The House transport committee decided on Friday to adopt legislation on cyclists that has been pending for seven years and to put it to vote in parliament in two weeks.
During the session the transport committee refused a six-month extension recently requested by the union of municipalities and communities and the legal service to give them time to close pending cases concerning extrajudicial sentences. The committee also decided on three drafts to deal with extrajudicial cases which will be voted on next week.
Under the provisions of the bill on the regulation of the movement of bicycles, which was submitted by the Ministry of Transport to Parliament in 2011, cyclists must keep to the left side of the road and use lights at night, while drivers must leave a distance of at least one metre between their vehicle and a bicycle when they are overtaking.
In addition, the bill prohibits the use of a bicycle under the influence of alcohol, and when four or more cyclists travel in a group no more than two should be next to each other if this is feasible and safe under the circumstances.
Cyclists must also keep both hands on the handle bars of the bicycle whenever possible, move as steadily as possible in a straight line, check the traffic behind, comply with road signs, and obey police officers who regulate traffic.
Every cyclist is required to show timely and visibly any intention to turn or change direction, must ride the bicycle with attention and comply with all traffic and road safety rules in force.
In addition, it is forbidden to park a bicycle on a pedestrian walkway, tow objects, drag any animals or carry passengers.
Under the bill, there are penalties for cyclists of up to €1,500, six months imprisonment or both.
Drivers of vehicles will be penalized if they fail to adjust their speed and course to facilitate the handling of a cyclist, move in a way that prevents the cyclist from maneuvering or change lane in a way that hinders a cyclist. Drivers are also obliged to give priority to bicycles and are forbidden to park on a cycling lane or path.
These offences carry fines up to €1,000 or prison sentences of up to six months.