Members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors are calling for new legislation that would make it “obligatory” for cyclists to wear reflective clothing.
The motion, before it was amended at the annual delegate conference last week, also included a requirement for pedestrians wear vests. Though this was removed from the motion, some of the middle-ranking Gardaí at the conference said it is still something they would like to see considered in rural areas late at night.
DCU students commuting to and from the University have expressed mixed concerns over the proposed legislation.
Economics, Politics and Law student Caoimnhe Ní Mhaolagáin seemed concerned over whether such a law would be feasible.
“I definitely think that the introduction of reflective clothing will be beneficial to both road users as well as cyclists. However, whether or not young people will follow through with this is highly debatable”
Gardaí also want helmets to be made compulsory for cyclists.
Darragh Culhane, a final year student who has commuted by bicycle for the last three years, said he does not see the practicality of this proposal.
“In theory it’s a good idea, the more visible cyclists are the safer it is for everyone, but I don’t think it’s really practical. I might go somewhere in the day on my bike and not realise I’ll next be making the return journey when it is dark outside and wouldn’t bring a reflective clothing.”
“New laws were brought in to make lights mandatory a year or so ago and that is fair, but I just don’t think it’s as feasible to expect everyone to carry a high vis jacket or reflective apparel everywhere they go.”
One sergeant noted at the conference recent research that found wearing reflective clothing improves visibility by over 500 metres.
Delegates at the conference have suggested a penalty for failing to wear the required protective clothing in the form of a fixed charge notice.
Eve Birch, a third year Business student currently on Intra placement, said that she agreed such legislation would be worthwhile, but only in rural areas.
“Making it obligatory for pedestrians to wear reflective clothing in areas with no street lighting is critical for their own safety. However, in cities such as Dublin with lit walkways I don’t think it should be a crime when the risk is much less.”
Photo Credit: Gary Knight