Clampdown on quad bikes and regulation of e-scooters among reforms of traffic laws


Quad-bikes and scramblers are to be banned from public spaces and gardaí will have powers to enter private property to seize them from owners suspected of breaking the law.

E-scooter users, meanwhile, will face age restrictions and varying speed limits depending on whether they are on roads or paths.

The moves are part of a wide-ranging package of rules and reforms to be introduced in a new Road Traffic Bill.

Other changes on the way include the right for asylum seekers to hold driving licences, revocable if they are refused leave to stay in the country.

A new driver registration system, the master licence record, is also to be introduced to stop motorists escaping penalty points and disqualifications when they fail to produce their licence. Currently, offences link motorists to vehicles, but not necessarily to a driving licence.

Another part of the bill will prevent people convicted of certain crimes, including violence and sex offenders, from becoming driving instructors.

The requirement that older motorists supply a medical report when applying to renew their driver’s licence will in future kick in after age 75 instead of 70.

Data protection concerns have stymied this long-awaited move which will make details of all motor insurance policies available to gardaí, the Department of Transport, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland and, in limited cases, the National Transport Authority.

Variable speed limits will also be provided for, allowing transport authorities to adjust speed limits at any time on the M50 and other routes to discourage lane-jumping and better control traffic in poor weather or where accidents or roadworks may cause hold-ups.

In an effort to cut down on court time, motorists issued fines by traffic wardens will be allowed the chance to pay double the fine up to seven days before a scheduled court appearance. Fines issued by gardaí already allow this flexibility.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said details of how the various new arrangements would work had yet to be finalised. He anticipated, however, a minimum age of 16 for e-scooter users in public places and a speed limit of 20-25kph on roads, reduced on paths.

He said insurance and helmets would not be mandatory for e-scooters as they were not mandatory for bicycles. He said helmets would be encouraged, but the experience in other countries, such as Australia, showed cycling rates decreased when helmets became compulsory.

“Our job is to create safe spaces on the road and safe conditions,” he said. “Bikes and e-scooters are not intrinsically unsafe. What’s unsafe are the road conditions.”

Mr Ryan was addressing the Oireachtas Transport Committee, which will make recommendations on the proposals for consideration before the bill comes before the Dáil and Seanad in the autumn.

The minister said he hoped the bill would be passed into law by the end of the year, but the particular rules governing each issue it addresses could take some months to finalise after that.

Source – The Irish Independent