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Parking in cycle lanes “not a victimless crime”, group to tell Oireachtas Justice Committee

Parking in cycle lanes is “not a victimless crime”, a campaign group is to tell Oireachtas Justice Committee this afternoon when it examines the issue of enforcement of road traffic offences.

Ciarán Ferrie and Peter Collins from I Bike Dublin and Madeleine Lyes and Eoin Buckley from Limerick Pedestrian Network are set to appear in front of the committee this afternoon — the session is ongoing and is broadcasted at oireachtas.ie.

Representatives of Dublin Bus and the Gardai are also to appear in front of the committee in the same session.

In his opening remarks provided to the committee in advance, Ciarán Ferrie, one of the founders of campaign group I Bike Dublin, said “Parking in cycle lanes is not a victimless crime. In June of this year, a 3-year-old girl, travelling in a child seat on her mother’s bike, was killed in Chicago when her mother tried to overtake a vehicle parked in the cycle lane and was hit by a passing HGV. A similar incident in Strasbourg some years ago resulted in the death of a 25- year-old woman. The driver of the parked vehicle was later convicted of manslaughter in recognition of the part his illegal parking had caused in the woman’s death.”

He said: “In Ireland, there have been at least two fatalities in the last six years where a person cycling has collided with a dangerously parked vehicle and at least one other instance where illegally parked cars were found to be a contributory factor in the death of a person cycling. It is our view that this illegal and dangerous behaviour is not treated with the seriousness it deserves.”

“But it is not just the danger to people who currently cycle that is at issue, illegal parking on cycle lanes creates a safety concern which deters people from cycling. We know from the NTA’s Walking & Cycling Index 2021 that 22% of Dublin residents don’t cycle but would like to,” said Ferrie. “This figure is even higher for women and for people from ethnic minorities and creates a barrier to people taking up cycling.”

He said that a “significant issue” with enforcement in Dublin is the fractured nature of its operation, with “local authorities, An Garda Síochána and, to a degree, the National Transport Authority, all have responsibility for enforcement of driver behaviour and it is often unclear where the lines of responsibility lie.” T

In her opening remarks, Dr Madeleine Lyes, chairperson of the Limerick Pedestrian Network, said: “Pedestrians rely on footpaths to be safe and free of obstacles that could force them into the road. parking on footpaths particularly affects those with mobility difficulties, those who are blind or visually impaired, and anyone walking with pushchairs, children, guide dogs or using mobility aids.”

“Pavement parking deprives people of their liberty, significantly reducing their options for freedom of movement. It’s a serious injustice that has a real effect on people. It particularly affects the people to whom we should want to afford the most protection, and it deprives them of some very basic rights to lead fulfilled lives” she said.

Dr Lyes said: “These examples are so widespread that they indicate a general disrespect for the law and a lack of concern at enforcement. Laws which fail to protect the vulnerable and are routinely ignored surely undermine public confidence in our justice system.”

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