Cyclists to face on-the-spot fines for breaking traffic laws
New penalties to be introduced from 2014
People take part in a Bike to Work Lunchtime Cycle in Dublin city centre last month. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
On-the-spot fines for traffic violations will be extended to include cyclists from 2014, according to the Department of Transport.
While the list of traffic offences to which the fines will apply has not yet been finalised, they are likely to include breaking a red light, cycling on a footpath and failing to yield right of way at a ‘yield’ sign.
It is also expected that the fines, which are referred to as fixed charge notices, are likely to be €50 or higher.
The target date for introducing the fines is not until the second quarter of 2014. However, the department said they will be introduced earlier if possible.
The department said that while the penalties are lower than equivalent motor fines, they are sufficiently high to act as a deterrent.
The new measures will give cyclists the option of paying a fixed-charge penalty within 56 days instead of having the matter dealt with by the courts.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar insisted the move was not about targeting cyclists.
“It’s about ensuring that our roads are safe for all of us,” he said. “Roads are a shared public space and belong to everyone: drivers, cyclists, pedestrian and heavy vehicles. We all have to use them responsibly and obey the rules that protect us all.”
The department said extending the fixed charge notices was in line with the current Road Safety Strategy and that it would promote safe cycling practices.
Introducing the fines does not require primary legislation. Action 92 of the Road Safety Strategy states that: “Legislate for the extension of fixed charge notices to other offences including those related to cyclists and drivers’ hours.”
Gardaí have also said that the success rate of prosecuting cyclists in court has increased.
A range of measures to enforce safe cycling practices exist under current legislation, including the power, in extreme cases, to impound bicycles. However, as bicycles are not required to be registered, cyclists who commit an offence under the Road Traffic Acts are currently dealt with by the courts system.