The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are urging all drivers to park responsibly and not to park on footpaths or cycle lanes, as it poses a road safety risk to vulnerable road users and is an offence.
Illegal parking results in blocked footpaths, meaning vulnerable road users such as wheelchair users, the visually impaired, people with buggies, children and older pedestrians do not have adequate room to walk safely, potentially forcing them out onto the road. Parking in cycle lanes forces cyclists out into mainstream traffic, where there is an increased risk of a collision occurring.
The need to social distance, in line with public health advice, while out walking and cycling has drawn further attention to this unsafe and illegal driver behaviour.
Motorists are being asked to understand the impact illegal parking can have on other road users and that they have a responsibility to ensure their vehicle is parked safely at all times. Parking in a dangerous position, even if it is only for a short period, is unsafe and illegal.
Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA said: “Safe parking is an essential part of safe driving. Drivers and motorcycles must not park in any way that interferes with the normal flow of traffic or which obstructs other road users. Parking on a footpath can compromise pedestrian safety and cause preventable collisions by forcing them to step onto the busy road to avoid an obstruction. This is a road safety issue as pedestrians are being put in danger, potentially in the path of cars, buses, or cyclists. I am calling on all drivers to take responsibility for their actions and be more considerate of all road users including the most vulnerable.”
Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said: “I want to remind drivers that parking on footpaths or cycle lanes is illegal and poses a threat to the safety of the most vulnerable in our society.”
While most local authorities employ traffic wardens to enforce parking regulations and issue fines, members of An Garda Síochána also have this authority. In addition to fixed charges for breaching parking regulations, a driver can also be liable for penalty points. If a driver has parked in a dangerous position, they could incur ‘penalty points’ up to a maximum of (5) on conviction and a ‘fixed charge’ ranging from €80 – €120. Driving in a ‘mandatory’ cycle lane is also an offence which can incur up to a maximum of (3) penalty points on conviction and a ‘fixed charge’ ranging from €60 – €90.
Chief Superintendent McMahon added: “The issue of illegal parking will be the focus of ongoing enforcement attention this year from An Garda Síochána. I also want to encourage drivers to be mindful, when travelling for exercise within your 5km to public amenities, scenic areas and parks, of the dangers of illegal parking. An Garda Síochána will be patrolling these locations and will enforce parking regulations where necessary.”
The RSA and the Gardai have launched a new social media campaign to raise awareness of the issue of illegal parking on footpaths and cycle lanes. The campaign is entitled ‘If you don’t move, then neither can we’.