Tuesday, 3 October 2017
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Road Traffic Legislation
539. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to bring forward legislation to make it compulsory to wear a high-visibility top and reflective clothing on unlit roads after dark; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41858/17]
To create a statutory obligation on the wearing of reflective clothing would entail making it a criminal offence under Road Traffic legislation for any person guilty of not wearing high visibility clothing. A person in breach of such a provision would fall to be issued with a fixed charge notice or summonsed to court, depending on whatever procedure would be put in place for the processing of such offences. I am of the view that despite certain obstacles, this measure is worth pursuing, if it could save even one life. However, in the short term, I am exploring whether the wearing of high visibility clothing is better achieved by way of educational and publicity campaigns run by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) rather than by pursuing a punitive approach to the issue, particularly having regard to the large numbers of children and young people who cycle.
Indeed, the RSA, which has responsibility for the promotion of road safety awareness, advertising and the dissemination of road safety information, has already undertaken a number of campaigns to promote awareness among pedestrians and cyclists of the need for visibility on our roads.
Almost four million high visibility vests, armbands, rucksack covers and other such items have been distributed by the RSA, An Garda Siochana, Road Safety Officers, Age Action and the Vintners Federation over the past four years. A number of measures have also been included in the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020 aimed at increasing the wearing of high visibility clothing among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The Rules of the Road also include a strong recommendation supporting the wearing of light, and preferably high-visibility, clothing.