On the Spot Fines for Cyclists from Friday

Georgina Fagan - Putting Cyclists in the  Picture. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Georgina Fagan – Putting Cyclists in the Picture. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Because she’s up to her oxters in cycling related events here in Castleisland, the always on-the-ball, Georgina Fagan brought the following ‘wake-up call’ to the attention of the growing numbers of locals being attracted onto the roads through the past-time / sport of cycling.

Would you ever think that the simple act of cycling could attract so many points at which the cyclist could be in conflict with the law. And guess what, there are fines following each little transgression – and on the spot fines too.

On a cursory glance at the list of ‘offences’ you might think that most of those have been there as long as bicycles have been cycled. And you’d be right.

There are at least two surviving sayings from the days of the poor light when a garda stepped out, squinted and shouted “Where are you going without a Light on your Bike.” For the other one you can substitute Bell for Light. Because of the nature of the ‘crime’ and the light in which it was deemed to have been committed the fines at the time were rarely collected due to lack of evidence, a change of gear and a quick turn of pace and around the nearest corner.

So, why the change in the law now? And here’s the all too familiar rub: The law is only being changed now to allow the government to bring in the ‘On-the-Spot’ fines.

This the official Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport issue on the topic.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, has announced that he will be introducing Fixed Charge Notices (FCNs) for cyclists who commit certain road traffic offences.  The fixed charge will be set at €40.  It is the Minister’s intention to introduce regulations to give effect to this proposal by 31st July 2015.

Minister Donohoe said: ‘Following consultations with the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána, I have decided to extend the fixed charge notice system to cyclists for seven of the 36 existing road traffic offences. These include breaking a red light, failure to have a front lamp or rear lamp lit during lighting-up hours and cycling without reasonable consideration. This new measure is intended to promote safe cycling practices and to discourage dangerous cycling’.

Committed Cyclist

“The introduction of fixed charge notices for motorists has been hugely successful in changing driver behaviour and I am confident that a similar change in behaviour and attitudes by cyclists who break the law will result following the introduction of this measure.  While the majority of cyclists obey the rules of the road, unfortunately there are some who do not.  As a committed cyclist myself, I am of the view that the introduction of fixed charge notices for cyclists will increase awareness among cyclists and reinforce the message that cyclists have a responsibility in relation to obeying road traffic law.  It will also provide another enforcement measure for An Garda Síochána.

“Our pro-cycling policies are very successful and are resulting in a very significant increase in cycling. It is important that we seek to ensure that growth in cycling takes place on the basis of responsible cycling behaviour.  Increased cycling will mean increased safety risks. Cyclists are vulnerable road users and it is important that we manage this risk though appropriate preventative measures rather than reactive measures later on.

National Cycle Policy

“As part of the mid-term review of the National Cycle Policy Framework 2009-2020, I will further examine the legislation in force in relation to cyclists and to look at further pro-cycling measures that could be introduced.  A number of proposals are being considered with a view to bringing these to public consultation in the autumn. Any changes to legislation will focus on enhancing the safety of cyclists and encouraging increased cycling numbers.

“Through sustained investment in cycle lanes, Dublin Bikes and Coke Zero schemes in Cork, Limerick and Galway and the bike to work tax break we have a strategy in place to encourage more people to cycle on a more regular basis.   We have seen huge increases in the numbers cycling into Dublin with over 10% increase each year for the past 2 years.   Our investment in Greenways around the country will also introduce many families to cycling.  The recent Bike Week was a great success which saw a great turn out of cyclists at hundreds of events around the country.”

Dangerous Months

Unfortunately, the months of May through to September represent the most dangerous months for cyclist injuries and fatalities. Last year 13 cyclists were tragically killed on our roads.  This year to date 3 cyclists have lost their lives.

Speaking at the European Transport Safety Council’s Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees (PRAISE) Conference earlier today Minister Donohoe said: ‘I am pleased to see that the number of deaths to date in 2015 is 24 lower than at the same time in 2014.  This is welcome news, but certainly no cause for complacency.  The sombre truth is that 72 people have died on our roads so far this year who need not have died.  This is a real number, with real lives behind it, and real families left bereaved.  Let us never lose sight of that’.

Further information

List of offences to be made fixed charge notice offences: 1. Cyclist driving a pedal cycle without reasonable consideration. €40; 2. No front lamp or rear lamp lit during lighting-up hours on a pedal cycle. €40;  3. Cyclist proceeding into a pedestrianised street or area. €40; 4. Cyclist proceeding past traffic lights when the red lamp is illuminated. €40; 5. Cyclist proceeding past cycle traffic lights when red lamp is lit. €40; 6. Cyclist failing to stop for a School Warden sign. €40 and  No.7. Cyclist proceeding beyond a stop line, barrier or half barrier at a railway level crossing, swing bridge or lifting bridge, when the red lamps are flashing. €40.