Senior judge criticises Garda over parking on “ignored” cycle lanes

Posted on: October 11th, 2018

Judge Charleton critical of Garda over cycle lane parking

A judge of the Supreme Court has been very outspoken about cycle lanes being ignored and there being very little Garda action over the issue.


Judge Charleton critical of Garda over cycle lanes


A judge of the Supreme Court has strongly criticised the Garda for failing to act against illegal parking on cycle lanes.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton highlighted the issue in a wider report on how the Garda force treated whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

In his report, the judge made a number of general comments about the Garda. This included what he saw as the lack of visibility as gardai on the streets.

And he said the failure of gardai to act against drivers who parked on cycle lanes said a lot about the invisibility of the Garda.

His remarks come despite Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan recently speaking out about parking on cycle lanes. He said he wanted to see more enforcement from the Garda.

The judge’s comments today have been highlighted by cycling campaigners, with the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network saying the judge did not mince his words.

“In undertaking hundreds of journeys between the Four Courts and Dublin Castle during the currency of the tribunal, on only one occasion was there a policeman to stop a taxi or car breaking through a pedestrian light,” the judge said.

“While this may be belittled as a small example, the effect of police challenge was immediate and salutary. People behave well, generally, in the presence of uniformed officers of the law.

“Other examples include the extent to which cycle lanes, there to protect those cycling for economic, health and environmental motives, who are extraordinarily vulnerable, are simply ignored.

“Cars block cycle lanes, intrude on them and endanger cyclists. That happens repeatedly within a minute’s walk of garda stations.

“So, where are the gardaí? Again, this may be dismissed as a small example, but the consequences of serious injury, for even one person, is a tragedy.

“In countries where there is a terrorist threat, police presence is manifest as a matter of necessity. Ireland, while not having any immediate terrorist threat, but with a serious organised crime problem, has a real problem due to the invisibility of our police force.

“That is not a small matter. If it is said that the gardaí are too busy to be out on foot or on bicycles, the tribunal begs to doubt that. Everyone serving in the police should give a portion of the day to foot and bicycle patrols”.

In June Mr Flanagan highlighted what he saw as some drivers flouting the laws by parking on cycle lanes. He suggested more needed to be done about it.

He witnessed “lax” enforcement of illegal parking in bike lanes, adding this had to be put right.

“I am very concerned at the lack of safety for cyclists in the city of Dublin and also indeed in other major towns,” he said.

“But in the city of Dublin… I see lax regulation, where I see soft touch on a daily basis in terms of people parking for long periods on double yellow lines, flouting the law in respect of cycle lanes.

“And it seems to me that enforcement is very much lacking,” he added, in an apparent rebuke of the Garda and local authorities.