A Cork-based safe-cycling advocate has welcomed a new law to combat dangerous overtaking of cyclists. It will be introduced in the coming weeks.
The law will refer to dangerous overtaking of a cyclist and will be punishable by a larger fine than general overtaking and by additional penalty points, according to reports in the Irish Times. Dangerous overtaking in general is already a fixed penalty offence, punishable by three penalty points and by an €80 fine.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport told the newspaper that the law would “specifically target those drivers who put cyclists at risk”.
Neil Fox, whose sister was killed cycling to work in Dublin in 2016, is now living in Cork and has spoken before about the need for greater cycling infrastructure.
“I’m really delighted that this law is finally coming in next month,” he told The Echo. “While legislation is not necessarily the goal, it does, unquestionably, lead to changed attitudes and behaviours, and this is crucial when it comes to road safety.
“The RSA campaign to publicise this measure will, no doubt, be strong and consistent, which brings the message into the homes and cars and lorries throughout the country,” he added.
“Publicising the need for this measure to penalise dangerous overtaking of cyclists is vital to its success.”
Mr Fox said approximately 30 cyclists have been killed since his sister, Donna, died.
“Of course, I do often wonder could Donna, and those other people, have been saved had such legislation and awareness been in place,” he said. “Who knows, but the potential certainly would have been there.
“This law has road safety at its heart; it’s not about punishment, but about protecting us all on the roads.”
Mr Fox called for an end to cyclists-versus-motorists, labelling it “nonsense” and “unproductive”.
“I know, inevitably, there will be a bit of a spike in it in the run-up to, and wake of, this legislation, but, again, I remind people that most adults who cycle also drive,” he said.
“Nobody who is being cautious and appropriate in their driving has anything to fear by this overtaking legislation.
“Really, it’s a game-changer for cycling safety in Ireland and we certainly have lagged behind, considering similar laws have been in other parts of the world since 1973, at least.
“Now, we need to focus on the other vital ingredient for cycling safety, which is infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.”