Motorists will soon have to leave a minimum passing distance (MPD) when overtaking cyclists.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has announced that he will legislate for “Stayin Alive at 1.5” to make our roads safer for cyclists.
Drivers will have to leave one metre on roads with a speed limit not exceeding 50 km/h and 1.5 metres on all other roads. Minister Ross said the law will save lives.
“In 2017, there were 15 cyclists killed, which was a 50% increase on 2016. Clearly this is an intolerable situation which has to change.
“Every life lost on our roads is a tragedy and as Minister for Transport, I am committed to do everything within my power to prevent preventable road deaths.”
He added the measure is in line with best international practice.
“It was brought to my attention that other jurisdictions apply a MPD and I determined to undertake research to see if such legislation would benefit Irish cyclists.
“I particularly wished to know if the perceived difficulties in enforcing and prosecuting offences relating to MPD legislation were outweighed by the benefits.”
Minister Ross asked the RSA to carry out a study of best international practice.
While the report states that little conclusive evidence is currently available to support or rebut claims that MPD legislation will specifically address cyclist fatalities, greater awareness by both motorists and cyclists while overtaking was recognised as having safety benefits.
Minister Ross said: “If such awareness entails safer driving and fewer fatalities then it will be worth introducing the necessary legislation.”
The regulations will be introduced once the legislation is finalised and approval by the Office of the Attorney General, and once the required equipment for measuring the MPD has been procured by An Garda Siochana.
Local Independent Senator Victor Boyhan, who is a keen cyclist, has welcomed “Stayin Alive at 1.5”.
“With an ever increasing number of cyclists taking to the roads it’s important that their safety is paramount in any new road safety measures being considered.”
“Cyclists are extremely vulnerable on public roads particularly in urban areas and very concerned about the rise in fatalities on our roads.”
Minister Shane Ross also has a drink driving legislation that is at Committee Stage.
The legislation would give motorists a mandatory ban if they are caught driving over the limit, instead of the current fine and penalty points.