Why Are The Guards Soft On Cyclists?



The Line asks: Should the Gardai do more to enforce the traffic laws with regard to cyclists?

We agree with the woman at 26 seconds.

And not just because she scares us.

The Line

Earlier: An Irish Success Story, You Say?

37 thoughts on “Why Are The Guards Soft On Cyclists?

  1. Joe

    i agree with the lady at 26s too, she also scares me. I agree that something should be done but how does one enforce rules of the road on a vehice that doesn’t have a registration plate or any means of tracking down the offender.

  2. Mr Meh

    Her argument is completely invalid- she seems to be on exchequer street- hardly the worlds busiest street where cyclists are in any danger. Walking home from St Stephens green to Clanbrassil st EVERYDAY I see cyclists either up on the pavements, weaving through traffic even as it starts moving or merrily ignoring redlights if there is no traffic coming- these assholes dont seem to realise that red lights arent a suggestion. But alas the cops have no interest and why would they, they cant confiscate your bike. Cyclists in this city need to understand why drivers despise them- by and large they dont obey the rules of the road yet expect the same respect of drivers.

    1. Nixors

      Along the canal is a feckin nightmare. Pretty much everyday as I walk along I see cyclists going straight through lights nearly knocking people down (crossing at a green man).

      I have to say my pet hate though, when driving, are cyclists that dont use cycle lanes and still use the road? This happens alot on the road from the Ballally Luas station up to Ballinteer where it can be difficult to overtake…why do they not just use the big long cycle lane right beside them?

      1. Paul

        The reason for this a lot of the time are

        1. the bike lanes are in bits and wreck your bike
        2. they’re dangerous to join and leave because they’re at right angles to the road (see the ones in Fairview or on North Wall Quay)
        3. When 1 or 2 are not the case refer to the old adage that “some people are just gobshites”

        I agree with your points (and those of the poster above) on bad cyclists though, I see it every day myself and they make the roads dangerous for all of us, not only because of their reckless behaviour but also because of the animosity they create between drivers and cyclists with many drivers deliberately trying to block off cyclists, it’s all very childish.

        1. Nixors

          I may add, for all the wrong I have seen cyclists do, they can be very much countered with wrongs I have also seen fellow drivers commit. Especially buses. Dear Lord the amount of cyclists I have seen nearly ploughed down by buses pulling in to bus stops that are in the middle of cycle lanes (how clever is that?).

          I was a cyclist for about 6 months. I had to stop because of the sheer stress of it all! I sympathise with both sides anyway :)

  3. Tom Joad

    Us cyclists do flaunt the traffic code, but then again so do pedestrians every time they jaywalk.

    Police do enforce the traffic code against drivers but not against jaywalking pedestrians (correctly in my view).

    I guess cyclists fall somewhere in between the pedestrians and drivers (and I agree with the woman on the clip re who comes first).

    I have no problem with cyclists slipping through a red if they’re not crossing a path of traffic eg at a t junction – provided it’s safe to go. The guards seem to turn a blind eye to this which I think is fair enough. It does however raise the ire of drivers stuck in traffic behind them.

    I guess the fact that the Guards turn a blind eye to cycling misdemeanours makes cyclists think they have carte blanche (which they kind of do). It could be argued that this allows for the instances of dangerous cycling which we are seeing more of as the numbers of cyclists increase.

    So what to do?

    1. wake

      There is no crime of Jaywalking in Ireland

      What to do?

      Start by obeying the Road Traffic Act.

      1. Dave, Dublin

        “The” Road Traffic Act, does that mean I can pick one and stick with it?

        Anyway, jaywalking (horrible word) is still a shitty thing to do. And it’s the first part of the safe cross code. If you do it, you’re making Bosco cry.

        1. wake


          Ok – the Road Traffic Act of 1961 is the main body of legislation dealing with these matters

          All other acts are, and have to legally be, amendments or extensions of same.

          There’s still nothing illegal about a pedestrian crossing a road anywhere they like – in fact they’re actually given priority.

