New laws will come into effect at midnight tonight making it an offence to dangerously overtake a cyclist.
The changes follow a lengthy campaign by cycle groups demanding action on the issue with numerous videos shared online of close calls between cyclists and passing vehicles.
Building on existing legislation, the new rules provide for an increased fixed charge of €120 and three penalty points for offenders.
The law provides for a one-metre distance overtaking space (in locations with speed limits less than 50km/h) and 1.5-metre distance where the speed limit exceeds 50 km/h.
The Road Safety Authority will underpin the introduction of the new law changes through radio, digital and outdoor advertising campaign.
Announcing the new legislation, the Minister for Transport Shane Ross said: “The law will target and punish drivers who are guilty of such deadly, dangerous behaviour. Equally important is the impact I hope it will have on driver behaviour, providing a heightened awareness of the importance of sharing road space in a respectful and safe manner.”
“Too many cyclists have frankly terrifying tales to tell of intimidatingly close passes and near misses. And we are all sadly aware of the worrying numbers of cyclists being killed and injured on our roads, despite a downward trend in road fatalities more generally.”
The Minister also announced that a competition will shortly be commenced to appoint four people to the Board of Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The Minister intends reserving one of the posts to an individual with cycling expertise.