Department of Transport officials said yesterday that they only have three documents to support the claim that the legislation which revoked mandatory use of cycle tracks is incorrect — but one of these has no detailed information and the department refuses to release the other two.
The department’s claim made to this website earlier this year is contradicted by the explanatory note under the relevant 2012 regulations, a departmental press office statement just before the regulations were introduced and a Dail statement by the then Minister of Transport Leo Varadkar which said it was Government Policy to remove mandatory use. While transport minister, Varadkar accepted praise for changing the law and revoking mandatory use.
The records that the Department of Transport refuses to release under a Freedom of Information request are “Email from Garda National Roads Policing Bureau – 13 May 2015” and “Director of Public Prosecutions response to queries – May 2015.”
The department released a document called “Minutes of Legislative Meeting with Garda National Roads Policing Bureau – 10 December 2015”, but this document only contains the following releveled information:
The only other information in the document not redacted — because it was related to other issues — was the names of those who attended the meeting:
Under the Freedom of Information request IrishCycle.com has requested:
“The release of any and all records which support the Department of Transport claim that the explanatory note of SI 332 of 2012 incorrect, as stated by the Department’s press office: “The explanatory note attached to the 2012 Regulation is incorrect in stating that only use of contraflow cycle track and of any cycle track in pedestrianised area is mandatory” (email from PressOffice@dttas.ie dated July 11, 2016 at 12:10).”
IrishCycle.com is awaiting a response relating to an Access to Information on Environment request for the same information.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transport has repeated their claim that the mandatory use law was not revoked in a reply to a written parliamentary question.
The reply — published on KildareStreet.com — was in the name of Minister Shane Ross and was to a question by TD Maria Bailey (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael). Deputy Bailey asked: “If it is still mandatory that cyclists use cycle lanes in all cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Minister Ross said: “The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 set out the current law in relation to the use of cycle tracks. These Regulations were amended in 2012 by article 16(e) of the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulation 2012 as follows:”
The 2012 regulations were then quoted:
- “(4) A pedal cycle shall be driven on a cycle track where-
- (a) a cycle track is provided on a road, a portion of a road, or an area at the entrance to which traffic sign number RUS 021 (pedestrianised street or area) is provided, or
- (b) a cycle track is a contra-flow cycle track where traffic sign number RUS 059 is provided and pedal cycles shall only be driven in a contra-flow direction on such track.”
Then the reply in Minister Ross’s name continues: “To set it out as clearly as possible: a pedal cycle shall be driven on a cycle track where a cycle track is provided on a road; a pedal cycle shall be driven on a cycle track where a cycle track is provided on a portion of a road and a pedal cycle shall be driven on a cycle track where a cycle track is provided on an area at the entrance to which traffic sign number RUS 021 (pedestrianised street or area) is provided.”
Legal sources, however, have said that the department’s new reading of the regulations does not make sense given the lack of separate clauses to cover different situations, as well as what is said in the explanatory note, and the ministerial intent. Sources say that section (4) (a) should be viewed as only relating to different types of pedestrianised roads, sections of roads which are pedestrianised and areas which are pedestrianised.
In a statement which brings the department view back to when the last Government decided to change the law, Ross added: “My officials are currently reviewing the Department’s policy with regard to the mandatory use of cycle tracks and are consulting with the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána to seek their views. Before any amendments might be made to the Regulations with regard to the mandatory use of cycle lanes, I wish to satisfy myself that any such measures strike an appropriate balance between the view.”
Cycle tracks sure are top-secret things. The RSA can’t tell you who told them that cars are allowed to pull in on mandatory tracks, and now we can’t see why a new SI was passed that was way longer than the original but meant the same thing, while hoodwinking everyone into thinking the law had changed.
I’m afraid, in light of their refusal to show their work,I have no choice but to assume they are lying.
However it seems they get to say whatever they want so let’s humour their attitude and REVOKE MANDATORY USE NOW!
I didn’t think the 10% funding protests were a good idea but I would certainly go to a protest to REVOKE MANDATORY USE (for real this time) NOW (or again, whatever).
Good man Cian.
ffs, they’re a joke, and unfortunately they’re in charge.
In charge, costing us money, but not doing anything that our eyes should see even if it is supposed to confirm whether we are acting within the law or breaking it. Nuts!
Eric’s comment made me laugh out loud!
If they meant to force use on every road, the si would have stopped at the first comma, as anything after is already included in the definition of road, from the statute
Thanks Cian for showing the forked-tongues prattling here.
Everything to do with cycling provision, promotion and road safety is a shambles within the DoTTAS/RSA/Garda/DPP axis. They are clueless about cycling simply because the are car drivers to a man-jack.
I think it would be of interest to establish who placed this item on the agenda or raised it at the meeting. Did it come as a “suggestion” or “question” from the Garda or as a point of information from the DTTAS? If the action is “DTTAS to examine” then this suggests it may have been offered as their interpretation of the law by the Garda representives.
And to speculate on where that might go. If this takes on the appearance of serving members of the Garda conducting their own appointments in a manner calculated to undermine the intent of the lawfully elected minister, then this might fall under the classification of members of the force engaging in political activity. To my knowledge that would be contrary to the Garda discipline regulations.
Just to put on record that Cyclist.ie – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – met with the new Garda National Traffic Bureau Chief Reid two weeks ago and we raised the issue of who had pushed for the ‘re-interpretation’.
We were informed that it did not come AGS.