Legal changes needed to support new National Cycle Manual could take a year or more

Legal changes to support the new National Cycle Manual — improved guidance for designing cycle routes — could take up to a year but will be rolled out on a phased basis, a Department of Transport spokesperson has told this website.

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The changes needed will mostly include secondary legislation — a type of written law signed by a Minister without going through the houses of the Oireachtas — and edits to guidelines such as the quasi-legal Traffic Signs Manual. on Monday published a draft copy of the revised design manual after it was released after an FOI request. The draft manual had previously been only seen by a select number of stakeholders.

The department didn’t directly respond to a question on what changes are needed but it is understood the changes centre on issues such as clarifying the right of way in certain situations.

IMAGE: An example of “elephant’s feet” markings.

Changes will also include allowing design elements such as painted square markings to highlight points where cycle routes cross over roads — these markings are nick-named “elephant’s feet” are used in the Netherlands and have already been adopted for use on roads in the UK and North America.

A spokesperson at the Department of Transport said: “There are expected to be a number of changes in relation to traffic regulations affecting Signs and Speed Limits that will be necessary to support the implementation of the new National Cycle Manual. The Traffic Signs Manual and Speed Limit Guidelines will also need to be updated.”

“The Department and the NTA will be jointly progressing the updates on the Traffic Regulations and the Traffic Signs Manual. In particular, the NTA have formed a technical team that is working through these issues identifying what is to be addressed and drafting solutions. Issues that impact on speed limits are being identified as part of the current Speed Limit Review that is due for completion shortly.”

The spokesperson added: “Much, but not all, of the changes will require Secondary Legislation and this is being identified at present. Given the extent of change, it is expected to occur in phases. Other significant parallel work is underway at the same time. Given this, the time period could be up to a year.”

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