Tuesday 23 July 2019

Gardaí want law making high-vis clothing and helmets mandatory for all cyclists

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Cathal McMahon

Mid-ranking gardaí have voted to make high-visibility clothing mandatory for all cyclists.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) will now call on the Justice and Transport ministers to introduce laws which they say could dramatically cut road deaths.

Speaking at the annual AGSI delegate conference in Killarney, Co Kerry today Sgt Gerry Moylan, from Co Sligo, suggested that sanctions for breaking a proposed law might include fixed charge penalty notices (FCPN).

“In 2016, 35 pedestrians were killed on Irish roads. 23 of these were in rural areas. That is why we think high-visibilty clothing can make a significant contribution to road safety in the future.”

He continued: “I believe that at least if we have legislation we can ecourage people a little bit more. We can start off with a discretionary measure that is always available to us. If people continue to persist we can take a more forcible attitude.”

Asked to explain what he meant by that Sgt Moylan suggested: “Maybe there could be a fixed charge penalty notice similar to driving offences.”

He said the motion was primarily focused on rural areas during the hours of darkness.

Sgt Sean Callaghan, from the Sligo/Leitrim district, said since 2013, 141 pedestrians killed on Irish roads. He said that reflects 20 per cent of all fatalities

However Sgt Claire Healy from the Dublin Traffic corps said such a law would be impossible to enforce amongst pedestrians in Dublin city centre at night.

"We thought it would be very hard to police if all pedestrians were required to wear flourescent jackets. The motion didn’t refer to urban zones or rural zones or lighting up times. It would be very hard to police at O’Connell street at 4am.”

She said the law should not be extended to pedestrians. However she agreed that cyclists should be obliged to wear high-visibility clothing.

Furthermore she said helmets should be mandatory for all cyclists.

A number of cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on national roads in recent years.

The motion as amended was supported by the AGSI national executive.

Board member Rory Brennan said: “Preserving life is part of our job and if we can save one life with a high-vis jacket then that will be worthwhile.”

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