Sunday 19 November 2017

Gardai to clamp down on risky road users

Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

MOST drivers feel that cyclists get away with a lot on the roads -- and paths.

Most cyclists feel that drivers pose a serious threat to their health, are arrogant and pay little attention to them.

As in most generalities, neither is completely accurate -- but each perspective has a grain of truth.

I have seen cyclists take outrageous risks and put other road users at risk with their behaviour.

There are few more frustrating sights for a driver than to have a cyclist cut right across him or her and then disappear into the distance after conveying their displeasure with a two-fingered gesture.

By the same token, I have seen motorists give cyclists absolutely no room, no right of way and no courtesy when it would take little effort or thought to do so.

Well, both sets of road users might be ready to behave a little more responsibly from now on as the gardai have sent out their strongest signal yet that they are set to clamp down on anything that breaches the rules of the road.

Cyclists who run red lights or who do not have safety equipment -- including lights and reflectors -- on their bicycles face a day in court.

However, it's not like gardai haven't been active up to now. They have.

Last November they ran six operations and used discretionary cautions, giving people a couple of days to appear at a garda station and show that their bike was roadworthy.

The prospect of a day in court for not having your bike in order will concentrate minds.

Gardai have also been highly visible in their clampdown on motorists who speed and drink-drive.

While even one death on our roads is one too many, the lowering of our death rate is directly attributable to widespread enforcement over a protracted period.

Long may it continue.

By sheer coincidence, a new survey claims that cycle training would have a more positive impact on safety than the compulsory wearing of cycle helmets.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists survey found that only 1pc of respondents supported the compulsory wearing of cycle helmets.

But many felt that the introduction of more cycle lanes would make the biggest difference.

Nearly all (96pc) approved of additional public money to be made available to make cycling safer.

Irish Independent

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