Cycling campaigners to protest Gardai inaction today at 5.30pm outside Dublin Castle

I Bike Dublin, a cycling campaign group, is looking for members of the public to join them on their fourth and final protest of the week, today (Friday) at 5.30pm.

The campaigners said that they are focusing today on the lack Garda enforcement.

A statement from the group will be meeting at College Green and then cycle to Barnardo’s Square, which is in front of Dublin Castle, the location of the Garda Roads Policing Unit.

Joan O’Connell, a spokeswoman for I Bike Dublin, said: “We’re highlighting the dangerous consequences of failures to enforce road traffic laws for people cycling in Ireland and failure by the Minister for Justice to adequately resource An Garda Síochána, particularly the Roads Policing Unit and Garda bicycle patrols.”

O’Connell said: “As people cycling – to work, to supermarkets, to friends and family – we regularly encounter aggressive and dangerous behaviour from motorists. We are acutely aware of the very real risk of death or serious injury that such behaviours can cause to us.”

I Bike Dublin spokesman, Peter Collins, said: “I cycle to school with my three daughters and we regularly have incidents with drivers behaving aggressively towards us. Whether it’s the Minister for Justice or Garda management, something needs to be done to tackle the behaviour of a dangerous minority of drivers.”

Collins yesterday handed over 40 flowers to Minister Shane Ross, the flowers representing the 40 people who died while cycling on Irish roads under the remit of the last three transport ministers. While the handover was happening, his daughter, 11-year-old Caoimh was filmed making a plea with Minister Ross yesterday to invest in cycling infrastructure, has grown frustrated with continued lack.

I Bike Dublin said: “Latest official figures indicate that An Garda Síochána are issuing only 65 Fixed Charge Penalty Notices (FCPNs) for parking in a cycle lane per month nationally – on average 2 FCPNs per day. We know that the issue is far more widespread than this, by several orders of magnitude.”

The group said it is calling on the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan that the Gardai have the resources necessary to properly enforce road traffic laws, and the campaigners want the Gardai to “strictly enforce road traffic laws in an evidence-based, targeted manner designed to change the behaviour of those who cause the greatest threat of harm to road users”.

The cycling campaigners have the following demands relating to Gardai management acting:

    • “Immediately instruct Garda members to implement zero tolerance enforcement on the illegal use of cycle and bus lanes, with ambitious, yet achievable targets that are shared with local communities.”
    • “Ensure proper training for all Garda members so that they understand road traffic law as it applies to people cycling and understand the rules around parking on cycle lanes, clearways, double yellow lines and footpaths.”
  • • “Roll out greater numbers of Garda patrols on bicycles in urban areas, including plain-clothes Gardaí on bicycles, as has been successfully done by the Metropolitan Police in London, West Midlands Police, and other jurisdictions.”
  • • “Ensure An Garda Síochána conduct themselves as exemplars to members of the public of safe road behaviour, including appropriate parking practices, defensive driving techniques, and safe manoeuvres in the course of their day-to-day duties.”

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.

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