UPDATED: Fianna Fail TD Jack Chambers was not asking the minister for transport for on-the-spot fines to be introduced for “dangerous cycling on footpaths”, a spokesman for Chambers said this afternoon.
“Jack was not calling for the introduction of fixed penalty charges for dangerous cycling. On foot of a query from a constituent, Jack asked the new Minister for Transport if he was planning to introduce the charges. However the question was wrongly reworded by the Oireachtas which misrepresented the original question. Jack has requested the Oireachtas correct the record,” said Sam Griffin, Parliamentary Assistant to Jack Chambers TD.
The wording of the original of the parliamentary question, found via kildarestreet.com, asked the minister “…if he will continue with the phased introduction of fixed charge penalties for dangerous cycling on footpaths, the resources available for a public information campaign to highlight the penalties for dangerous cycling; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Cycling on footpaths was in a draft list of possable on-the-spot fines, but the previous transport actively moved to exclude them from the fines system before it was launched last year.
A written reply in the name of transport minister Shane Ross said: “I am in favour of measures to encourage greater take-up of cycling and I would have a concern that bringing the offence of cycling on a footpath into the Fixed Charge Notice system could well discourage families who cycle to school with their young children from doing so. In addition, I believe that in certain circumstances it could be appropriate and necessary for cyclists to use footpaths when there is (unspecified) danger on the road.”
He added: “These were considerations that were taken into account when the original decision not to include cycling on the footpath as a fixed charge notice offence was made last year, and I believe these reasons for not doing so are still valid. The inclusion of the offence of ‘cycling without reasonable consideration’, which is one of the seven cycling offences for which fixed charge notices can be issued, will allow An Garda Síochána to deal with those who are cycling in a reckless, aggressive or even dangerous manner on footpaths.”
“The Road Safety Authority have confirmed to my Department that they will continue to promote the fixed charge penalties that apply to cyclists through media relations activity (particularly around the time of Bike week, held every year in June) and through their extensive social media presence online throughout the year,” Ross concluded.