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Triumph for cyclists as Varadkar says no to on-the-spot fines

ON-the-spot fines for cyclists now look unlikely after Transport Minister Leo Varadkar poured cold water on the idea.

Tougher action was demanded after new research showed a significant minority of riders do not obey the rules of the road.

But Mr Varadkar pointed out out that the Government was trying to increase cycling rates among the public, rather than create barriers.

A key requirement in on-the-spot fines is one of identity, he said.

This means every cyclist would need a "unique identifier" for their bike or a "recognised form of identity in respect of the cyclist", he said.

"Only then can either system be utilised effectively. As bicycles do not have registration numbers, and cyclists are not required under law to carry identification, it is not possible to bring such offences within the scope of the fixed charge system," he said in a Dail reply to Labour TD Aodhan O'Riordain.

"Given that we are seeking to encourage an increased level of cycling among the population at large, I am not convinced that mandatory registration of cyclists, or requiring cyclists to carry identification, is an appropriate measure to introduce," he added.


Mr O'Riordain had asked Mr Varadkar to introduce fixed charge penalties or on-the-spot fines for riders who fail to observe laws preventing them cycling on footpaths or against the flow of traffic.

His party colleague, Kevin Humphreys, had made a similar demand, saying the survey by Semperit Tyres showed a significant minority of cyclists are failing to observe the rules of the road.

The study found the main infringements included cycling on footpaths (21pc), breaking traffic lights (15pc) and cycling against the flow of traffic or the wrong way on a one-way street (14pc).

Mr Varadkar said section 108 of the Road Traffic Act gives gardai the power to demand the name, address and date of birth of a cyclist who has committed a road traffic offence.

A summons can be served on the cyclist to appear in court, the minister said.

Mike McKillen, of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, has also rejected on-the-spot fines, saying it would require a scheme to register "something like 280,000 bikes".