Road safety and cyclists
Sir, – While the new year may herald the beginning of new resolutions and change, one thing it has not brought is a lessening of the scourge that is cyclists who have either no knowledge of, or who deliberately choose to ignore, the rules of the road. If anything the situation has worsened over the past months, with arrogance and rudeness on the increase. Most people will be aware of many cyclists’ disregard for their own safety by displaying neither front nor rear lights during the hours of darkness and of their disregard for the safety of others by rarely stopping at a red traffic light. There are, however, many other breaches of safety and etiquette.
The old rules made it an offence to travel other than in single file where there was a continuous white line (for obvious safety reasons) but that is rarely if ever observed. What I find most disconcerting, however, is the failure of almost all cyclists in the suburbs to use a cycle lane where it has been provided, except of course when it suits to do so, approaching a junction, for example.
In part, owing to the fact that there are now virtually no gardaí on foot patrol, these cyclists can behave with total disregard for the law or road safety and without fear of being caught. I say in part because other factors play a part in how cyclists see themselves. Take, for instance, the Road Safety Authority’s television advertisements that portray cyclists as paradigms of virtue, observing other road users with courtesy, stopping at junctions, giving hand signals, etc. This is so far from reality that it only serves to annoy.
Courtesy and respect for the rules of the road by cyclists would go a long way toward healing the breach that currently exists between themselves and other road users, as well as making our roads safer for all concerned. – Yours, etc,