From left: Assistant Garda Commissioner David Sheahan, Minister for Transport  Shane Ross and RSA Chief Executive Moyagh Murdock launching a proposal to make it an offence to pass a cyclist closer than 1.5m on roads with 50kph limit or higher

Mr Ross said it had proved exceptionally difficult to draft legislation on a minimum passing distance that was constitutional and that could be enforced, and as a result the Bill would not proceed.

It is understood the Attorney General’s concerns centred on how the 1m and 1.5m distance could be measured for enforcement purposes.

He spoke too soon.

Spoke.

Suit yourselves.

New law on drivers overtaking cyclists abandoned (Irish Times)

Rollingnews

60 thoughts on “Overtaken

  1. small ads

    Considering that some 42 jurisdictions have and enforce such a law, it makes the Irish judiciary sound a trifle dim.

    1. Cian

      Possibly the other 42 jurisdictions don’t have Bunreacht na hÉireann underlying their legal system.

      1. Alan mc gee

        so Bunreacht na hÉireann enshrined the unsafe driving of a motorist over a cyclist?
        if it’s constitutionally permissible for such an act you’d think Ross would be looking to amend that.
        which specific statute in the constitution allows motorist to drive on top of cyclists?

        1. Cian

          I don’t know I’m going on the quote above:
          Mr Ross said it had proved exceptionally difficult to draft legislation on a minimum passing distance that was constitutional and that could be enforced, and as a result the Bill would not proceed.”

          1. Alan McGee

            Ross et al should give the constitution a bit of a read so they’re not wasting our money then on utter rubbish like this.
            The TV ads alone would have cost hundreds of thousands and for what??
            Sack Ross the stupid prick

          2. gerry

            well the tv ads are not about the legislation they are about the RSA’s guidelines on safe passing distances which are endorsed by the Gardai and which haven’t changed. The reason for the expendiiture is to reduce deaths. 9 cyclists were killed in 2018 which is down from 14 in 2017.

    2. Eoin

      Especially when the Gardai do enforce a similar tailgating rule (you can’t drive so close to another vehicle that, if the other vehicle stopped dead, you would hit it within 2 seconds).

      “You must keep your vehicle to a speed that allows you to stop it: safely, in a controlled way; on the correct side of the road; within the distance that you can see to be clear; and without risk or harm to you, your passengers and any other users of the road. In traffic, the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you is known as the ‘safe headway’. Keep a safe headway by ensuring you are at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front. This is known as the ‘two-second rule’. ”
      https://www.garda.ie/en/Crime/Traffic-matters/Rules_of_the_road.pdf

      Ross holds up the Constitution like an newbie parent lacking confidence tells their kid “that’s so why”.

      CCTV, Garda incar cameras, dashcams, witness accounts and the usual stuff about advertising and proving road traffic offences would be enough to enforce the rule.

      1. Cian

        Is this a ‘law’? as in legally enforceable? if you are 1.8 seconds behind a car can you be arrested?

        Or is it merely a guideline, and you get done for “dangerous driving”?

    1. Liam Deliverance

      A very relevant question Scottser, there was publicity campaigns, TV and radio ads etc etc, none of this comes cheap and of course the taxpayer footing the bill. A 10 year old could see flaws with this from the start so why waste the taxpayers money on ads etc before it’s legally a goer. Ross should be pulled up on this.

      1. gerry

        The publicity campaigns were promoting the safe passing distance not the law. These remain the safe passing distances that RSA and gardai promote so that money was not wasted.

        1. scottser

          if the law had no legs in the first place, surely someone on the legal team could have pointed it out instead of spending a couple of mill on solicitors to do all the monkey work?

          1. Cian

            “a couple of mill on solicitors to do all the monkey work”
            is this conjecture on your part? or did someone spend multiple millions on solicitors relating to this proposed law?

  2. Joe

    all cyclists should clip a 1.5m flexible bar to their saddle so drivers know how fare to keep away from them. Alternatively drivers use the full oncoming lane when overtaking like they do overtaking a car.

    1. topsy

      All cyclists should stop cycling on the inside of cars, between cars & over the middle of the road continuous lines on narrow streets. That might also help.

