Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Ireland to introduce dangerous overtaking of cyclists law

Drivers face €120 fine for close passes – but no minimum passing distance stipulated

Ireland is to introduce a specific offence of dangerous overtaking of cyclists, although earlier plans to introduce a minimum safe passing distance will not be enacted.

The new offence, which will be laid on the statute books on 12 November by Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, will attract a maximum fine of €120.

Until now, motorists who overtake cyclists too closely have faced an €80 penalty under a general law against dangerous overtaking.

RTE reports Mr Ross as saying that the new law is being brought in to recognise that cyclists are a particularly vulnerable group of road users.

No minimum passing distance will be stipulated because, on the advice of the country’s Attorney General, it would prove difficult to enforce.

However, the Road Safety Authority will be launching an educational campaign urging drivers to give cyclists an overtaking distance of at least 1 metre on roads with a speed limit of 50kph or lower, and 1.5 metres where the speed limit is higher.

Phil Skelton, organiser of Staying Alive at 1.5, which has campaigned for a minimum passing distance law, welcomed the new legislation but warned that it “should not be seen as the panacea of cyclist safety.”

He told IrishCycle.com: “I welcome this announcement with cautious optimism. This will be a new model of cyclist specific dangerous overtaking law and it’s important to give this the opportunity to work.

“Much work has gone into the background of this if they all come together, I believe it will.

“This should not be seen as the panacea of cyclist safety but it will act as another tool in the cyclist safety toolkit.

“It certainly should not be viewed as a substitute to dedicated, connected segregated cycling infrastructure but more of a beach head strategy,” he added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment

4 comments

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
0 likes

But dobbo, a submitted photo would be all that was needed to indicate lawbreaking parking on a pavement.  Close passing is very much more difficult to prove.

It's one of the reasons that Oz can get so many cyclists riding without helments and fine them heavily.  So easy to spot, so easy to stop.

People playing with "smart" phones whilst driving requires a great deal more effort.

Avatar
Philh68 | 4 years ago
4 likes

A law that is unenforceable because it lacks the criteria to make it enforceable is pointless. We have had dangerous overtaking as a traffic offence in Australia for years, similarly with no criteria of acceptable distance which made it a discretionary offence and unenforceable as far as close passes on cyclists is concerned. Only through years of lobbying did we get a sub rule making a mandatory minimum passing distance. It’s hard enough proving the 1m or 1.5m distance to police, without that requirement in law you’re just pissing into the wind.

Avatar
dobbo996 replied to Philh68 | 4 years ago
0 likes
Philh68 wrote:

A law that is unenforceable because it lacks the criteria to make it enforceable is pointless. We have had dangerous overtaking as a traffic offence in Australia for years, similarly with no criteria of acceptable distance which made it a discretionary offence and unenforceable as far as close passes on cyclists is concerned. Only through years of lobbying did we get a sub rule making a mandatory minimum passing distance. It’s hard enough proving the 1m or 1.5m distance to police, without that requirement in law you’re just pissing into the wind.

Yep. An unenforceable law is just ink on paper. In Wales our government is looking at making parking on pavements illegal, which is a good thing, but will be pointless without effective enforcement. Local government has neither money nor staff to do these things.

Avatar
geomannie 531 | 4 years ago
0 likes

Hmm, I cycled from the North to the Republic last summer and the difference in the behaviour of drivers was very noticeable. In the North drivers were mostly ok, but in the Republic the drivers had no ill intent, I think, but seemed to have no concept of cycling and that cyclists need space. We retreated to the the quietest roads we could find asap.

A close pass law could work, but would have to be enforced.

Latest Comments