ! Ive seen stuents abuse drivers several times just because they are on a bike when they are completely in the wrong !!
I cycle for many reasons but one big one is because it’s the only affordable mode of transport available to me. I’ve had my lights robbed or batteries run dead a few times – and I definitely can’t afford to pay another 50 quid before buying a new set of lights if caught by chance by gardai before getting them. €50 (or more?!) is way too much.
These rules are straight forward and if cyclists abide by them there will be far more mutual respect on the roads between drivers and cyclists. It’s a bit rich to suggest that those imposing the rules are drivers. I would suggest those breaking the rules aren’t and that those people don’t understand the danger they cause. I’d add not cycling down a one way street in the wrong direction and use of mobile phones while cycling. As a pedestrian I’ve found this to be dangerous on a few occasions.
Seeing that Gardai rarely intervene in any traffic violations now, I see absolutely no impact of these new measures. Today I saw a Gardai doing a U-turn on a motorbike and he was unable to make it because there was an illegally parked car (on a bicycle lane even). He just pushed back to continue the turn and was on his way. For a minute I though he was going to address this with the driver who was in the car but it was probably to much bother.
I am all for law enforcement, if only because I see so little of it. I know there are good and bad road users on bikes and in vehicles, but if the Gardai are out there trying to catch the odd cyclist that transgresses the rules of the road they will hopefully end up nailing all those motorists that routinely, speed, break red lights, encroach into cycling lanes and drive while texting and making calls on mobiles.
Nah, it’ll just be another 9 day wonder. The impact of penalty points was notable when they were introduced, then motorists realised it was not going to be enforced so went back to the usual bad behavior.
By the way, I think it is an offence to push a bike at night without lights, so be careful if you get your lights nicked, it could be topped up with a fine.
To the cyclist who complain about these fines, wake up, all we want as motorists and pedestrians is for cyclist to obey the same rules as we do. As a pedestrian I was almost hit twice this evening alone on grafton street a pedestrian street!! Once by the annoying rickshaw muppets and then by a cyclist traveling at speed through the busy street. As a motorist I have almost hit cyclists on a few occasions where they have come off a pavement and across the street without looking for the car that has the right of way or where they are on dark roads with no lights or hiviz vest to illuminate them. So cop on cyclists you have every right to use the road but obey the rules or pay the price and that price may be your life or a modest fine of €50.
As far as enforcement goes hopefully it will be reasonable. We all know that that vast majority of traffic offences go unpunished. I imagine that this new legislation will generally be used only on egregious offenders, much the same way that it currently works with motorists.
LiadainKaminska, as far as excuses go “I can’t afford to obey the rules” is a fairly pitiful one. Don’t leave your lights on the bike. LEDs give lots of warning when the battery is getting low so replace it when the light dims instead of waiting for it to die completely. I don’t think you have any excuse.
John Murphy, what makes you think it is an offence to push a bike with no lights? Is there some specific legislation you have in mind?
A couple of questions on this:
1. Will penalty points be issued to cyclists who hold a driver’s license?
2. Where will the money collected go? (Where does the money from penalty points go? Does it fund the RSA?)
3. Regarding cycling while under the influence of an intoxicant, is the limit the same as for drivers?
4. Are cycle users required to submit for blood alcohol testing as per motorists?
As pointed out, most traffic offences go unpunished, and most are not recorded. The most likely place where these fines will be applied is in city centres, where there are high volumes of cyclists.
If there are to be campaigns of enforcement, there should be proportionately greater campaigns enforcing motoring laws to reflect the greater modal share and higher danger posed. The fines for motoring offenses should also be an order of magnitude greater than those for cycling, in line with the higher energy involved. Ideally, fines should also be sized according to the offender’s income, as in Switzerland and Finland. This would be a fairer system.
S Boles, The enforcement talks about on the spot fines of €50 for any offence, Penalty points are not being mentioned in relation to cyclists as there is no requirement for a licence so how would that work. Monies collected from fines will just go back into the general govt pool I’m sure. With regard to cycling while intoxicated I am sure the offence will be cycling with out due care and attention rather than being intoxicated and the fine will be €50 not a ban as per motorists so blood alcohol or breath tests will not be required. Remember these are on the spot fines the same as illegal parking or speeding for motorists and they will only end up in court if you choose to argue your case or fail to pay the fine where a bench warrant will be issued and you could face the embarrassment of being arrested and brought straight to Mount joy for non paying of a fine.
what road traffic offences by motorists carry on the spot 50euro fines?
According to this PDF from the RSA there are none:-
The vast majority are either €60 or €80
The Gardai should do more to combat bicycle theft, but there’s no revenue in doing that.
Hi HivemindX, in respect to “what makes you think it is an offence to push a bike with no lights? Is there some specific legislation you have in mind?”, I came across it surfing the net late one night but I can’t recollect where. It might not have been for this jurisdiction. Sorry if I caused confusion. I’ll keep looking.
On the first point I raised above, it seems entirely possible that penalty points could be issued to cyclists. The following quote about our points system (also known as a Demerit Point System or DPS) is included in a document on the RSA website:
“Our system allows you to deal with people that don’t have a licence because points are attached to licence record rather than licence itself so when someone applies for licence or exchanges licence
point will be waiting for them [sic].”
http://rsa.ie/Documents/Licensed%20Drivers/bestpointDocs/Deliverable_WP1_revision_2_fin_20120227.pdf (page 31.)
The BestPoint Handbook, an EU guide to implementing DPSs has the following suggestions: “… the system does not have to be limited to offences committed as a driver or rider; it could also include offences committed e.g. as pedestrian. Severe offences committed by non-motorised road users without a valid driving licence – be it as pedestrians, cyclists or while (illegally) driving powered vehicle – could be kept on file in order to, for example, issue special restrictions if such a person applies for a driving licence at a later date.”
http://rsa.ie/Documents/Licensed%20Drivers/bestpointDocs/BPHandBook.pdf (page 18)
Regarding points 3 and 4 (on cycling or attempting to cycle under the influence of an intoxicant) the relevant legislation is here:
According to a Dail discussion on the issue, there is no requirement to submit for a urine test but a cyclist may be asked to undergo a roadside breath-test:
“Deputy Noel Dempsey: Section 6 of the Bill provides that a person shall not drive or attempt to drive an animal drawn vehicle or a pedal cycle while under the influence of an intoxicant to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control, and the penalties are stipulated for that offence. However, the requirement in legislation to undergo a breath test, other than a preliminary test at the roadside, or to provide a specimen of blood or urine, applies only to those found in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant.”