        1. Jimi

          Thats a bit harsh, the cars haven’t done anything wrong, Crush the drivers and recycle them as art installations, and give the cars to drivers who have enough spatial awareness to give a vulnerable road user adequate space,

      1. Cian

        It depends on what problem we are trying to solve.

        If it is safer cycling (i.e. fewer deaths and injuries to cyclists) then if you removed the main culprit (cars/trucks/busses) from the roads – you will achieve your goal.

        I don’t have the exact numbers, but I don’t think any cyclists have managed to kill anyone in Ireland in the last few years, and they have badly-hurt relatively[1] few. Similarly, I don’t think a motorcyclist has killed anyone else (they do kill themselves) although they have a greater potential to hurt others.

        [1] relative to cars/trucks/busses

        1. edalicious

          Plus, since so much of controlling a bike/motorbike is moving your weight around to make turns, I don’t know how they’d even be able to make a “driverless” two-wheeled vehicle.

          1. Cian

            In everyday motor biking very little of the controlling on a bike is done by “moving your weight” around. You push the handlebars… which leans the bike (and, yes, you lean with the bike), but the turn is caused by the handlebars.

          2. Mickey Twopints

            Oh, Look! Cian writing on a topic he clearly knows SFA about. Again.

            A motorcyclist absolutely 100% manoeuvres their machine by shifting their weight. They would crash at the first turn if they did not.

          3. Cian

            @Mickey Twopints

            I’ll clarify what I said above. “In everyday motor biking very little of the controlling on a bike is done by “moving your weight” around to make turns.”

            Yes, if you are going straight and want to move from the middle of the lane to one side you can use your weight – but I wouldn’t consider that ‘turning’. Similarly, I’m not talking about racing. Just everyday biking and turning corners.

            A bike might weigh 150-250kg; A rider 50-80kg; If you want to make a corner you need the bike to lean. The easiest and quickest way to lean a bike is using the handlebars not using the rider’s weight.

            “A motorcyclist absolutely 100% manoeuvres their machine by shifting their weight. They would crash at the first turn if they did not.” No. I disagree.

            https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/how-to-ride-motorcycle-body-steering-vs-counter-steering-riding-tips-how-to-steer-bike-keith-code

            Oh, and to completely blow your mind, if I want to turn right I push the right-hand-side of the handlebar. The turns the wheel to the left but the bike turns to the right. Magic.

          4. Mickey Twopints

            Cian, the only thing that blows my mind is that anyone can be as wilfully stupid, ignorant, and persistently wrong as you. Every day. On almost every topic that’s raised on BS.

            I’ve been riding motorcycles since before your daddy was a glint in your granddaddys eye. I’ve been personally trained in advanced riding by one of the most experienced instructors in the Traffic Division of London Met police.

            Congratulations on discovering countersteering. It’s been a fact of physics since the first hobby horse two wheel bicycles took to the road.

            Stop talking shite on topics where you have no understanding. Please.

          5. Cian

            @Mickey Twopints
            Best of luck turning your bike by just using your weight! I’m not talking about drifting from one side of a lane to another. Turning.

            Go outside.
            Get your personally professionally trained bottom on your bike.
            Go somewhere private.
            Get up to, say 50kmph.
            Take your hands off the bars and try to do a 90° turn.

            oops.

            Pick yourself up. Get back on your bike, get back up to, say 50kmph.
            Take your hands off the bars and try to do a 45° turn.

            hmmm….

            Look at this riderless bike: how do they do it? by controlling the handlebars.
            https://nypost.com/2017/01/06/you-can-ride-this-motorcycle-with-no-hands/

          6. Cian

            @Mickey Twopints
            I was thinking about this and there might be a miscommunication here. I am not saying the the rider’s head is always above his feet.

            We are discussing driver-less motorbikes and I am saying that the rider, moving their weight, isn’t used to turn.

            In normal riding, a rider doesn’t move his weight from left-to-right to corner. He will turn the handlebars, this will cause the bike to lean.. and this causes the bike to turn. Yes, as the bike leans over the rider will lean with the bike, but the rider remains centered on the bike (i.e. their head, butt and the middle of the back wheel axle will remain aligned[1]).

            Yes, they do use their weight to help balance the bike – but this happens in the straight as well as turns – so isn’t needed for the turn.

