Dublin driver gets points for sideswiping cyclist

A motorist who tailgated and then sideswiped a man cycling his bicycle last June has been given penalty points for her driving, Gardai this week told the cyclist who was hit.

UPDATED: The cyclist confirmed that he was told by Gardai that the motorist received two points for driving without reasonable consideration.

The incident happen in the bus lane on the Rock Road end of the Merrion Road — as the video below shows, the bus lane is marked with large bicycle logos in the centre of the lane.

But when the cyclist caught up with the motorist to tell her that she had hit him, she replied that he was “cycling in the middle of the road”. He was cycling in the middle of the lane, which is a recommended form of defensive cycling.

Speaking to IrishCycle.com, the cyclist, John Collins, said: “I was hit by a car in June this year – my arm was struck by the passenger mirror. I was lucky. She had space in the other lane to overtake but she did a side-swipe instead. I caught-up at the next lights and she said ‘but you were in the middle of the road’ and drove off.”

Initially Gardai didn’t take it any action despite video evidence and details of a witness, but Collins said that, despite needing to follow up with the Gardai a few time, he is thankful for the action in the end.

He said he started using a camera while cycling after he was overtaken by a bus driver too closely which resulted in a shock and years of not cycling regularly.

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.

26 Comments

  1. Why in the main pic is the cyclist on the footpath?

  2. cormac mac gearailt January 29, 2020 at 9:45 am

    good result. Now we need this multiplied by 1000 and we might have a vaguely passable level of enforcement

  3. @Peter: Can you watch the video and guess why the other cyclist is on the footpath? Clearly I’m not defending it, but you asked why.

  4. I just think its a strange image to use, almost condoning the use of a footpath by cyclists as acceptable. What happened the cyclist on the road was unacceptable and all drivers in bus lanes should be punished, but two wrongs do not make a right.

  5. @Peter: The image is a still from the video — I hope you have watched it at this stage?

    The video is from the camera mounted on the bicycle that the car driver is driving inches away from from the rear of the bicycle and the driver ends up hitting her mirror into the cyclist’s arm — is strange beyond belief that you are focusing on another cyclist pottering along on the footpath.

    Normally I’d ask you who do you think said that two wrongs make a right. But your focus here is mind boggling.

  6. @Peter
    Outstanding piece of whataboutery there Peter, almost condoning the actions of a wreckless driver as acceptable (despite your protestations to the contrary) because of an entirely unrelated individual who was presumably (and understandably) terrified to cycle in a bus lane.

    Try to remember cyclists are not some different category of humans that all behave as a unit. They are individuals much as drivers are. If the camera had captured another driver talking on their mobile phone while driving, would you have focused on that as somehow condoning that illegal but common behaviour even though it is entirely irrelevant to the discussion at hand? I think not.

  7. Yes I did watch the video, I just think its an unusual and unhelpful still to choose and yes I would comment if the pic showed a motorist on a phone, I report bus drivers to dublin bus and other relevant companies almost weekly for blocking pedestrian crossings and running red lights, I also report delivery cyclists to their relevant companies for running lights, cycling one way streets and footpaths. Rules apply to all. By your logic Aka if a motorcyclist or inexperienced driver is terrified do they too have the right to mount the footpath?

  8. And yet Peter you somehow don’t bother to comment on the 4×4 parked with all four wheels on the pavement at 0:19. A tad ingenuous?

  9. @Peter — re “if a motorcyclist or inexperienced driver is terrified do they too have the right to mount the footpath” — that’s a huge load of false equivalence there comparing a lady pottering along on her bicycle to a motorcyclist or car driver mounting the footpath.

  10. It may be a false equvalance, but my point is valid. If the lady pottering along on her bicycle was too scared to cycle on the road, why can she not walk on the footpath with her bike?

    This has gone way off my point anyway that it was an unhelpful image to use, Use a still before the footpath cyclist appears or the one in traffic, people rightly will be angered by the footpath cyclist image (It was the first comment numerous people here in work made when I showed them the article as an experiment) and it detracts from the seriousness of the incident in the article. I also believe the driver in question should have got more than just points, its wreckless endangerment and they should be banned.

  11. I don’t know which is more depressing, the fact that the guards did not take action until nagged to do so or that a respondent sees fit to ask a question about the article which is totally irrelevant, they might as well ask why was there a filling station in the photo.
    Do we know if the bus lane was in force when the incident occurred, if not the area seems to need a 24 hour active lane. If traffic flows during rush hour without that lane why do they need it when there is less traffic. the decision to ride on the pavement is eminently sensible in light of this video.
    Could the total lack of pedestrians be because the local populace know to drag their loved ones indoors and bolt the doors when that demon cyclist is passing by on the pavement.

