Lack of policing of illegal cycle lane use criticised by campaign

Ross has ‘no current plans’ to give National Transport Authority an enforcement role

Dublin Cycling Campaign has said the official effort to stop the illegal use of bus and cycle lanes is “nowhere near where it needs to be”.

Campaign chairman Kevin Baker said greater enforcement of the illegal use of lanes was needed "all across the country".

Mr Baker was speaking after the Minister for Transport Shane Ross said last week he had no plans to give the National Transport Authority enforcement powers to stop the illegal use of bus lanes.

The authority asked 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 National Transport Authority plans to create 230km of dedicated bus lanes and 200km of cycle tracks along 16 of the busiest corridors along with a redesign of the network.

Mr Ross said he received the request from the authority but he had “no current plans” to give it 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,” he said.

Illegally blocked

Mr Baker said it was frustrating for cyclists when lanes were illegally blocked by private cars and lorries, and that it was also a safety risk.

“We put cycle lanes on the road to protect cyclists from fast-moving traffic. When you’re cycling, if you’re forced out of that lane because of an illegally parked car, you’re forced back into that fast-moving traffic the cycle lane was put there to protect you from,” he said.

"The current level of enforcement is nowhere near where it needs to be. The guards are clearly under-resourced. We need to use extra technology to increase levels of enforcement. Who runs that technology doesn't really matter to me or to the campaign – whether it's the [authority] or An Garda Síochána. "

The Dublin Commuter Coalition said the Minister’s decision not to give the authority an enforcement role shows a “lack of sympathy for bus users”.

Kevin Carter, chairman of the coalition, said: "Our public transport system will never be up to par if the [National Transport Authority] is not given the power to install cameras based enforcement on its buses."

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times