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'Every death is one too many': Vigil held in memory of 14 cyclists who've died on Irish roads this year

“Historically, I don’t think the government has taken cycling seriously as a mode of transport.”

9645 Stop Killing Cyclists Vigils copy Stop Killing Cyclists vigil Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A DEMONSTRATION HAS been held outside Leinster House in memory of the 14 cyclists who have died on Irish roads to date this year.

That is four more people than were killed in all of 2016, making 2017 the deadliest year for cyclists in over a decade.

The Stop Killing Cyclists vigil was organised by Cyclist.ie, Dublin Cycling Campaign, I BIKE Dublin, Safe Cycling Ireland and Cycling Without Age.

Screenshot_20171121-191418 Dr Paul Corcoran, chair of Dublin Cycling Campaign Source: Órla Ryan/TheJournal.ie

Speaking to TheJournal.ie at the protest, Dr Paul Corcoran, chair of Dublin Cycling Campaign, said cyclists are worried that the upward trend in deaths will continue.

Corcoran said the government “definitely” missed an opportunity by not allocating more funding to cycling infrastructure in Budget 2018.

eamon Source: Eamon Ryan/Twitter

 

“It could be a real solution to a lot of the problems in the city in terms of transport. The roads are blocked, cycling could alleviate some of that pressure.

“It’s a great way of travelling around the city. It’s good for your health, good for your mental health, good for the environment,” he stated.

Cyclists at the demonstration also called for the introduction of a mandatory distance of 1.5 metres to be observed by vehicles overtaking cyclists.

Segregated bike lanes 

Corcoran said the government should look into developing fully segregated bike lanes and parking protected cycles lanes, initiatives that have “worked quite well in other cities” such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

However, he’s not hopeful that either could become a reality in Ireland any time soon.

“Historically, I don’t think the government has taken cycling seriously as a mode of transport, they see it as maybe a fun activity – but it could actually be a really serious mode of transport to get people around efficiently and quickly … We know that more cars in the city won’t work,” he said.

Corcoran said Ireland’s “cycling culture” of a few decades ago has been replaced by a car culture, noting it would take some time to change this mentality back.

Speaking ahead of the vigil, Stephen McManus for I BIKE Dublin said: “Death by car should never become normalised in a society that cares for its people … The state must act immediately and make infrastructure safer for pedestrians and cyclists to avoid further deaths.

We must all remember that roads are primarily designed to facilitate the movement of people. The people who choose the most dangerous mode of transportation must carry the most responsibility for the safety of other road users. Every death is one too many.

9729 Stop Killing Cyclists Vigils copy Stop Killing Cyclists vigil Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Speaking in the Dáil recently, Transport Minister Shane Ross said the government is committed to improving cycling facilities.

“We have been criticised by many deputies for not providing enough money for the switch to cycling that we wish to see.

“I have allotted €110 million towards cycling and walking over the next four years. The resultant changes will form part of the pattern that will emerge in the transport system, not just in Dublin,” he said.

Read: ‘Modest’ plan to increase number of electric cars and ‘measly’ cycling investment

Read: ‘Parking protected’ cycle lanes move one step closer to reality in Dublin city

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