New Bill to protect cyclists from ‘irresponsible driving behaviour’

A worrying number of drivers are guilty of irresponsible behaviour when it comes to cyclists, according to an East Galway TD.

They seem to have a “no contact, no harm” attitude which is uncceptable, said Deputy Ciaran Cannon.

He was speaking in the Dail following the publication of a new Fine Gael Bill which aims to make cycling safer on Irish roads.

The Road Traffic (Minimum Passing Distance of Cyclists ) Bill 2017 will see motorists forced to obey a minimum passing distance of 1.5 metres - and one metre in zones with speed limits of under 50 km per hour - when overtaking cyclists.

The legislation proposes that drivers who do not comply with the new rules face an €80 fine and three penalty points, and was progressed to second stage in the Dáil.

Deputy Ciaran Cannon and Government chief whip Regina Doherty hope their Bill will be passed before the Dail rises for its summer break.

Deputy Cannon said the Bill will create a safe space on the roads so cyclists can feel protected from passing traffic.

“While the majority of drivers do give sufficient space to cyclists, a worrying number seem to have a ‘no contact, no harm’ attitude. That kind of irresponsible driving behaviour is not acceptable.

“It gives all cyclists - from the child attending their local school, to the family out for a Sunday spin, to our next international medal winner - a designated space on our roads, a space where they can feel somewhat safe and protected.”

Countries that have introduced the 1.5-metre minimum distance law include France, Belgium, Portugal and Australia, 26 US states and several provinces in Canada.

Research by the American League of Cyclists in 2014 found up to 40 per cent of cyclist fatalities are caused by cyclists being hit from behind by a motor vehicle travelling in the same direction.



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