Parking in cycle lanes, on footpaths or in bus lanes should be considered as ‘parking a vehicle in a dangerous position’ and receive three penalty points as well as a fine, the Joint Committee on Justice has said.
A ‘dangerous parking’ offence already exists under Section 55 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961. But, when illegal parking is enforced, it mostly does not attract penalty points.
The change to view all parking in cycle lanes, bus lanes or on footpaths as ‘dangerous parking’ is a recommendation in the Joint Committee on Justice’s new Report on an Examination of Enforcement of Road Traffic Offences.
The Committee chairperson James Lawless TD (FF) said: “The Committee recognises that the violation of road traffic legislation causes significant impediments and real danger to other road users, as well as creating accessibility issues and disruptions within communities.”
He added: “The Committee heard from stakeholders that a lack of effective enforcement of road traffic offences also undermines the Government’s current investments into active travel infrastructure and into providing alternatives to private car usage, as individuals will not opt for alternatives like cycling if they do not feel safe doing so, or to use the bus over a private car if the transport times on the bus are significantly slower, due to private cars using the bus lane.”
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The Committee also recommended that “clearer guidelines are established in relation to which bodies are responsible for enforcing various road traffic offences” and “an Garda Síochána receives sufficient resourcing and support, to ensure that Gardaí can devote more time to identifying and prosecuting road traffic offences”.
It also said that it supported legislation to help with greater use of CCTV evidence when enforcing offences, an online portal to upload footage of road traffic offences, and the greater use of average speed cameras.
The Committee also recommends “that the internal processes for reporting road traffic offences to Dublin Bus should be reviewed, to ensure that every individual who submits a complaint would receive a response.”
I Bike Dublin, a campaign group which presented to the committee welcomed the report and called on its recommendations to be implemented.
Ciarán Ferrie, a spokesperson for the group, said: “I Bike Dublin are pleased to see that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice has taken on board many of our recommendations in its report on the Enforcement of Road Traffic Offences.”
He said: In our evidence to the Committee, we had highlighted the dangers associated with what some might perceive to be innocuous offences such as parking in cycle lanes and parking on footpaths and are encouraged to see that the Committee has recommended that these offences be considered as ‘parking a vehicle in a dangerous position’ and should receive a fine and three penalty points.”
“We also note the Committee’s recommendations for increased resourcing of road policing and the use of ANPR technology to enforce road traffic offences such as red light breaking and driving in bus and cycle lanes as well as the call for an online portal for uploading footage of road traffic offences,” he said.
He said that the enforcement measures are essential to meeting the Vision Zero target in the National Road Safety Strategy and will be an important step in encouraging a greater shift to more sustainable modes of transport as required under the Climate Action Plan.
Ferrie added: “We thank the Committee for the opportunity to give evidence and for listening to what we had to say and we call on the government to implement the recommendations without delay to ensure that our roads our safer for all.”