From July 31th Gardai will be able to give €40 fines to those who break a number of laws while cycling in the Republic of Ireland.
This is to apply to 7 offenses, down from a draft list of 15 offences of a possible 36. The 7 offenses in the first phase of fines are:
- Cyclist driving a pedal cycle without reasonable consideration
- No front lamp or rear lamp lit during lighting-up hours on a pedal cycle
- Cyclist proceeding into a pedestrianised street or area;
- Cyclist proceeding past traffic lights when the red lamp is illuminated
- Cyclist proceeding past cycle traffic lights when red lamp is lit;
- Cyclist failing to stop for a School Warden sign
- cyclist proceeding beyond a stop line, barrier or half barrier at a railway level crossing, swing bridge or lifting bridge, when the red lamps are flashing.
The third offence, “Cyclist proceeding into a pedestrianised street or area”, is not understood to related to cycling on normal footpaths, which the minister for transport Paschal Donohoe said yesterday he was excluding from the fines system, although he said that more harmful cycling on footpaths can be viewed as “Cyclist driving a pedal cycle without reasonable consideration”.
Minister Donohoe said: “Following consultations with the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána, I have decided to extend the fixed charge notice system to cyclists for seven of the 36 existing road traffic offenses. These include breaking a red light, failure to have a front lamp or rear lamp lit during lighting-up hours and cycling without reasonable consideration. This new measure is intended to promote safe cycling practices and to discourage dangerous cycling.”
He added: “The introduction of fixed charge notices for motorists has been hugely successful in changing driver behaviour and I am confident that a similar change in behaviour and attitudes by cyclists who break the law will result following the introduction of this measure. While the majority of cyclists obey the rules of the road, unfortunately there are some who do not. As a committed cyclist myself, I am of the view that the introduction of fixed charge notices for cyclists will increase awareness among cyclists and reinforce the message that cyclists have a responsibility in relation to obeying road traffic law. It will also provide another enforcement measure for An Garda Síochána”
Minister Donohoe said: “Our pro-cycling policies are very successful and are resulting in a very significant increase in cycling. It is important that we seek to ensure that growth in cycling takes place on the basis of responsible cycling behaviour. Increased cycling will mean increased safety risks. Cyclists are vulnerable road users and it is important that we manage this risk though appropriate preventative measures rather than reactive measures later on.
“As part of the mid-term review of the National Cycle Policy Framework 2009-2020, I will further examine the legislation in force in relation to cyclists and to look at further pro-cycling measures that could be introduced. A number of proposals are being considered with a view to bringing these to public consultation in the autumn. Any changes to legislation will focus on enhancing the safety of cyclists and encouraging increased cycling numbers,” said he said.
Minister Donohoe added: “Through sustained investment in cycle lanes, Dublin Bikes and Coke Zero schemes in Cork, Limerick and Galway and the bike to work tax break we have a strategy in place to encourage more people to cycle on a more regular basis. We have seen huge increases in the numbers cycling into Dublin with over 10% increase each year for the past 2 years. Our investment in Greenways around the country will also introduce many families to cycling. The recent Bike Week was a great success which saw a great turn out of cyclists at hundreds of events around the country.”
“As part of the mid-term review of the National Cycle Policy Framework 2009-2020, I will further examine the legislation in force in relation to cyclists and to look at further pro-cycling measures that could be introduced. ”
A more specific safe overtaking law (a la staying alive at 1.5) and/or enforcement would be welcome if the minister is serious.
I think the department has got it right with these penalties, with the focus on the more dangerous transgressions. I like the sound of the first one as a catch-all for reckless cycling behavior. However, I expect this will be difficult to apply in practice. I also think the amount of penalty is about right. Some cycling websites had suggested €30-€35, so it’s not far off that.
The next challenge will be to change the behavior of pedestrians!