Belfast Telegraph

Fianna Fail says Transport Minister lacks will to implement cycling legislation

Transport Minister Shane Ross does not possess “the will” to implement minimum passing distance legislation for motorists overtaking cyclists, Fianna Fail has claimed.The opposition party’s transport spokesman Robert Troy said on Tuesday that Mr Ross had not pushed through the legislation aimed at improving road safety as promised.In February, Mr Ross said a minimum passing …

Transport Minister Shane Ross does not possess “the will” to implement minimum passing distance legislation for motorists overtaking cyclists, Fianna Fail has claimed.

The opposition party’s transport spokesman Robert Troy said on Tuesday that Mr Ross had not pushed through the legislation aimed at improving road safety as promised.

In February, Mr Ross said a minimum passing distance law would be introduced as an overtaking offence through secondary legislation in a matter of weeks.

The law would mean motorists would have to pass cyclists at a distance of one metre on roads with speed limit zones under 50 km/h and 1.5 metres on road with speed limits of 50km/h or above.

“Minister Ross said he would bring forward a statutory instrument and he would do so in weeks,” Mr Troy said.

“Six months has now passed and we’re still waiting on that statutory instrument to be signed.”

Mr Troy said Fianna Fail will be bringing forward legislation in September to introduce the measure because it had been shown to work internationally.

“26 States in the US have implemented this,” he said.

“It has been implemented right throughout Australia… in Belgium, France and Portugal – so it’s not un-implementable. It’s not unenforceable.

“I don’t honestly believe Minister Ross has the will to implement this legislation.”

Mr Troy made the comments as Fianna Fail published a policy paper calling for an overhaul of cycling infrastructure.

The proposals include the introduction of more segregated bike lanes, establishing a specialist cycling division with the National Transport Authority, appointing a cycling officer in each local authority and expanding the bike sharing schemes.

The latest figures showed funding for cycling infrastructure fell from 19 million euro to seven million last year, despite the number of people cycling to work rising by 43% since 2011.

A government document released on Monday noted the numbers of people cycling to work grew to 56,837.

The transport spokesman said there had not been a national cycling policy since 2009, and in that time there had been a substantial increase in number of people commuting to work by bike.

“This policy acknowledges the critical mode cycling plays in transport,” he said.

“What we hope, if the government takes on board our suggestions, that it will see a greater increase in the number of people who are cycling as their preferred method of transport.”

He added that a greater emphasis is needed to be placed on ensuring safer cycling as last year 15 cyclists lost their lives on the country’s roads.

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