  12. If the bus lane was operational at the time of the mirror-strike on the rider’s arm, why were there so many non-permitted cars in that lane?

  13. I’m pretty sure Peter would say that IrishCycle was being dishonest if another still was used that didn’t show the cyclist that was on the path.

    Anyway, what has this got to do with the article? The driver drove aggressively at the cyclist at the heart of this story, and then hit him with her wing mirror. She was subsequently charged. I haven’t heard of any charges brought against the pavement cyclist, as no doubt she was forced on the pavement for fear of being subjected to injury by stupid drivers like the woman in the red car.

  14. The cycle lane in question is 07:00 to 19:00 Mon to Sat and is clearly marked as such. Side swipes and near misses are a regular occurrence on this stretch of road. In over twenty years of cycling along this stretch I have never seen any Garda policing the illegal use of the bus lane by motorists. I am glad that the cyclist in question wasn’t seriously injured, though I am sure the fright was unsettling enough
    I find the nit picking of the cyclists on the path gut churning when the cyclist could have been seriously injured. How crass was that comment? Incidentally as a motorist I equally find the illegal use of this lane by reckless motorists very annoying too. Why some motorists thing they have a God given right to flout the law is beyond me.
    Until reckless endangerment of cyclists and other vulnerable road users is taken seriously by the authorities in this country, the victim blaming, nit picking, serious injuries and deaths will continue. What is required is a zero tolerance approach to reckless behaviour and not turning a blind eye as seems to be the norm at present.

  15. In answer to my query about why were so many non-permitted vehicles in that bus lane, here is the answer:
    The slip road out of the Merrion Gates level-crossing onto the R118 can’t cope with merging the two traffic streams outbound towards Booterstown in the GVL, so many entitled drivers just use the bus lane. There is zero enforcement from Garda.
    The NTA knows full well that the Merrion Gates junction is a big problem and BusConnects along R118 is still waiting for a solution to it!

  16. This lane is reserved for buses,cyclists,and sadly taxis which have a fare. The only reason cars are using it is because they do not accept that the law applies to them. If we accept they were using it because of capacity constraints we will find cars driving in dedicated cycle lanes if they ever get built.The Garda should not choose which laws to ignore. If you dont agree with a law work to change it, do not ignore it.

  17. Why do some people in metal boxes have to be such knobs when they see people not in metal boxes? Can’t blame the person cycling on the path, although technically they shoudn’t be. Put in a proper cycle lane

  18. Just a few penalty point for using your vehicle as a deadly weapon? The driver is driving illegally in the bus lane, and admits there isn’t enough room to pass “you are in the middle of the lane” and then proceeds to purposefully side swipe the cyclist. She should have been banned from driving. Attempted manslaughter.

  19. the side of the bus lane is in bits, perhaps its built on sand, but as a regular user, I tend to cycle in the middle of the bus and cycle lane.

  20. Yes, Brian – the road pavement surface on the R118 is in rag order along the zone outbound from Merrion Gates to the junction with Trimleston. Quite disgraceful for a road authority to leave it like this in one of the most cycling-hostile sections of road in the country.
    I’ll wager that Minister Ross never traversed it by bike!

  21. Did Min Ross ever go anywhere by bike?

  22. @bigx
    Ding dong, the witch is dead. The next Minister for Transport can’t possibly be any worse for cycling than the soon to be former Minister was. Good riddance.

  23. I always hop up on the pavement when there are no pedestrians and the “cycle lane” is too dangerous. I was nearly killed a few years back when a driver side-swiped me at speed and actually knocked me over. Would much prefer to deal with scowling motorists and profanities hurled my way than have my family/friends deal with my DEATH, thank you very much. To any motorists who have an opinion on this, how about you leave your car at home next time and try cycling the death trap that is Dublin city streets for yourselves? You might find yourself a little less judgmental and angry, and you might burn some calories along the way.

  24. Do the rules of the road say anything about “taking the lane”? I have had issues too, where the road surface is poor, I take the lane and car drivers get aggressive behind me. If there is space I move over, but usually there isn’t room as roads are residential.

    For some drivers (a minority) being delayed by 5 seconds is just too much. It would help if there was an official line to support the safe cycle practice of taking the lane.

  25. To answer @peter’s original question.

    The technical reason that is the main image is because YouTube picks a random image from the video and no-one changed it.

    However, it’s also a good picture for that stretch of road because the driver behaviour along there makes cycling on the road very dangerous. Not only will my wife and kids not cycle on that stretch of road, I won’t if it’s busy. We cycle, slowly, on the path.

    And before you make too many dumb comments, we don’t like it either.

  26. I realize (looking again) that the image @peter is talking about is not from the video so the first part of my answer may not be right. The second part is.

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