          Now that’s the safe cross code.

  4. Andrew

    As a cyclist I totally agree. I’ve seen far too many cyclists take liberties, especially with traffic lights.

  5. Stephen

    RSA.ie road death statistics for 2010:

    “The 212 who died consisted of 44 pedestrians, 5 cyclists, 91 drivers, 55 passengers and 17 bikers.”

    Now, how many of those 44 pedestrians do we think were killed by cyclists? Personally I’d hazard a guess at 0.

    1. L

      I think you may have missed the point, it’s not about cyclists mowing down pedestrians.
      Cyclists breaking lights, using pavements, weaving in traffic, bunching across the road at lights, undertaking slow moving traffic etc, all of these are very unsafe actions. The result of these actions has an impact on all other road and path users but cyclists seem oblivious to this fact.

    2. Pob

      But the cyclists who were killed, none of those died due to their own stupidity/inability to cycle safely then?

  6. mylod

    and when is the last time that a bicycle killed anyone? or was instrumental in causing a pile-up?

    You can’t apply the same laws to a bicycle that you do to a car. Cars weigh over 1000kg and travel at speeds up to 80kph in our city. Bikes weigh 15kg and rarely exceed 20kph.

    It’s simple physics. Most people aren’t materially affected by bicycles whether slipping through red lights or not. Cyclists know they will be injured if they play chicken with traffic, so when a cyclist slips through a red light, they do so because there is NO traffic in the way.

    Apart from a few hysterical journalists stirring it up every so often, it’s not actually a problem. Most cyclists are killed by large trucks. Motorists and pedestrians tend not to be injured or killed by cyclists.

    1. Janey Mac

      Yep, this would be the answer to why the guards are soft on cyclists, but I guess I’m just too lawful for my own good. I try not to break traffic laws while cycling (though I will admit to nipping down a quiet one-way lane once or twice) and if I realise I need to go the wrong way I get off the bike and push it on the path.

      In fact, it seems to me that bikes on the path are probably the biggest immediate danger: unlikely to kill someone, but if someone isn’t quick enough to get out of the way there could be broken bones, especially an elderly person. Also it’s a bloody nuisance and just plain rude.

  7. Muffy

    Pedestrians: Bikes are traffic too, please don’t walk out in front of us when the light is red for you.

  8. J

    Last Friday about 10pm I was cycling up Georges St just outside The Globe in the cycle path when a taxi door opened infront of me and I slammed into the door, luckily I just braked in time but could have been a hell of alot more serious if I didn’t. I shouted at the woman getting out of the taxi who didn’t look when she opened the door and then to the taxi driver who said I was at fault….WTF? He said he wasn’t in control of his passenger opening the door, yet he wad parked on the road letting a passenger out. If we had less ignorant taxi drivers and more respect for pedestrians/cyclists then the streets would be alot for the better

    1. Charco

      I cycle from Phibsboro to Rathmines daily. This happens at least 3 times a week. Usually people getting out in stopped traffic at the harcourt Luas stop. Cyclists are the most aware of all traffic types. Red lights are broken when it is safe to do so. Stopping at every light uses up way too much energy

      1. L

        That is the exact kind of cavalier attitude that causes accidents. I cycle 44km per day in traffic and see a lot of cyclists breaking lights, safely as you say, and causing all sorts of confusion and evasive actions by other road users in their wake. It’s pure idiocy, but like people have already said, a gobshite on a bike is the same as a gobshite in a car is the same as a gobshite sauntering across the road without looking over their shoulder. It’s sort of a gobshite club.

  9. Beardy man-child

    What if we ban cars, trucks, lorries, buses, motorbikes, trolleys, prams, bicycles and walking, We could cut off people’s feet and attached roller-skates directly to people’ ankles ? Then we could all be classified as vehicles and it would be easier for the Gardai, cut down on emissions and create jobs in a whole new industry, taxi driver’s could give piggy backs to people. It’s a win-win-win-win situation

    1. Ed Van der Hoff

      Trolleys? Excellent idea. Less people on trolleys in hospitals is surely a good thing. I’d also support automatic toll charges on pedestrians at DART stations and city streets.