            [1] granted in racing they will through their weight to one side to turn faster – but I’m talking about day-to-day riding.

        2. f_lawless

          I suppose getting to the point where the threat of 4-wheeled vehicles is entirely removed maybe isn’t really desirable. If there’s no more potential danger, then there’s much less incentive for cyclists to obey the rules of the road. Then again, cyclists could command the roads a lot more

  3. Andrew

    I’m not sure why he is referencing the Constitution as a reason for not being able to bring this in.
    Gombeen got lobbied most likely. That’s all there is.
    Ross is a suburban Healy-Rae.

      1. BobbyJ

        Irish Road Haulage Association & the AA (Conor Faughan) attempted to rubbish it.

        Probably a few more

  4. Paulus

    I’d say he took a hard pass on it.
    At least this means he’ll have more time to focus more on public transport, right? Right?

  5. Giggidygoo

    If a cyclist gets hit by a vehicle, then it’s obvious the 1.5M wouldn’t have been adhered to.

    1. Cian

      True that.

      As a conscientious driver one should always leave 1 – 1.5 m distance when overtaking a cyclist. It shouldn’t need to be a law. It’s common sense.

      1. topsy

        Common sense isn’t always common. However you’re a model human being relating to all topics you post here about. Well done.

  6. George

    Enforcement of traffic laws is done by the police isn’t it? Do the police not have dashcams? A dash cam image can be used to gauge the passing distance.

    It is never possible to prove all crimes. The conviction rates for sexual assault are extremely low as it is very difficult to prove. It is still illegal though.

    1. Cian

      There are traffic laws (dangerous driving) that could be enforced at the moment if drivers are passing too close to a cyclist.

      Road Traffic Act, 1961
      53.—(1) A person shall not drive a vehicle in a public place at a speed or in a manner which, having regard to all the circumstances of the case (including the nature, condition and use of the place and the amount of traffic which then actually is or might reasonably be expected then to be therein) is dangerous to the public.

      http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1961/act/24/enacted/en/print#sec53

      1. Hansel

        The Gardaí will not do anything, regardless how aggressive and bad the drivers’ behaviour is. Enforcement is probably THE biggest problem, not necessarily lack of legislation. There’s little to no enforcement of any traffic laws in my neck of the woods.

        For the people who have an issue with the idea of “knowing what 1.5 meters is”, it’s actually very simple, overtake a cyclist the same way you overtake a car. If we have to overtake, we have to cross the centre-line. We do not legally “share the lane” in a car. Ever.

        Yes some pedestrians and cyclists may join us in our lane, when we’re stopped or slow-moving, but we don’t join them.

        1. Cian

          It’s strange. I personally think that the Garda could enforce a “safe passing distance” using the existing laws – but as you say there is an enforcement problem.

          To counter this, Yesterday on Facebook there was a picture of about 25 cops, and 6 squad cars in Blanchardstown doing breath tests. The vast majority of the comments were absolutely vile. So the cops are doing their job, trying to enforce our traffic laws, and there was (mostly) nothing but abuse.

          1. gerry

            Creating a specific offence makes this more explicit and the specific measurement gives clear guidance to motorists as to what is acceptable. The new law will now be very vague meaning prosecution is less likely and motorists will be less aware of the appropriate behaviour. I can see good reasons to bring in a new law and none for maintaining the status quo.

          2. Cian

            My understanding that there won’t be a “new” law. So we are stuck with the Garda enforcing the old dangerous driving law. But, like tailgating, I think that RSA should push awareness campaigns, and the Guards should start prosecuting bad drivers.

            I was thinking about this and it occurred to me the following could happen in an 80 zone (with the proposed 1.5m clearance).
            1. cyclist is peddling along.
            2. car driver approaches from behind, checks to see if it is safe to overtake;
            3. car driver indicates, checks mirrors and begins to overtake (leaving 1.75m)
            4. bike swerves (to avoid a pothole) .5m toward car
            5. there is now only 1.25m distance between cyclist and car
            car driver is now, through no fault, driving illegally. Could the driver be successfully prosecuted for this?

  7. blueswannabe

    Really, how the pootle-pie are you supposed to tell 1.5 meters from a car?! A few feet/safe distance, yes but very VERY few drivers could accurately judge that distance. I mean anyway, there’s legislation there that Gardaí can apply if driving dangerously close to a cyclist, driving without due care and caution. Ross loves to be seen doing something rather than actually doing anything effective.

