Wednesday 26 October 2016

Cyclists face €40 spot fines for using earphones, says minister

Cyclists face earphone fines
Cyclists face earphone fines

Cyclists face €40 on-the-spot fines if they're caught using earphones while on a bike.

Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed that although it is not a specific offence under road traffic legislation, using headphones could be seen as dangerous to other road users.

"I have made the offence of driving a pedal cycle without reasonable consideration a fixed charge offence," Mr Donohoe said in the Dail.

"All road users have a responsibility to behave in a way which is conducive to their safety and that of other road users.

"A cyclist that puts themselves or other road users at risk, by the use of headphones for example, could be considered to be driving without reasonable consideration."

Seven cycling offences come under the new fines system introduced in the summer by the Transport Minister.

The enforcement of this fixed charge offence would be a matter for An Garda Siochana, he added.

A representative for the Department of Transport confirmed to the Herald that the use of headphones by cyclists is not a specific offence under road traffic legislation. However, they said it is at the discretion of gardai to issue fixed notices.

"An Garda Siochana can issue a Fixed Charge Notice for cyclists who are driving without reasonable consideration. It is their call to make," they added.

Mr Donohoe was responding in the Dail in response to Labour junior minister Kevin Humphreys.

He said that some constituents had contacted in him relation to headphone-wearing cyclists in Dublin city centre during rush hour.


"They set their earphones at such a volume that they are not aware of their environs," Mr Humphreys said.

"This makes them a danger to themselves and to those around them, with possibly devastating consequences for all involved.

The Dublin Cycling Campaign's Keith Byrne told the Sunday Times said that he disagreed with claims that using earphones was dangerous.

"I know plenty of people who cycle with earphones on and they can still hear traffic while listening to music or drive-time radio," he said.

"Someone can legally drive while talking on their phone with their headsets plugged in.

"You could argue this caused the same level of distraction," he added.

Around 100 cyclists a month have received penalties for breaking red lights, cycling on footpaths and other offences since the measure was introduced in July.

Garda figures released at the beginning of this month found that 244 cyclists across the State were stopped by gardai and given fixed-charge penalty notices of €40 per incident, between mid-July and September 30 this year.

Last year, 16 cyclists lost their lives on the State's roads and seven have been killed so far in 2015.

The latest fatality occurred at the N22 road at Scart, Farranfore at approximately 11.15am yesterday.

A male cyclist in his 30s was fatally injured when he was involved in a collision with a car.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body removed to Kerry General Hospital. The driver and passenger of the car were not injured.

Gardai appealed for witnesses to contact Killarney Garda Station on 064-6671160, the Garda Confidential line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

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