  10. Coxswain Lovalot

    Its not just cyclists that are breaking the lights.. there have been plenty of times I have entered a busy intersection wanting to turn right but having to wait for the oncoming traffic to stop and 2-3 cars, trucks or dublin busses have gone through the amber and then the red when they have had plenty of time to stop. As a result I have to boot it around the corner before I am t-boned by oncoming traffic.

    As for cycle lanes, many of them are in bits or are very narrow, there is no law that says we have to cycle in them and a lot of the time it safer not to use them.

    Most importantly.. Cyclists don’t hold up traffic… Cyclists ARE traffic!

    1. barbecuedpepper

      Actually, there IS a law that says we (cyclists) have to use cycle-lanes, where provided. Might dig it up tomorrow at work if I remember.
      The same law says that motor vehicles can also use cycle-lanes. Which is nice.

  11. Ed Van der Hoff

    Don’t believe in running red lights in a bike, something to do with Darwin, etc.

    But please explain to the scores of people who cross the road in College Green (against the lights) that crossing in front of a bicycle (which has the right of way) might not kill you, but it’ll hurt. A lot.

  12. Super8

    The cycle lanes are generally poorly maintained. Most are just lip service and old school city planners who drive to work and have parking spaces don’t give a fiddlers about cyclists.

    As usual it will be an EU directive that’ll force our government of farmers and teachers to act.

  13. Dara

    A gobshite is a gobshite regardless of what you are driving/cycling. If you despise all cyclists/drivers you have problems, seek help. Drivers, if you hit a cyclist, you will hurt them and slow your journey down. Cyclists, if you hit a car, it will hurt you and slow your journey down. I am off to cycle home, please remain calm.


  14. Slimbox

    I went through a red at the junction of Dame and Sth Georges street once (I tend not to at that junction as it’s dangerous and too busy), anyway I was stopped then went on as there were no cars coming. It was dark and I didn’t realise the two bike cops beside me!.

    So they catch up to me and I just own up and don’t act the bollocks and get a warning. They told me the only other thing they could have done is bring me to court. So most Gardai will definitely turn a blind eye as bringing cyclists to court for that is a waste of time.

    As a cyclist, I do run red lights, but only if

    1. It’s a pedestrian crossing without anyone on either side looking like they are about to cross

    2. It’s a T junction and I can see no traffic at all coming and the bike lane is wide enough to allow a bike and a car to turn at the same time

    Cyclists staying on paths permanently and not yielding to pedestrians is very bad form as is weaving through pedestrians at crossings. I always apply the brakes and have a good look around before running a red, and only do it where I know the light sequence like the back of my hand.

    The amount of cyclists I see breezing through all sorts of dangerous junctions without even looking or slowing is ridiculous, I’m amazed that more aren’t killed.

  15. Conall

    I cant imagine trying to cycle around Dublin and obeying all the rules. There are plenty of cycle lanes in dublin compared to other Irish cities but they’re usually riddled with potholes and parked cars. The traffic rules are not designed with cyclists in mind. Cyclists simply dont cause accidents at a level that warrants a crackdown. It seems most people who support getting tough on cyclists do so because they’re jealous of how efficiently cyclists navigate cities.

  16. barbecuedpepper

    Four wheels bad. Two wheels good.
    Four wheels bad. Two wheels good.
    Four wheels bad. Two wheels good.
    Four wheels bad. Two wheels good.
    Four wheels bad. Two wheels good.
    Before you start the car in the morning, adjust the rear-view mirror so you can look yourself in the eye and repeat that mantra. Start off saying it twice and build up gradually – after about two months, you should be saying it about 50 times. Then re-adjust the rear-view mirror and start your engine. With a bit of perseverance, you too will shed your metal-plastic cage and become a human being.

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