Four in every ten cyclists in Ireland are routinely jumping red lights, despite it being just three weeks before penalty charges come in.
A Sunday Times survey of nearly 500 cyclists passing through four main junctions in central Dublin last week found 177 breaking the traffic law.
One of the junctions even has a permanent police presence, as it is by Leinster House on Kildare Street.
Mike McKillen, chairman of the lobby group Cyclist.ie said: “We do our own surveys, but we also track every bus, coach, taxi, private car, van driver and motorcyclist who breaks a red light.
“All road users are breaking red lights, though of course the percentage of cyclists who do is higher — but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as high as four in every ten.
“There is a world of difference between a 15km bicycle going through a red light and a bus, coach or taxi. There is no evidence from pan-European road-safety research literature that cyclists breaking red lights cause any harm to road users.”
Paschal Donohoe, the minister for transport, has brought in a Euros 40 fine from July 31 for cyclists who jump red lights.
It will also apply to seven existing road traffic offences, including failure to have a light during lighting-up hours and cycling without reasonable consideration.
Linda Pototzki of AA Roadwatch said: “We polled our members in the past on cyclists’ behaviour, and one in eight drivers told us they had a near miss or collision with cyclists.
“It could be that some . . . were as a result of a cyclist breaking a red light. Of those incidents, 48% occurred during daylight.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.