Tag Archives: Behaviour&Legal

Any legal or Gardai related issue; also road user behaviour: cyclists, motorists & pedestrians

Cyclist.ie Demands an Immediate Response to Deaths and Serious Injuries on Rural Roads

The provisional figures published on the 26th of July 2021 by The Road Safety Authority (RSA) identify several worrying trends on the country’s roads. The review shows that from 1 January to 15 July, 2021, 65 people died on Irish roads in 60 collisions with a further 406 people were seriously injured. [1]

Speaking on behalf of Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, Colm Ryder, Chairperson said:

We welcome the publication of this report but are extremely concerned that safety on our rural roads is in severe decline. The RSA statistics identify a 13 percentage point increase in the proportion of the fatalities occurring in rural areas, as against urban areas. In 2020, 69% of fatalities (corresponding to 51 deaths) occurred in rural areas, while in 2021, 82% of fatalities (corresponding to 53 deaths). It’s an unacceptable trend for rural Ireland and one which demands a strong response from government bodies and local authorities responsible for roads, transport and mobility.”

Of particular concern is that school finishing time has been highlighted as being the most dangerous time of the day on the nation’s roads. The time between 12pm to 4pm was the period within which accounted for 31% of fatalities to date this year. Ireland’s statistics documenting the number of children cycling to school continues to show a worrying downward trend. Since 1986, the number of girls cycling to school in Ireland has fallen from 19,000. At present, only one in 250 girls cycle to school in Ireland each day. Just 694 secondary school girls in Ireland cycled to school as per the most recent census data. [2] 

The Department of Transport has announced funding to implement its Safe Routes to School Programme. The aim of the pilot programme is to assess routes to schools, selected by An Taisce Green Schools, and implement changes which would enable safe cycling and walking [3]. Speaking on behalf of the  Cyclist.ie Rural Cycling Collective, Anluan Dunne said: 

The pilot scheme to create safe routes to school shouldn’t be needed. Like the amazing cycle buses, such programmes are only needed because we have a legacy of poor design and even poorer priorities. I believe there is a growing acceptance that we have collectively made the wrong choices and now we need a concerted effort to rectify this. Specifically, we need less cars on our roads, increased enforcement of traffic law and severe penalties for people who endanger vulnerable road users such as children cycling to or from school.

Driver behaviour was highlighted by the RSA survey and by senior Gardaí as being the most impactful factor impacting the statistics. Mr Sam Waide, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said:

Our own research is telling us that one factor behind this is a deterioration in road user behaviour. The Driver Attitudes & Behaviour Survey  which we conducted late last year revealed more drivers admitting to speeding in 50km and 100km speed zones. It also showed an increase in motorists texting while driving plus driving while fatigued and nodding off while behind the wheel.”[4]

Cyclist.ie are calling for a zero-tolerance approach to road safety and an increase in penalties for drivers. An Garda Síochána issued 181,263 Fixed Charge Notices to motorists for speeding with detections continuing to rise across 2021. Cyclist.ie has also called for new infrastructure, such as fixed speed cameras and an online traffic offence portal, to be employed to make enforcement more effective. 

Neasa Bheilbigh, Vice-Chairperson of Cyclist.ie stated: 

Clearly the current penalties and detection rates are insufficient. We need widespread deployment of fixed speed cameras, an online submission portal for traffic offences and new technology to detect motorists utilising mobile phones while driving. In addition, we need to see plans to reduce the number of car journeys taken in Ireland, particularly where viable alternatives exist. We want to see a robust response from the Gardaí and other state organisations.

For more information please contact:

Anluan Dunne
Member of the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee
Chairperson of Kerry Cycling Campaign, [email protected] 

References:

[1] Road Safety Authority Six Month Road Safety Review, Jan to July 15 of 2021, Presentation – Available here

[2] Get Ireland Cycling Strategy Framework (2018) – Available at this link. See Chapter 2 and Appendix II.   

[3] New Safe Routes to School Funding is Allocated

[4] Majority of road deaths occur on Rural Roads in 2021

Dangerous Overtaking of Cyclists Legislation

Cyclist.ie Statement

Up until today, drivers who overtook cyclists dangerously could be prosecuted under the general law regarding dangerous overtaking and be given a fine of €80 and three penalty points. Examples of dangerous overtaking (or ‘punishment passes’ as they are sometimes known) can be seen on the following video links, here and here.

