Irish motorists face a rise of €40 on new fines in place for drivers who park on footpaths, cycle lanes, or bus lanes. The new measures, signed off by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, commence today and will see on-the-spot fines rise to €80.
According to the Minister of Transport, the fines would “encourage a more considerate use of road space. Parking on footpaths puts vulnerable pedestrians, such as wheelchair users and those pushing buggies, at significant risk by forcing them off the footpath and into traffic. Parking in bus and cycle lanes endangers cyclists, and undermines State investment in sustainable, public transport infrastructure.”
The new increase has been welcomed by Dublin City Council, with Alison Gilliland claiming parked cars disproportionately affect people with mobility issues. The Lord Mayor of Dublin feels that wheelchairs users, those who are visually challenged, as well as people with buggies, would have the greatest disadvantage.
“For them it is not easy to step on to the road to get past a car blocking their way. It’s hugely important for us to keep our footpaths clear so that everyone can access the city freely,” she said.
Director of traffic for Dublin City Council, Brendan O’Brien said increasing the number of people choosing sustainable transport modes “is a priority for Dublin City Council – in terms of our Climate Action commitments and in increasing the health and wellbeing of people living in, working in, and visiting our city.
“More people walking and cycling and using public transport is good for everybody. We need to do everything we can to enable and support people to choose these modes – this means making the space safe and accessible,” he added.
Pat Nestor, Access Officer for Dublin City Council said the increased fines “mark another step towards making Dublin an accessible city for all.”
The parking of one’s car in bus lanes is prohibited in Ireland under Statutory Instrument 182 of the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997. This had been further employed to include parking in cycle lanes with the introduction of Statutory Instrument 274 of 1998.
According to claims made in 2019 by Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy, drivers have been “frequently” violating these laws, causing “significant inconvenience” for bus drivers and cyclists. He feels that blocked lanes tend to cause buses and cyclists to “swerve unexpectedly”, create a “considerable challenge” and pose a safety risk to other road users.
“Ireland’s cycling infrastructure is wholly inadequate as it is without it being rendered unusable by the presence of parked cars, skips and multiple other items being put in the way. These are widespread issues. I frequently take Dublin Bus. One morning, I spotted at least 15 cars parked illegally in a bus or cycle lane in a relatively short distance between Portobello and College Green.”
With many expressing their joy of the new fines being implemented, there needs to be some consideration for the taxpaying driver. Owning and running a car in Ireland is an expensive luxury, ran on over-priced fuel and, can break an owner’s heart when running into difficulty.
According to a June article written by the Independent, Dublin Bus made a pre-tax profit of €2.4m in 2019, with operating revenues of €263m. Employing numbers of over 3,500, the company had enabled around 141.8 million commutes through the county in 2019. However, with an increasing number of people requested to support the communal effort of public transport, more may need to be done to accommodate those jumping aboard.
A considerable rise in taxi fares has also gradually swept across the country over the years, making it increasingly expensive to commute. The cost of parking, which has also risen drastically in the capital, is pricing people out of their commute and forcing more to flood an already strained public transport infrastructure.
With many having their say on the topic, people have been expressing their point of view on social media. One user suggests “no bin truck, fire truck, ambulance” could pass through their street if cars avoid parking on footpaths. With their area extremely tight on space, they feel there is a need to have “some leeway on this problem.”
The sentiment is echoed when another added it would be “impossible” for it to work fairly, as; “A lot of homes have nowhere else to park.” However, others are more enthused with the news as it could bring a more cautious approach to driving around cyclists, and violating parking restrictions.