Surge in fines for parking in cycle lanes

Last year saw a surge in tickets issued to motorists who parked in cycle lanes in Cork City, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act have shown.

Cork City Council issued 88 tickets to motorists for parking in a cycle lane last year — more than the previous four years combined.

While Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said it issued 497 fixed charged notices for the same offence between 2009 and 2014, similar requests to councils in Dublin City, Fingal, Galway City and Limerick City and County revealed that none of these local authorities issued fines for this reason over the same period.

Dublin City Council said that the issue of parking tickets is a function of the gardaí, a stance similar to that held by Fingal County Council.

“Our traffic wardens only patrol areas where there is pay and display and there are no cycleways in those areas. The gardaí are responsible for all other enforcement,” a spokesperson for Fingal County Council said.

The 88 tickets issued by the City Council in 2014 represent a 440% increase on the number handed out for parking in cycle lanes in 2013, when 20 were issued.

A total of 17 similar fines were issued in 2012, and the 18 handed out in 2011 and 2010 were a drop on the 29 tickets served in 2009.

Last month gardaí said they issued 144 tickets across the country for the same offence in 2014.

Meanwhile, a survey by Dublin Cycling Campaign has shown that one in six bicycle owners who have had a bicycle stolen do not return to cycling, and a further 26% reduce their cycling habits as a result of theft.

The group said it is estimated that more than 20,000 bikes are stolen annually in Dublin alone, which may mean that more than 3,000 people stop cycling each year in Dublin due to bike theft, and possibly a further 5,000 reduce the amount they cycle as a result of bike theft.

“We will continue to lose large numbers of cyclists if we don’t tackle the growing problem of bicycle theft. A co-ordinated, multi-agency plan to tackle bicycle theft is required if we are to reach the Government target of 10% of journeys by bicycle by 2020” said Keith Byrne, chairperson of Dublin Cycling Campaign.

More than 1,500 people completed the December 2014 online survey, which found that the hotspots for bike theft are Trinity College; St Stephens Green/South King St; Georges St; South William St; Drury Street; Connolly Station; Smithfield/North King St; North Princes St; Parnell St and Rathmines Road.

The survey also found that:

The most common locations for bicycle theft, in order of frequency, are carparks, homes and streets.

More than half of the cyclists, (55%), who had bikes stolen either had not locked the bike at all or had an inadequate mechanism such as a cable lock protecting the bicycle.

Only 4% of people who had a bike stolen subsequently recovered it.

Only 15% of bike theft victims had their bikes insured.

David Timoney, the campaign researcher, said some of the results were surprising.

“Like most people, we assumed that the street was the most risky place to leave your bike, not carparks or at home. This type of data is very useful however and will help us work with An Garda and the City Council to deal with the specific nature of the problem in Dublin.”

More in this section