New fines for cyclists, but do you know the existing law?

The Minister for Transport will introduce a new system of fixed-charged notices for cycling offences later this month. There will be 7 specific offences that would each require the payment of a €40 fine.

The details of the new regulations have not yet been published but it must be assumed that if a fine is not paid within a specified time a court summons will follow, as currently happens for other road traffic offences.

In the meantime, there is a common misconception that there are no specific laws on cycling but it has long been an offence to “drink cycle”, for example. The offence is of cycling or attempting to when under the influence of an intoxicant to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle. In fact, the same offence applies to driving an animal-drawn vehicle while under the influence.

The maximum penalties are €5,000 and up to 3 months’ imprisonment. Obviously, as there is no licence required, the issue of penalty points and disqualification does not arise.

The new rules will provide for fines of €40 for cycling without reasonable consideration, breaking a red light or cycling in a pedestrian area (full details here).

There has been an increase in cycling in recent times which is to be welcomed and the introduction of public bike schemes in Limerick, Cork, Galway and Dublin puts more wheels on the roads. The vulnerability of cyclists on public roads requires all road users to be conscious of the rules and drivers of cars and large vehicles, in particular, to be alert to the presence of cyclists.

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