Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network wholeheartedly endorses the appeal to Cabinet by The Irish Road Victims Association, IRVA, to support Minister for Transport Shane Ross’ plan to introduce graduated fines for people caught speeding. Chairperson of Cyclist.ie ,Colm Ryder, said ” We were disappointed last week to hear FG TD Peter Burke oppose the measure on RTE Radio, and astounded to read a report this morning that 6 cabinet members also oppose the measure”.
The IRVA comprises members who have lost loved ones in a road traffic collision, and their view, on the need to take measures to curb speeding, is deserving of respect. Graduated fines are a commonplace way of doing this in other jurisdictions. Mr Ryder pointed out that the commonsense stance of the IRVA is supported by official statistics from the Garda and the RSA.
To date in 2019, 131 people have died on Irish roads , an increase of 10 on the same period in 2018. There has also been an increase in the number of vulnerable road users ie motorcyclists, pedal cyclists and pedestrians who have died. According to the statistics on the Garda website, up to November 25th, 25 pedestrians, 16 motor cyclists and 9 pedal cyclists have died. This represents 38% or more than 1 in 3 of all fatalities. Cyclist.ie is not claiming that speed was a factor in any or all of those collisions but we do know that the chances of dying upon being hit by a vehicle increases substantially with the speed of the vehicle.
The most recent RSA Free Speed survey indicates that 52% of car drivers break the speed limit on urban roads and 27% on rural roads, while an incredible 98% of drivers break the lower urban 30 kph speed limits. “This being the case” said Mr Ryder, “Cyclist.ie doesn’t understand why the concept of graduated fines is being portrayed as another attack on rural Ireland. Observation of speed limits is in all our interests whether we live in rural or urban Ireland. We applaud the IRVA for its stance and call on every member of Cabinet tomorrow to back in principle the concept of graduated fines based on speed of the vehicle. The details can be ironed out via amendments.” Mr Ryder stated that Cyclist.ie favours higher fines in low speed areas as this is where vulnerable road users are most at risk.