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Dublin: 2°C Friday 7 May 2021

'Only matter of time until someone is killed' - Council to vote on towing cars that block cycle lanes

A mass cycle protest is due to take place outside Leinster House today.

cycle2 Source: Twitter/Cyclistie

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL’S transport committee will this week vote on whether or not to automatically tow any vehicle found illegally parked in cycle lanes around the capital.

The motion is being brought by cycling-advocate, and Fine Gael councillor for the south city, Paddy Smyth and calls for the council’s Parking Enforcement Unit (PEU) to be notified of such infractions via either a dedicated phone number or Twitter.

The motion will be submitted at tomorrow’s meeting of the committee, in the wake of a mass protest of cyclists planned for this afternoon outside the gates of Leinster House.

Smyth sees the “zero tolerance” approach to the blocking of lanes as a case of “using a stick where the carrot has proven ineffective”.

“All we’re doing is asking people to obey the law,” he told TheJournal.ie.

This is a matter of life and death. If I park my car in the middle of the M50, or if I block Rathmines Road, it would be towed immediately. But because cyclists are second-class citizens nothing is done when their own lanes are blocked.
When cycle lanes are blocked its very dangerous. Cyclists have to veer into traffic, sometimes it may not be apparent if a lane is blocked in advance, if a lane isn’t well-lit say. It’s only a matter of time until someone is killed.

Smyth says that the motion has a “fair-to-good chance of passing”, and concedes that should it do so it will require a rethinking of the role of the PEU.

The committee members are pretty open-minded, and it is something that’s an offence already. It will make the tow guys a lot busier for sure, and it would mean more resources, but then so be it. This is a matter of life and death.

90431291_90431291 Dublin Cycling Campaign's protest last October Source: RollingNews.ie

The motion may receive broad support at council level, but what local businesses will make of it remains to be seen.


Meanwhile, this afternoon’s protest (the second of its kind after hundreds of cyclists gathered at the same locations last October) will kick off from 12.45pm at Transport Minister Shane Ross’ office on Leeson Lane, before moving to the gates of Dáil Éireann.

Dublin Cycling Campaign, the group behind the protest, says that “resources allocated to cycling at present are nowhere near sufficient to make bicycle use a safe and normal activity for people of all ages and abilities”.

The group is calling for funding for cycling to be increased tenfold from the €100 million currently allocated under the government’s Capital Investment Plan.

“For cyclists of all ages and abilities we need a much safer environment out there,” says the cycling campaign’s chairman Colm Ryder.

Investment will give excellent returns through its many benefits. Cyclists are simply asking Minister Ross to shift existing funds away from road spending so as to increase the allocation for cycling promotion.

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