Motorists who park in cycle lanes should receive fines and penalty points - FF

Fianna Fáil also wants legislation requiring motorists to keep a minimum distance from cyclists when passing them

Fianna Fáil has launched a new policy   aimed at improving safety for cyclists and overhauling cycling infrastructure.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Fianna Fáil has launched a new policy aimed at improving safety for cyclists and overhauling cycling infrastructure. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Motorists who park in cycle lanes should receive penalty points and a fine, Fianna Fáil has said.

The party launched a new policy on Tuesday aimed at improving safety for cyclists and overhauling cycling infrastructure.

Among the measures proposed is the introduction of legislation for a minimum passing distance, establishing a cycling division within the National Transport Authority and reducing the VAT on bicycle repairs.

The party’s spokesman on transport Robert Troy said the number of cyclists injured on the roads is increasing and action must be taken to make roads safe for them.

While he accepted some cyclists break the rules of the road, the Longford-Westmeath TD said there has to be a mutual respect between them, pedestrians and motorists.

Mr Troy said the availability of physically segregated cycle lanes must be increased to take account of the number of people using cycling as their main mode of transport.

On the use of cycle lanes, he added: “Anyone who does encroach on the cycle lane would be liable to penalty points and a fine.”

The party also questioned the Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s commitment to introduce a minimum passing distance.

The proposal, which has the support of Fine Gael Ministers Regina Doherty and Ciarán Cannon, would require motorists to keep a minimum distance away from the cyclists when passing them.

On roads with a speed limit of 50km/h or higher, it will be 1.5 metres and where the speed limit is under 50km/h, the safe passing distance would be set at one metre.

Mr Ross has said there are legal difficulties with the measure and has asked the Attorney General Séamus Woulfe to examine other possibilities.

However, Mr Troy said he could not see where the difficulties lay as similar laws have been enforced in Belgium, France and Portugal.

“It is not unimplementable, it is not unenforceable, if there is a will but I do not believe Minister Ross has the will to implement this legislation,” Mr Troy added.

Fifteen cyclists died on the roads in 2017, which represents 10 per cent of all fatalities.

The party believes cycle safety training should be provided to young people at schools. This, it says, will cost €8 million a year.