Thursday 19 April 2018

Concern over how gardaí will enforce cycling law

The law would see drivers fined €80 and given three penalty points if they are caught overtaking cyclists at a distance of less than 1.5 metres. Photo: PA
The law would see drivers fined €80 and given three penalty points if they are caught overtaking cyclists at a distance of less than 1.5 metres. Photo: PA
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Transport Minister Shane Ross and Opposition parties are considering Fine Gael's radical proposal to fine motorists driving too close to cyclists.

But questions have been raised about how it will be enforced and the possible need for more funding for gardaí.

The law, proposed by Fine Gael TDs Ciarán Cannon and Regina Doherty, would see drivers fined €80 and given three penalty points if they are caught overtaking cyclists at a distance of less than 1.5 metres.

Mr Cannon announced the Bill saying that it will: "Create a safe space on our roads where cyclists can feel protected from passing traffic."

A spokeswoman for Independent Alliance Minister Mr Ross said he is "encouraging the department to look at the feasibility" of the plan.

Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Robert Troy said his party wouldn't be ideologically opposed to the suggestion but that he wants "more detail".

He asked what would happen on roads that aren't wide enough for cars to pass at distances of more than 1.5 metres and added: "Like any road legislation, enforcement is key."

Mr Troy said he looked forward to discussing the proposed law at an Oireachtas committee.

Imelda Munster, Sinn Féin's transport spokeswoman, also said her party will consider the law saying "we all have to accept cycle safety is paramount".

However, she raised concern at the lack of a national network of cycle lanes that would help in the introduction of a minimum distance law.

Ms Munster said she would seek assurances that the Garda Traffic Corps would be given additional funding to enforce the measure.

Similar laws have been passed in several other places, including around half of US states. There, police officers have devices on their bikes that measure the lateral space around the cyclist to catch motorists breaching the rules.

Irish Independent

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