A group representing Irish cyclists has criticised the number of fines issued by gardaí to motorists who parked in cycle lanes — despite a more than twofold increase in the amount of tickets handed down.
The number of penalties issued for the offence was highlighted following the release of figures by the Garda Press Office to the Irish Examiner, and Freedom of Information requests to the nation’s 31 local authorities.
The Garda Press Office said that 365 tickets were issued nationally to vehicles parked on cycle lanes last year, compared to 144 in 2014. Each notice carried with it a €60 fine and one penalty point.
However Mike McKillen, chairman of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, said the figures show that An Garda Siochána’s effort to make roads safer for cyclists “is well below par”.
“That’s a bare one a day nationally, a joke,” said Mr McKillen. “We could issue 365 fixed charged notices for illegal parking in cycle tracks in Ranelagh per day.”
An online campaign — #freethecyclelanes — has highlighted the many examples of where vehicles repeatedly obstruct designated cycling spaces.
“In two meetings over past year with Dublin Metropolitan Region Traffic Corps officers we have been informed that An Garda Siochána can’t be seen to obstruct business activity so essential to the economy — members get it in the neck from aggrieved drivers when they are ticketed so anything for a quiet life matters more than cyclists safety on our roads,” Mr McKillen said.
Meanwhile, requests to the country’s City and County Councils show varying levels of enforcement by local authority wardens across the country.
Dublin City Council clamped or towed 229 vehicles for the same offence in 2015.
It said that 1,223 vehicles were clamped or towed for parking on a bus lane, which can also be used by cyclists, in addition to the 229 offences enforced for parking in a cycle lane.
Another 4,664 vehicles were clamped or towed for parking in a clearway, which also contain cycle lanes in many cases, a Dublin City Council spokesperson said. A declamp fee of €80 was issued in each instance.
However, the number of tickets handed out by Cork City Council in the same period fell when compared to 2014.
It issued 60 fines, costing each offending motorist €40 per ticket, last year compared to 88 in 2014. Cork County Council said there are no cycle lanes in any of the Municipal Districts in areas where the Council enforces parking controls.
A total of 22 fines were issued in 2015 in Galway City while fines were also issued last year by local authorities in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown (92), South Dublin (27), Monaghan (21), Wexford (17), Mayo (3), and Kildare (1).
Other councils, such as those in Louth, Tipperary, Waterford, and Wicklow, were unable to specify how many were fined for parking in a cycle lane as they do not categorise individual reasons for issuing parking tickets.
Clare, Kerry, and Leitrim councils said that their counties’ cycle lanes were either outside their warden’s patrol area or are away from urban centres and so are unlikely to be parked on.
At least eight other councils said that it is not an offence enforced by their traffic management division, while Longford’s local authority said there are no designated cycle lanes in the county.
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