Cyclists receiving fines at rate of about 100 a month

Paschal Donohoe among those giving Road Safety Authority lecture on cycling safety

 Paschal Donohoe: introduced  fines in July ‘to discourage dangerous cycling’.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Paschal Donohoe: introduced fines in July ‘to discourage dangerous cycling’. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Penalties for cyclists who break red lights and commit a range of other offences are being handed out at a rate of about 100 a month since introduced at in July.

According to the latest Garda figures, 244 cyclists across the State were stopped by gardaí and given fixed-charge penalty notices – also known as fines – of €40 per incident, between mid-July and September 30th this year.

Speaking about the figures, Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said:

“Unsurprisingly, most fines have been issued for the offence of breaking a red light (144), with failure to have appropriate lighting on a bike accounting for the next highest number of fines at 44”.

A total of seven cycling offences are covered by the new fines regime, which was approved by Mr Donohoe on July 2nd this year and which came into effect before the end of that month.

The figures, which were advocated as a safety measure for cyclists, come as Mr Donohoe prepared to take part in today’s Road Safety Authority Annual Academic Road Safety Lecture, which focuses this year on cycling safety. Mr Donohoe will be joined at the lecture by Séamus Morris, director of the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Dublin’s Mater hospital, and Prof Michael Gilchrist, head of the UCD school of mechanical and materials engineering, who will present their research.

Last year, 16 cyclists lost their lives on the State’s roads. Up to last Friday morning the number of cyclists killed so far in 2015 was six.

Speaking when he introduced the fines, Mr Donohoe said it was intended to “promote safe cycling practices and to discourage dangerous cycling”.

“As a committed cyclist myself, I am of the view that. . . The introduction of fixed charge notices for cyclists will increase awareness among cyclists and reinforce the message that cyclists have a responsibility in relation to obeying road traffic law. It will also provide another enforcement measure for An Garda Síochána,” he said.

The new scheme was welcomed by the AA spokesman Conor Faughnan who said that “as cars are much bigger and potentially do much more damage”, he believe “it was right” to have a penalty system for errant drivers in place first. But he said since that was in place it was also right that cyclists and motorists should all obey the rules of the road. He said it made little sense that any one group of road users ignoring the rules be tolerated.

However, Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe said he believed a verbal warning for cyclists would have been a better approach, at least in the first few months of the scheme.

“Fines make sense but as the Road Safety Authority points out many motorists drive above the speed limit and break traffic signals. If there is to be a clampdown An Garda should start with tackling law-breaking drivers in urban areas, and then move on to cyclists.”

He also said roads need to be made safer for cyclists by reducing vehicle speeds “as many parents don’t want their children mixing with fast moving traffic”.