Belfast Telegraph

Drivers who overtake cyclists in a dangerous manner face harsher penalties

Nine cyclists have been killed in fatal collisions so far in 2019.

Hundreds of cyclists cross the river Liffey in Dublin (PA)
Hundreds of cyclists cross the river Liffey in Dublin (PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

New laws to regulate the dangerous overtaking of cyclists will come into force from midnight.

It will see a fixed charge of 120 euro and three penalty points for those caught overtaking cyclists dangerously under new legislation introduced by Transport Minister Shane Ross on Monday.

The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) (Amendment) Regulation splits the offence of dangerous overtaking to make it a separate offence to dangerously overtaking a pedal cyclist.

Mr Ross said the new law will target and punish drivers “who are guilty of such deadly, dangerous behaviour”.

Too many cyclists have frankly terrifying tales to tell of intimidatingly close passes and near misses Shane Ross, Transport Minister

“Equally important is the impact I hope it will have on driver behaviour, providing a heightened awareness of the importance of sharing road space in a respectful and safe manner.”

“Too many cyclists have frankly terrifying tales to tell of intimidatingly close passes and near misses.

“And we are all sadly aware of the worrying numbers of cyclists being killed and injured on our roads, despite a downward trend in road fatalities more generally.”

Cyclist lobby group i-bike said the new law is a “token gesture” that will not make life safer for cyclists and the fine is too small to change driver behaviour.

“An extra 40 euro is no deterrent to the small minority of drivers who wilfully endanger people who are cycling”, the group said in a statement.

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Cyclists have called for more of the transport budget to be allocated to cycling infrastructure (PA)

“Minister Ross should spend his very limited remaining time in office, re-adjusting the transport budget to allocate 10% of capital spending on cycling infrastructure projects, rather than the crumb-like 2% he has decided upon.

Chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, Moyagh Murdock, said drivers should always allow safe passing distances for cyclists and should always adjust their behaviour to suit the road environment.

“This includes slowing down and ensuring you pass cyclists when it’s safe to do so, and critically, giving them the space to ride safe.

“Drivers need to remember that in the event of a collision a cyclist will always come off worse.

“The introduction of this new law with tough penalties for drivers who flout it is very timely given that we have tragically lost 9 cyclists in fatal crashes to fate in 2019.”

PA

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