herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Cyclists want clear lanes as gardai roll out new €40 fines

#FreeTheCycleLanes campaigners stage a one-hour protest in Ranelagh yesterday, as gardai put on-the-spot fines in force
#FreeTheCycleLanes campaigners stage a one-hour protest in Ranelagh yesterday, as gardai put on-the-spot fines in force

Cyclists have called for authorities to clamp down on illegal parking in cycle lanes as gardai begin to enforce the new fixed-charge offences.

Bike users nationwide are liable to €40 on-the-spot fines for breaches such as cycling through red lights, or cycling through pedestrianised areas.

This fine will increase to €60 if it is not paid within 28 days, and after 56 days if the fine is still outstanding, a court order will be issued to the offender.

Balance

The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network agrees with the fines, but want gardai to balance matters by stamping out illegal parking in cycle lanes.

The network, along with the Dublin Cycling Campaign, staged a protest to "liberate" cycle lanes in Ranelagh yesterday.

The chairman of the network, Mike McKillen, told the Herald that they will continue to do so until the issue is resolved.

"We agree with the fines but we want to see the gardaí tackling the drivers that threaten cyclists. We want to see a balanced approach," said Mr McKillen.

Garda Inspector Michael O'Connor said cyclists who break red lights will be a priority for officers enforcing the new fixed-charge offences.

Dangerous

"The most dangerous thing is cycling through red lights, which we have seen in Dublin for the past number of years and which we're trying to raise awareness on, and will be one of the more serious offences," he told Newstalk radio.

However, Mr McKillen is unsure this is the correct approach. "Just two weeks ago, the city of Paris made it legal for cyclists to go through red lights as they know cyclists going through red lights do not cause accidents," he said.

Meanwhile, Gda Insp O'Connor said cyclists who are caught breaking the law will not get away with giving fake information. "If we're not satisfied with the details given, such as the name and address, we do have the power to seize the pedal cycle, and with the Dublin Bikes scheme we also have recourse to determine the account holder," he said.

Enforcement of the new fixed-charge offences began yesterday.

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