Wednesday, 31 October 1984
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Briscoe: asked the Minister for the Environment if, in view of the recent An Foras Forbartha report giving the statistics on bicycle accidents, he intends to introduce new legislation increasing fines for unlit vehicles riding up one-way streets and other similar offences in order to protect the cyclist from himself or herself; the existing maximum fines for breaches of these laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Kavanagh): The general penalty for road traffic offences of the kind mentioned by the Deputy, was increased by the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, 1984 which came into force on 18 July 1984. The maximum fine for a first offence was increased from £20 to £150 and from £50 to £350 for a second or subsequent offence.
While I consider the recently increased penalties to be adequate, I am concerned that the increase in pedal cycle travel, particularly in urban areas, has not been matched by improved road behaviour by pedal cyclists. Breaches of the rules of the road by pedal cyclists are without doubt a contributory factor to the rising number of injuries in recent years. However to put matters in context, pedal cycle fatalities in 1983 were 46, six more than 1982. This figure has to be compared with an average of 49 over the last 10 years and a peak of 74 killed in 1971.
The National Road Safety Association in co-operation with local authorities and  the schools is working to promote safe cycling through its national cycling training scheme for young child cyclists. In the meantime the adult cycling population could contribute towards saving of lives and avoiding injuries by adopting and putting into practice a responsible and disciplined approach to cycling on the public road.
Mr. Briscoe: asked the Minister for the Environment if, in view of the latest statistics showing the number of fatal accidents in which motor cyclists are involved as outlined in the recent An Foras Forbartha report, he will state whether or not it is his intention to implement by way of legislation or a regulation, if possible, control over the power of motor cycles allowing age and experience to determine the maximum engine capacity of these machines.
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Kavanagh): Under the Road Traffic Acts, a driving licence or a provisional licence for any category of vehicle may not be granted to a person who has not attained the age of sixteen years. In the case of motor cycles, the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1964-1984 provide that a person who has not reached the age of 18 years may only be granted a licence to drive a motor cycle, the engine of which does not exceed 150 c.c.s in cylinder capacity.
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