Cyclist.ie respects the decision of the Minister for Transport Tourism & Sport (DTTAS) to introduce Fixed Charge Notices (FCNs) for a limited number of cycling offences. We submitted proposals to the Minister prior to the recent announcement and some of these were taken on board. However we wish to state clearly our ongoing position on FCNs below:
- We are not in favour of law breaking and dangerous cycling. The same reasoning applies to drivers of motorised vehicles. We understand the need for a deterrent to bad cycling behaviour that puts other road users at risk, but deterrents already exist in law and merely require application/enforcement of that law.
- We are not convinced that the ‘risk’ element associated with these proposed FCN offences has been properly assessed in the context of overall national road safety policy. Do cyclists kill other road users? What level of injury/offence is caused by cyclists in comparison with motor vehicles? What quantum improvement in road safety will be achieved through the introduction of these FCNs? We have yet to see real analyses / figures, or be convinced by anything other than anecdotal comments.
- The overall thrust of road traffic policy should be the safety of all road users. To this end the continued investment in, and development of, high quality infrastructure for both cyclists and pedestrians and 30km/h speed limit zones needs to be accelerated in line with national aspirations, as enunciated in the National Cycle Policy Framework, and in various Local Authority development plans. Present investment in cycling related infrastructure is totally disproportionate to the investment in general roads infrastructure.
- The media stories on the proposals for FCNs were leaked on the Monday of National Bikeweek, which is coordinated by the Smarter Travel Unit of DTTAS. Bikeweek is meant to be a celebration of all things ‘bike’, and yet another arm of DTTAS felt fit to leak this issue to the press, which in turn raised a negative ‘storm’ about cycling, directly during the week when the Department is supposed to be encouraging cycling!
- Dublin Cycling Campaign are working on the possible roll-out of a ‘RESPECT’ Campaign, to encourage all road users to be aware of, and respect other road users. We feel that at this point in time a positive national initiative such as this, to encourage better behaviour by all road users, would serve as a constructive counterpoint to the FCN approach of penalising cyclists.
- Ireland needs to catch up with the rest of Europe in promoting cycling by introducing standard initiatives such as contra-flow cycling and red light initiatives
- While noting the above we are satisfied that FCNs have been introduced at the lower rate of €40, but we need to see an agreed monitoring and reporting strategy put in place, so that any ‘benefits’ of the approach can be properly assessed.
- We feel that the introduction of FCNs at this point in time was premature and reactionary, and may in the long term negatively affect the government’s sustainable transport initiatives.
- We urge the Minister to:
- Actively promote positive and respectful behaviour by all road users
- Introduce a monitoring and reporting strategy to assess the impact of these FCNs
- Seek the introduction of European standard initiatives such as contra-flow cycling, and red light initiatives for cyclists
- Immediately increase direct investment in the improvement of cycle and pedestrian facilities.