    1. paddy apathy

      How are you supposed to tell 1.5m from a car? My elbow to tips of my fingers is 45cm, ~0.5m. Multiplied by 3 is 1.5m. If you don’t have that sort of spatial awareness don’t drive or cycle or get out of bed.

    2. Hansel

      I presume you mean “how are you supposed to tell 1.5m from a bike”.

      If you’re worried that you’re in/around 1.5m then you’re probably way too close, if that’s any help? Overtake the way you were taught: by indicating and crossing the white line. Little chance you’ll be anywhere near 1.5m then. Simply by obeying existing laws.

    3. Eoin

      If you haven’t the spatial intelligence to assess *at least 1.5m* then you won’t have the cop-on to determine the distance you’ll travel in two seconds so that you can meet the existing safe headway rules (to stop tailgating).

      Most people know what a meter looks like, they know their height for example in metres.

      Most cyclists won’t have any issue though if you’re only 1 metre when overtaking, it’s when you’re just 30cm and are practically clipping the cyclist that it all gets ugly. Enshrining the 1.5 metres in law would have just made cycling more comfortable. A road safety campaign could have promoted it. The odd pullover by the Gardai, even with a warning, would send out the message.The odd prosecution, based on CCTV, dash cam, Garda incar cam, cycling cam or witness account would have hammered it home.

      At the end of the day, this is Shane Ross. We should know the man’s character by now. Nothing but a plummy blowhard.

    4. gerry

      Are you suggesting that motorists don’t know where their cars are on the road? If so they shouldn’t be driving.

    5. Ads

      How the poodle pie?

      If you are a competent driver, you give someone on a bicycle the width of a car distance when driving at speed, or over an arm’s length in slow traffic. If you cannot calculate that, you are not a competent driver.

  8. Dub Spot

    You know this is unenforceable. Daft. But the law protecting cyclists is a fudge. We need separate cycling infrastructure from road traffic. The two cannot mix.

    1. Dhaughton99

      Of course they can mix. And have for years. The 3 crashes I have had over the past year was down to pedestrians walking out without looking.

  9. bigx

    Measure the length of your arm and subtract this from 1.5 metres now get a paint brush of this length and dip it in your favourite colour of quick drying paint .Now while cycling if you are not sure of a cars distance hold the brush out sideways then you will know that cars with your paint on them were too close . simples.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      *taps shoulder*

      ” That’s an on-the-spot fine for each drop of paint littered! “

  10. pat the baker

    I remember moving back to Ireland in 1978
    I lived in a flat in ranalagh and drove into work in Grafton street in a boutique
    It took me 10 minutes plus another 10 minutes to park
    And it was free parking
    After a year I walked in as you could not get free parking and that took 30 minutes
    I no longer live in Dublin but last time I visited it was grid lock
    One observation is that the road network from ranelagh and else where has to cope with
    Car lanes
    Bus lanes
    And now cycle lanes
    And I noticed not one road has been widened
    Lets face it in the 1970s no one even copped on that cities must be planned and cramming more and more into cities have results like we have now
    I think the way the idiots who planned the city have a hell of a lot to answer
    As for being over took by lorries
    In a car it can be terrifying enough but imagine a cyclist and on a wet day with every impatient plonker on the road

  11. Murtles

    Ross is a loon, he is a Trump equivilent in the Dail. Drafting several nonsensical new laws to pretend he’s working but these laws are unenforcible or will be pulled apart by the first solicitor when/if they ever come before a judge.

  12. Mickey Twopints

    Cian, the only thing that blows my mind is that anyone can be as wilfully stupid, ignorant, and persistently wrong as you. Every day. On almost every topic that’s raised on BS.

    begin: curmudgeon mode

    I’ve been riding motorcycles since before your daddy was a glint in your granddaddys eye. I’ve been personally trained in advanced riding by one of the most experienced instructors in the Traffic Division of London Met police.

    Congratulations on discovering countersteering. It’s been a fact of physics since the first hobby horse two wheel bicycles took to the road.

    Stop talking shite on topics where you have no understanding. Please.

    end: curmudgeon mode

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