A Donegal cycling club believes cyclists are waiting to see how Transport Minister Shane Ross will enforce a new law to protect them on the roads.
The new law is to require drivers observe a distance of one metre (over three feet) when passing cyclists on roads with a speed limit under 50km/h and a gap of 1.5 metre (nearly five feet) on roads with a limit of 50km/h or above.
Drivers would be hit, in the first instance, with an €80 fine and three penalty points for breaching the safe distance rules and could receive five penalty points and a fine of up to €1,500, if the case goes to court.
There have been 24 road deaths this year, including one cyclist, who was Donegal dad-of-three Noel McDermott (43).
Noel, who was originally from Letterkenny and a member of Errigal Cycling Club, tragically lost his life in January when he was cycling at Ards Beg in Gortahork.
Errigal Cycling Club committee chairman James Harkin told the Letterkenny Post: “We have to wait and see how the minister is going to enforce this.
“But already some of the lads have been saying that cars seem to be giving them more space on the roads, so the awareness is working.”
He added: “Noel’s death was a tragic accident and it is very sad when any cyclist loses their life on the road, but it is much harder for everyone when it is someone you know like Noel.”
A recent report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) stated that there is little evidence that a safe passing law would save lives.
But Minister Ross last week announced his support for the law change after campaigners gave him a petition with 6,500 signatures.
They said more protection for cyclists is needed following a 50 per cent increase in cyclists’ deaths last year - when 15 were killed in traffic collisions – compared to 2016.
Some 27 cyclists were killed in Ireland from 2010 to 2013 and 46 were killed from 2014 to 2017.
It was announced last Thursday that the Bill will be introduced through secondary legislation within the next two weeks.
The Letterkenny Post is a sister publication of Donegal Now.
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