Another step towards safer roads will be taken on 12 November by Shane Ross, the Irish Minister of Transport. Until now, motorists without respect for the more vulnerable road users faced a €80 fine for dangerous overtaking. That number will soon be increased to €120.
Mr Ross said the change is because cyclists are a particularly vulnerable group and there is a need to recognise that. He added that there will be a renewed campaign by the Road Safety Authority to educate drivers to give cyclists a recommended 1.5 metres of space when passing in zones with speed limits over 50kph and 1 metre on road where the limit is 50kph or lower. The campaign resembles the very successful ‘Operation Close Pass’, which gained popularity all around the world.
“I welcome this announcement with cautious optimism,” said Phil Skelton, organiser of Staying Alive at 1.5. “This will be a new model of cyclist-specific dangerous overtaking law and it’s important to give this the opportunity to work. Much work has gone into the background of this if they all come together, I believe it will.”
A minimum passing distance, which Staying Alive at 1.5 campaigned for, will not be stipulated. That is, however, based on the advice of the country’s Attorney General, who believes the rule would be difficult to enforce.
Let’s hope the new law works, and as always, stay on the safe side.