Written answers

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Road Safety

Photo of Malcolm NoonanMalcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
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144. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether the wearing of protective clothing and head gear when using bicycles, e-scooters and skateboards will be made mandatory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42630/21]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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Making the wearing of protective clothing and helmets compulsory for cyclists is an issue which has arisen a number of times over the years.  It is a long standing Government policy to recommend and promote the wearing of helmets.  The Rules of the Road booklet encourages the use of cycle helmets and draws attention to their safety benefits, and the Road Safety Authority, the agency responsible for public education and awareness, strongly encourages their use. 

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 what procedure would be put in place for the processing of such offences.

I believe that the wearing of such clothing is best pursued by way of educational and publicity campaigns rather than by pursuing a punitive approach to the issue.  In this regard, the Road Safety Authority (RSA), which has responsibility for the promotion of road safety awareness, advertising and the dissemination of road safety information, undertakes a number of campaigns to promote awareness among pedestrians and cyclists of the need for visibility on our roads.

International evidence is that mandatory helmet legislation acts as a major disincentive to cycling such that the net impact of the legislation on public health is significantly negative.  Therefore I do not propose to introduce such legislation.


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