Pedal cyclists face tough fines
Pedal cyclists who run the red light or refuse to obey stop signs on the nation's roads could be dragged before the courts and face a maximum fine of up to $24,000 or, in default of payment, spend 10 days in prison.
Under the new Road Traffic Act, pedal cyclists who breach the law will be issued summonses to appear before the court.
A pedal cyclist who gave his name as Anthony told The Gleaner yesterday that he had no problem with the provision in the new Road Traffic Act, which was passed in the Upper House with 161 amendments last Friday.
However, he has urged the authorities to carry out an extensive public education exercise before implementing the law.
"I agree with the fine. The indiscipline on the roads is very bad and nobody respects the law anymore, with many (riders) running the red light. The lack of law and order on the nation's road is unbelievable," he added.
On Friday, Opposition Senator Lambert Brown made a case for pedal cyclists to be given lesser punishment for disobeying traffic lights or failing to obey stop signs. A pedal cyclist could also face a maximum penalty of $16,000 for disobeying any other traffic sign or, in default of payment, seven days' imprisonment.
Brown advocated for pedal cyclists to be treated in accordance with their ability to pay.
Leader of government business, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, disagreed with Brown's position, arguing that the issue was about safety and not the ability to pay a fine. "The fact that you ride a bicycle should not mean that you are unable to be disciplined," she reasoned.
Statistics released yesterday from the Road Safety Unit showed that nine pedal cyclists are among the 119 traffic fatalities to date for this year.