— Constituent said Minister’s driver drove “close enough for me to be worried for the safety of my son”.
A constituent of Richard Bruton — the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment — is inviting the Minister on the school run by bicycle after he said he had a close encounter with the Minister’s driver.
The constituent, Alan Downey, said the Minister’s driver passed him and is son on his cargo bicycle “within arm’s reach”.
Downey published video of the events on Twitter (shown below) which he said shows the driver of a car, which was carrying the Minister at the time, in the bus lane closely passing people cycling within the bus lane.
The footage then shows a traffic light turning amber as Downey‘s cargo bicycle passes it. But the ministerial car continues. The driver in the car along side the Minister’s car stops at the traffic light.
Then, on the other side of the junction, the general traffic lane was free, but the Minister’s driver mainly stayed in the bus lane, and, Downey said, close passed the him on his bicycle when he was carrying his child at the time on the way to school.
A spokeswoman for Minister Bruton said: “Designated vehicles assigned to cabinet ministers are entitled to use the bus lanes when on official business.”
The spokeswoman said: “As the video shows, the light turned amber as the vehicle drove by, as it was not safe to stop at the time.”
However, the full footage — seem by IrishCycle.com — shows that the traffic light turned amber as the constituent passed it and was turning red by the time the Ministerial car passed.
After issuing the above comment, Communications, Climate Action and Environment press office did not respond to a number of requests for comment on the issue of overtaking the cyclists.
Downey, said: “If the minister feels like his driver’s pass was safe enough, I’ll invite him to join me on a morning commute anytime.”
He said that of the Minister did not want to cycle himself that he can sit up front of the cargo bicycle for a similar experience of cycling on the streets of the northside.
Explaining the road situation where the Ministerial driver overtook other commuters on bicycles, Downey said: “There’s isn’t much room here as the advisory lane and bus lane are merged together until the road widens out again. Taking a safe position out from the kerb puts me in primary by default, requiring drivers behind to move to the outside lane in order to pass safely. Many drivers fail to do this and force their way past, or try to, while there is a car in the outside lane.”
Recently the Rules of the Road were updated to include making it clear that cyclists are allowed to cycle in the primary position and that it is often safer to do so.
He said: “The driver of this car had no reason to pass the way he did. The outside lane was clear so the overtake could have been made without issue. Instead they decided to remain in the bus lane for the most part and given the width of my bike and my distance out from the kerb passed me close enough for me to be worried for the safety of my son.”
He added: “Close passes when there is sufficient room for a safe pass feel like ‘punishment’ for being too far out or a driver who feels like they are prevented from making the kind of progress they would like.”