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Flashing lights legalised as new cyclists' code planned

The Irish Times: Flashing lights legalised as new cyclists’ code planned

OLIVIA KELLY

FLASHING BICYCLE lights, which have been used illegally for years by many cyclists, have been legalised by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey.

The use of flashing rather than static lights on the front or rear of bicycles has become increasing popular with cyclists seeking to make themselves more visible to motorists.

However, their use was illegal until just days before Christmas when Mr Dempsey amended the road traffic regulations to allow their use. A spokesman for Mr Dempsey said the amendment regularises a situation where cyclists, mostly unwittingly, were breaking the law.

“This is something the department has been working on for a long time. Most people using the lights, which are widely available, never would have realised that they weren’t legal.”

The change to the law is the first of several amendments Mr Dempsey is planning to make to the rules of the road for cyclists.

The Department of Transport is drafting regulations to end the compulsory use of cycle lanes where they exist. The current rules put cyclists in a position of breaking the law if they have to leave cycle lanes because of obstructions such as parked cars.

They also force cyclists to remain in cycle lanes where the surface may be unsuitable or where the lane makes it difficult to safely continue in a straight line, or makes it impossible to make a right-hand turn.

Mr Dempsey also plans to legalise the practice where cyclists overtake slow-moving traffic on the inside, when it is safe to do so.

“The National Cycle Policy Framework, that I announced in April, made commitments to address legal issues that affect cyclists. The framework also made commitments to provide more education to cyclists and others in relation to road behaviour. I’m pleased to now deliver on these commitments,” he said.

A new safety leaflet is being issued to bus and lorry drivers to assist them in ensuring cyclists’ safety. It will also be available at www.smartertravel.ie.

Dublinbikes: 23,000 subscribers

Almost 23,000 subscribers have joined Dublin City Council’s dublinbikes rental scheme, and more than 200,000 trips have been taken on the bikes since their introduction last September.

The scheme, which provides 450 bicycles for rent at 40 stations between Dublin’s Royal and Grand canals, has had the highest take-up of any city bike scheme to date in Europe, city manager John Tierney said.

“The bike scheme has surpassed all expectations in terms of subscribers and popularity,” he said.

The most recent figures, compiled by the council on December 9th last, show 22,762 subscribers have signed up to use the bikes. The majority, 15,928, are long-term users who pay a €10 annual subscription fee, while 6,834 have bought three-day tickets at a cost of €2.

The council is finalising plans to expand the scheme with JC Decaux – the outdoor advertising company which won the contract to provide the scheme in return for advertising space in the city.