TD asks about Garda enforcement of non-existing law on wearing high-visibility clothing

There is no law about wearing high-visibility clothing while cycling, but it doesn’t stop many people, including sometimes Garda officers, thinking otherwise. The latest example of this is a Sinn Fein TD asking a parliamentary question focused on e-scooters, and bicycles.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh, a TD for Dublin South Central, asked: “The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he is taking to encourage An Garda Síochána to tackle the dangers of users of e-scooters, motorised bicycles and bicycles not wearing high-vis clothing, having no visible back or front lights, and complying with rules of the road, and generally not being aware of their own safety or other road users while driving/cycling (details supplied).”

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, in a written reply, said the use of helmets and personal protective equipment will not be mandatory for e-scooters or e-bikes once regulations are signed into law. The publication of regulations on electric bikes and scooters was delayed due to a technical issue that is in the process of being fixed by the Road Traffic Bill 2024, which has been sent to the President to be signed.

Minister Ryan said: “Protecting the safety of all road users is a priority for my Department and my officials have regular engagement with An Garda Síochána to support the enforcement of road traffic law. My officials hold regular meetings with An Garda Síochána to discuss legislative matters and general road safety.”

“Additionally, my department chairs two interdepartmental working groups focused on the integration of electric scooters into our traffic system and new rules for e-bikes and e-mopeds, both of which are attended by senior management of An Garda Síochána. These working groups meet every fortnight, to facilitate the introduction of relevant legislation in Q2. This includes discussion of planned efforts by An Garda Síochána to ensure the safety of cyclists and e-scooter and e-bike users, as well as pedestrians and other vulnerable road users,” he said.

Road traffic vehicles are mainly covered by the Road Traffic Act 1961, and the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 defined a new category of vehicle called “powered personal transporters”, which includes e-scooters. A technical issue in the 2023 Act, which was identified at the EU level, is being fixed by the Road Traffic Bill 2024.

The Department said that e-scooters are still illegal to use on public roads and “will only become legal to use on public roads when regulations are passed in Q2”. However, a notable policing clampdown on scooters seems to have stopped sometime after the process of regulating the devices started.

Minister Ryan contained: “Amongst other rules, e-scooters will not be allowed to use motorways, footpaths or pedestrianised areas, to carry passengers or goods or to be fitted with a seat, as this can make the vehicle less stable. A maximum speed limit of 20 km/h will apply, unless a lower speed limit has been set for a specific road or part of a road. E-scooters will require front and rear position lights, visible to a distance of 50 m, and reflectors.”

He said: “The regulations will also require that lighting is maintained in good condition and its use will be mandatory during lighting-up hours. They will also be required under law to have front and rear brakes and a bell or horn to alert other traffic and pedestrians to their presence. E-scooters users must be over 16 and will be prohibited to use their vehicle while intoxicated. The Act gives An Garda Síochána the powers to enforce these new rules. A range of penalties will apply for misuse of e-scooters, including fixed charge offence penalties of €50.00.”

“As for bicycles, the use of helmets and personal protective equipment (PPE) will not be mandatory for e-scooters or e-bikes, although strongly recommended by my Department and the Road Safety Authority. This is to ensure that mandatory use does not present a barrier to uptake of active travel and less-polluting transport modes,” he said.

Speed pedelecs are electric bikes that include bicycle pedals, but where the motor helps up to them are classed as L-Category vehicles, which are effectually mopeds or light motorcycles.

He added: “The Deputy should note that PPE and suitable helmets will be mandatory for e-mopeds, as these will be classed as L-Category vehicles like mopeds and motorcycles, and all the requirements and penalties for those vehicles will apply.”


  1. Interesting that he pushes hiviz when current rules aren’t enforced which are a legal requirement lights reflectors and Bell. I would prefer the gardai pushed that aspect more. I also note in your article that it as a new category of l vehicles but there is no such class on licences for this current equivalent would be am class as it does state they are mopeds

  2. Apart from this TD (a lawmaker) getting the Law completely (embarrassingly) wrong, alleged “Socialist” Ó Snodaigh has forgotten where he came from due to his inflated TD salarie and expenses and Fat-Cat politician lifestyle. I well remember him not being able to afford a bike for himself, long before he got his notions and became a bore.

  3. It’s interesting that’s it’s always the vulnerable users who need to protect themselves from less vulnerable users…
    I feel that the focus is the wrong way round and that the focus should be on the less vulnerable. This shift of duty of care for the less vulnerable be encouraged through slower speeds, higher penalties and those penalties being reclassified as criminal.

  4. Somehow I doubt that there will be very much, if any enforcement of any new regulations, never mind existing ones. It’s laughable and ridiculous that currently it is illegal to ride a bike without lights and reflectors at night but it is now completely and absolutely ignored in it’s totality by the guards. Ignored by the offenders and ignored by the enforcers equally.
    It used to be a humourous trope of the local Garda bringing some poor unfortunate in front of the judge for riding their bicycle without a working light. Now it is absolutely and completely ignored. When was the last time that happened? 1967?
    E-bike and scooter retailers are happily, blithely and very profitably selling machines to everyone who wants them that exceed the new power and speed regulations and will continue to do so when when the new regulations eventually do become law. As long as the purchaser is going to “only” use it on private property there’s no problem, is there?
    Who here actually believes that any of the new regulations will actually be enforced by the gardaí?
    Maybe they just might after a serious accident but otherwise……….? I’m not holding my breath.

  5. You are wrong Thomas, I know several people who have been convicted of such things.
    But I don’t know any car drivers who have been convicted for breaking lights.

  6. The below article by Cian from, admittedly 10 years back, is old, granted, but not quite 1967. And it does highlight that cyclists have always been prosecuted.

    “3,200 Irish cyclists summoned to court in ten years
    October 7, 2014 by Cian Ginty”

    (The article itself is presently accessible on this site, if you have a rummage around).


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