Nearly 600 cyclists fined under new penalty regime

New programme allows for on-the-spot fines for breaking red lights and other offences

Cyclists in Dublin. Almost 600 cyclists were given on-the-spot fines  in the first six months of a new penalty regime. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Cyclists in Dublin. Almost 600 cyclists were given on-the-spot fines in the first six months of a new penalty regime. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Almost 600 cyclists were given on-the-spot fines for breaking red lights, cycling without lights or in pedestrianised areas, or for one of four other offences in the first six months of a new penalty regime.

The number of fines issued to cyclists was described as “on the high side” by Green Party councillor and chairman of the council’s transport committee Ciarán Cuffe, who suggested gardaí would better off pursuing drivers who broke speed limits and parked in cycle lanes.

There were more than 20,000 fixed-charge notices issued to speeding motorists over the same period.

Seven cycling offences started attracting fines from the end of last July, and 577 people were issued with fixed-charge notices, according to the answer to a parliamentary question to Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald.

Breaking red lights was by far the most common offence, with 330 cyclists issued with a fine for this transgression.

A further 70 were found to be riding without due care and attention and were slapped with the €40 fine, while 125 were penalised for not having a front or back light after dark.

Notices unpaid after 28 days are raised to €60, and if this is not paid, cyclists can end up in court facing a €2,000 fine.

Dangerous driving

“We know from the Road Safety Authority that a vast number of cars routinely break speed limits and park in cycle lanes and on footpaths, and perhaps more focus should be placed on that.”

RSA spokesman Brian Farrell agreed more could be done to police the speed limits, “particularly in urban areas to make them safer for both cyclists and pedestrians ”.

Mr Cuffe said while cyclists should obey the rules of the road, the fact remained they were at much greater risk than other road users and “99 times out of 100 it is the cyclist who is going to be hurt in an accident”.

“I also think gardaí need to do more to encourage cycling and maybe they should not be putting so much effort into catching errant cyclists and concentrate on getting their own house in order.

“Far too often they park in cycle lanes so they can nip into a local Centra. I don’t say that lightly. It is a fact and they should be leading by example.”