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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Shane Ross says he understands cyclist 'die ins' as he's presented with flowers for dead cyclists

Ross was speaking at the launch of a new Dublin Bus virtual reality training tool that allows bus drivers see the road from a cyclist’s perspective.

Minister ross 408_90584487 Ross is presented with the flowers by Caoimhe and Peter Collins. Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

TRANSPORT MINISTER SHANE Ross has said he “fully understands” the ‘die in’ protests by cyclists following the recent deaths of cyclists on Irish roads.

Cyclist Neeraj Jain died last Friday after he was struck by a lorry on the South Circular Road in Dublin. 

Yesterday, I Bike Dublin staged a ‘die in’ outside Leinster House with supporters lying down on the road in protest. A similar demonstration was held outside Dublin City Council’s office the previous day. 

bike protest 398_90584486 Cyclists from I Bike Dublin outside the minister's engagement today. Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

“I think it’s absolutely tragic, what has been happening  in recent times on the roads,” the minister said today.

And I want to express my great regret and great sympathy and condolences to the families of those who died on bikes in recent times, particularly the recent death last week. And I fully understand what what the die in protests are saying. And I fully sympathise the sentiments expressed. 

Ross was speaking at the launch of a new Dublin Bus virtual reality training tool that allows bus drivers see the road from a cyclist’s perspective. 

I Bike Dublin staged a protest outside the launch today and one of its activists Peter Collins, along with his daughter Caoimhe, presented Ross with a bunch of flowers to represent the cyclists who’ve died on the road under this government.  

The VR tool uses Oculus Go headsets to bring drivers on a 10 minute journey from Parnell Square to Camden Street with Dublin Bus CEO Ray Coyne saying today the company hopes to develop a tool to allow other road users see the road from the perspective of bus drivers. 

Ross used the headset at the launch and said it showed the “perils” cyclists experience on the road. 

“Having seen the experience and being immersed in it for the last few minutes, I did get a an idea of the kind of perils which cyclists face when they are when they are cycling around the streets of Dublin, ” the minister said.

And obviously this is done in a way which is sympathetic to the cyclist but also trains the drivers to see the difficulties which they encounter on a daily basis. And we don’t doubt that at all. The government is trying as hard as it can, in the wake of some tragic accidents, and the more recent one, to look at constantly the difficulties cyclists face and ameliorate them. 

After presenting the flowers to Ross with his daughter Caoimhe, Collins told reporters that the government is not doing enough. 

“In terms of the current government, as Caoimhe said there’s 40 people died while cycling during the current administration, that’s 40 too many,” he said.

There’s not enough being done, there’s very much a motor or windscreen view when it comes to allocating funding, we’re not taking into account vulnerable road users, the likes of Caoimhe, the likes of myself, my family going around about our business. We’re not head to toe in Lycra, we’re going shopping, going to school, to sports at weekend or whatever. 

Collins said there are times when he has felt unsafe on the roads: “I’ve been close passed, I’ve been cut off, I’ve had people driving cut out in front of me on my bike, I’ve had to take evasive action. I’ve even come off on the Luas tracks.”

Ross was asked whether the government is spending enough to make cycling safer.

“I’ll never be able to allocate enough money to save lives, no government could ever do that. We are doing everything we possibly think is possible and effective and necessary to do that,” he said.

“And on the general cycling allocations of money, we’re offering huge amounts that we’re spending and in the years to come we’ve increased it enormously.”

Asked about driving in the city and how it is from a motorist’s perspective, Ross said his priority is to get people into public transport.

“What I see every day is the need to get people out of their cars and get them into public transport. That’s the objective of our policy in the city and everywhere else. I think we have been very successful in getting people to the public transport. Certainly, we still haven’t been successful enough,” he said.

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Rónán Duffy

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