No plans for bus lane enforcement powers for NTA – Ross

Minister for Transport says Government spending a ‘lot of money’ on cycle safety

Minister for Transport Shane Ross was presented with 40 roses by cycling activists. The minister was told that each flower "represent a cyclist who died during his administration".

 

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said he has no plans to give the National Transport Authority (NTA) enforcement powers to stop the illegal use of bus lanes.

The NTA asked the Minister for permission to use a camera-based enforcement system to stop private cars, vans and lorries from driving in bus lanes. The illegal use of bus lanes has emerged as an issue in the proposed BusConnects programme, where the NTA plans to designate more than 200km of road space for dedicated bus lanes.

Mr Ross said he received the request from the NTA but he had “no current plans” to give the authority an enforcement role. “We will do anything which we think is effective in policing the corridors and the roads to protect lives. At the moment those who have to enforce it are the gardaí and we think they are the appropriate body to do so.”

Mr Ross was speaking at a Dublin Bus event to demonstrate a new virtual reality headset that will be used to train bus drivers on sharing the road with cyclists. The headset “simulates the cycling experience” Dublin Bus said, by showing the cyclist’s point of view on the road “in order to deliver a better understanding of the challenges faced by cyclists on the roads of the capital”.

Cycle campaigners from the I Bike Dublin group, who this week staged a “die-in” outside Dublin City Council offices, protested outside the Dublin Bus event. The group is calling for more funding for cycling. One member, 11-year-old Caoimhe Collins from Phibsborough, presented Mr Ross with a bouquet of 40 roses to represent the 40 cyclists killed on the roads since he took office.

Mr Ross said he would “fully sympathise” with their concerns. “I think it is absolutely tragic what has been happening in recent times on the roads and I want to express my great regret and great sympathy and condolences to the families of those who have died on bikes in recent times.”

The Government was spending “a lot of money” on cycling, he said.

“I will never be able to allocate enough money to save lives and no Government can ever do that but we are giving everything we think is possibly effective or necessary to do that.”