Cameras on buses could be used to keep Irish bus and cycle lanes clear

Bus-mounted cameras could be used to keep bus and cycle lanes clear, if a proposed amendment Road Traffic Acts goes ahead.

National Transport Authority (NTA) said it views that a law change is needed for the BusConnects programme planned for Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. NTA spokesman Dermot O’Gara said: “We have said that we believe that BusConnects will require camera enforcement of bus lanes. We believe legislation is required and we are pursuing that.”

He said the NTA will take a look at the Fianna Fail Private Members’ bill published this week.

Internationally camera-enforcement is done using a mix of fixed cameras, and cameras mounted on buses or on special enforcement cars. It is viewed as more sustainable and effective than having police officers ‘on every corner.’

A report by the Washington DC-based Transportation Planning Board found that bus-mounted CCTV cameras are more effective with for every $1 invested yielding $8 in “travel time savings and fleet saving benefits”, compared to $5 in benefits for fixed cameras.

“Unfortunately, the laws related to cycle and bus lanes are frequently violated and present a significant inconvenience to bus drivers, the people who use buses and to cyclists,” Fianna Fail transport spokesman Robert Troy told the Dail on Thursday. “One morning, I spotted at least 15 cars parked illegally in a bus or cycle lane in a relatively short distance between Portobello and College Green.”

He added: “In the case of cycle lanes, the presence of vehicles also presents a significant risk as cyclists must swerve into traffic to avoid parked vehicles. Ireland’s cycling infrastructure is wholly inadequate as it is without it being rendered unusable by the presence of parked cars, skips and multiple other items being put in the way. These are widespread issues. I frequently take Dublin Bus.”

Troy said: “I believe that this could be done through the use of CCTV cameras to reinforce these new road traffic laws and increase detection of these offences. For example, Dublin Bus vehicles could be fitted with CCTV cameras to detect violations of these laws. This is already the case in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and many other jurisdictions.

He said evidence from these jurisdictions shows that enforcement works. He used the example of Gateshead in the UK where he said there was initial surge in the number of fines to motorists, but the level halved as drivers avoided fines.

Troy said: “We are robbing people of one of their most valuable assets, time. This legislation is but a small measure that would help to speed up buses and make them more attractive, and be safer for cyclists. I hope that the Bill will enjoy cross-party support, given its importance to all transport users in Ireland. Our capital city is becoming one of the most congested in Europe. We must do all we can in the short and medium term to get Dublin moving again.”

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

2 Comments

  1. I find buses are encroaching more and more in cycle lanes. They don’t leave them when departing a bus stop. Also width of bus often cannot be accommodated in 2 marked lanes.

  2. Camera enforcement should work fine for moving vehicles, but it would be good to see it flanked with the swift removal of cars abandoned in places where they don’t belong.

    BVG in Berlin is going to start training 80 people in April to get on top of the problem of cars parked where they block buses. Half of them will spot offenders and the other half will drive the bus company’s six tow trucks. Legislation is being changed to allow the bus company to tow vehicles without having to go through the city authorities or the police first.

    Source: https://www.bz-berlin.de/berlin/erster-berliner-bezirk-laesst-alle-falschparker-sofort-abschleppen – this mostly about cars parked where they block cycle lanes and only incidentally about buses.

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