Cyclist.ie welcomes the new regulation regarding the dangerous overtaking of cyclists announced today (11th November 2019) by Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Under the new regulation, drivers will incur a penalty of a maximum of €120 for the dangerous overtaking of a person on a bicycle. There will be no increase in the number of penalty points awarded under the new law as this would require primary legislation.

Cyclist.ie is cautiously optimistic that there will be serious and systematic enforcement of the new regulations by An Garda Síochána. The impact the new laws will have on driver behaviour is critically linked with the enforcement regime to be employed by the Gardaí.

We are hopeful that with additional promotion of safe overtaking practice by the Road Safety Authority and other state bodies – and an active enforcement regime – that people cycling on the roads are given much greater overtaking distances by people driving, and that a normal and safe culture of cycling to and from school (especially) can be re-established.

Enormous credit for the introduction of this law is due to campaigner Phil Skelton from Safe Cycling Ireland, a member group of Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network. He has worked consistently and tirelessly on this issue for over six years, following the deaths of two cyclists in Wexford as a result of collisions with cars moving in the same direction as them. Speaking to Irish Cycle, Phil Skelton said: “This legislation sends a clear unambiguous signal to drivers that cyclists have a legitimate right to the road and recognises cyclists as legitimate road users.”

Cyclist.ie is conscious that already in 2019, nine people lost their lives while cycling. This regulation is but one element of a wider tool box of interventions to completely change cycling conditions on Irish roads. Other crucial elements include the roll-out of 30km/hr zones in all built-up areas, the construction of high quality and segregated cycling infrastructure and making all of the most hostile junctions in the country safe for people of all ages and abilities on bicycles.

Cyclist.ie will be posting a more detailed response to the new legislation after we have had a chance to scrutinise it. 

Cork Rallies for Safer Cycling

Cork Cycling Campaign Rallies for Better Protection for Cyclists;
Corkonians Rally for Safe, Usable Cycle Lanes

People who support cycling held their first rally outside City Hall on 11 February this evening. The rally was organised by the Cork Cycling Campaign to highlight problems experienced in the city, particularly vehicles stopping or parking in dedicated cycle lanes. The rally called for measures to make the city’s cycle lanes fit for purpose and safe for cycling.

The rally coincided with motions from Cllr Fiona Ryan (Solidarity Party) before the city council to install protective barriers in places where parking in cycle lanes is a persistent problem. These include South Main Street, Washington Street, and Alfred Street. Barriers are already routinely used across the city and have been installed between vehicular traffic lanes on Washington Street as recently as last month.

Cork Cycling Campaign pointed out that the rally shows how strongly people who cycle feel about vehicles parked in cycle lanes. First and foremost, this practise threatens the safety of people cycling. When drivers park cars or vans in cycle lanes, cyclists must swerve into another traffic lane and mix with fast, heavy vehicles. This poses a grave danger for unprotected road users. Such manoeuvres intimidate many people, especially children and inexperienced cyclists. Safeguarding cycle lanes is also a matter of mutual respect between different road users. Parking in cycle lanes disregards the needs of other road users, including buses which must wait for a break in traffic to manoeuvre around a parked car.

Full Press Release

Cyclists call on gardaí to protect them from road rage drivers

Cyclists have called for more action by gardaí to protect cyclists after a number of apparent road rage incidents emerged in videos on social media.

The call came after dash-cam footage of an incident involving a cyclist and taxi driver on Belvedere Road between North Circular Road and Dorset Street in north Dublin was published on social media on Wednesday.

Read article (which contains video)

Submission to ‘Commission on the Future of Policing’ in Ireland on Reform of Roads Policing in Ireland

Dublin Cycling Campaign took the lead role in making a submission to The Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland in response to its call in seeking consultations with the public.

Our primary concern is the reform of Roads Policing in line with the Cyclist.ie submission made to the Policing Authority last September in relation to the Garda ‘Policing Plan 2018’

This submission is entitled: The Role of the Irish Police & the Health & Safety of people who want to cycle