— Just 16 motorists stopped for invading bicycle advance stop boxes
— Gardai do not understand safety for people who cycle claims campaign
Gardai only fined 112 motorists for blocking cycle lanes in the same time period as officers stopped and fined bicycle users for 244 cycling-related offences.
The details of the numbers of motorists fined was released in response to a parliamentary question by independent TD Tommy Broughan. The time period relates to July 30 to September 30 of this year, the first two months of on-the-spot fines for cycling related offences, such as cycling past a red traffic light.
The answer from the Department of Justice revealed that 112 motorists were fined for parking in a cycle track during its period of operation in the two months in question — cycle tracks is the legal name for cycle lanes or cycle paths.
At many junctions where bicycles are given “advance stop boxes”, a space for bicycles only to wait before other traffic, this space is blocked by motorists once nearly every traffic light sequence. However, the parliamentary answer revealed that only 16 motorists were fined for invading a bicycle advance stop box or line at junctions by failing to bring their vehicles to a stop behind a primary stop-line.
Mike McKillen, chairman of Cyclist.ie, an umbrella group for most Irish cycling campaign, said: “It shows that An Garda Siochana does not understand road safety for people who cycle in that members fail to interdict drivers who are impacting negatively on the safety of cyclists.”
Opinions among cycling campaigners on-the-spot fines for cyclists is mixed, but even some of those who support the fined say that the low level of enforcement for often dangerous parking in cycle lanes highlight the lack of priority given to safety of bicycle users.
This is made worse by the perception that Gardai give a high level of priority to keeping motoring traffic free-flowing — seasoned campaigners point out that “improve traffic flow” used to be a stated high-level aim of the Garda Traffic Corps, sometimes listed before the goal of enforcing road traffic legislation. Cars or vans parked on cycle lanes and footpaths don’t block other motorists.
This year people who cycle across Ireland have taken to Twitter to highlight parking in cycle lanes using the #FreeTheCycleLanes hastag. And then, in June, the Corp’s official Twitter account responded to an image of DHL vans parked in a cycle lane and on a footpath by stating: “vehicles are given latitude of genuinely making a delivery & no facilities are available”.
The department said that the figures are “provisional, operational and subject to change”.