Garda accused of ‘embarrassing’ failure to enforce cycle lanes

I Bike Dublin says it found 491 instances of motorists parking in cycle lanes in a week

Vehicles  blocking the cycle lane on a Dublin street. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Vehicles blocking the cycle lane on a Dublin street. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Cycling campaigners have accused gardaí of an “embarrassing” failure to enforce cycle lanes.

The I Bike Dublin campaign has said its members found more examples in one week of motorists parking in cycle lanes than the entire number of fines handed out by gardaí in nine months for the same offence.

I Bike Dublin was set up by cyclists in Dublin last June to highlight the lack of enforcement of the laws around cycling and to campaign for better facilities for cyclists.

Seventy-nine volunteers with I Bike Dublin found a minimum of 491 instances of motorists parking in cycle lanes in the week from Monday, December 11th last to Sunday, December 17th.

The survey was carried out mostly on the morning commute and was largely confined to Dublin.

The I Bike Dublin campaign said even its limited survey would suggest at least 25,000 breaches of the law every year.

By contrast, gardaí issued 417 penalty notices in the first nine months of the year to motorists parking in cycle lanes. The offence carries a €40 fine.

I Bike Dublin founder Stephen McManus described the outcome of the survey as “embarrassing” for the Garda and proof gardaí do not take the enforcement of cycle lanes seriously.

‘Change the culture’

“It shouldn’t be acceptable. We have to change the culture. It’s a much bigger job than just changing the law.”

Mr McManus said the volunteers who carried out the survey found “multiple” examples of Garda cars parked in cycle lanes.

“ It is not only that they don’t take it seriously, they are part of the problem,” he said.

Mr McManus said gardaí could justify parking in cycle lanes if they were answering an emergency, but he said I Bike Dublin volunteers had witnessed gardaí going into doughnut shops after parking in cycle lanes.

“The benefit of the doubt is on their side. But if you see them lining up outside Nick’s Coffee in Ranelagh, you’ll see them buying coffee several times a day. This is not official business.

“If they are daft enough to claim they are on official business, we are going to prove that they are lying.”

Dublin City Council said it was monitoring the abuse of cycle lanes and intends in the new year to put in more flexible bollards which will prevent motorists parking in cycle lanes.

Gardaí have yet to respond to the accusations made by I Bike Dublin.