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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 18 August, 2019
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Cyclists want cycle lane scheme halted

Lobby group explains why Government’s plan to spend €4m on cycle and walking paths outside Dublin is “a poor use of public money”…

Image: Living OS via Flickr.com

THE GOVERNMENT HAS been asked to halt their plans to build €4m worth of cycle and walk lanes around the country.

Ireland’s national cycling lobby group, Cyclist.ie, has said that the initiative to build cycle paths in certain rural areas from Donegal to Waterford is less pressing than the “issue of maintenance” on the country’s roads. Until the Government has addressed the current state of existing cycle paths and rural roads, going ahead with the plan would be a waste of money, according to Cyclist.ie chairman Dr Mike McKillen.

He said that “the construction of roadside cycle facilties should cease until a proper framework is in place to ensure their appropriate design, construction, application and subsequent maintenance”. The group pointed out that putting cycle lanes on rural roads would be of no help to cyclists when the roads do not get regular sweeping from councils. Those lanes which already exist, especially in cities, are not well maintained have proven to “a poor use of public money”. The group said that those lanes had been left piled with snow swept off the roads during the bad winter weather, making them impassable for cyclists.

A letter from Cyclist.ie to the Government, reproduced in part on their website, said:

As a ‘cycle-friendly’ treatment, existing hard shoulders have the advantage over roadside cycle lanes since they are effectively self-cleaning and avoid false expectations of safety among the users. It seems wholly inadvisable to replace serviceable hard shoulders with cycle lanes that are likely to reduce safety and comfort.

The Government announced on 11 July that it was spending €4m on “sustainable travel projects” as part of the Jobs Initiative. Junior Minister for Public and Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly, said that the initiative should create 330 jobs. However, Cyclist.ie is branded the scheme as a “make-work” plan that “simply ignores cyclists’ real need for safer interaction between motorised vehicles and riders on our public roads”.

  • The scheme is to provide cycle lanes and cycle parking in Cavan town and cycle parking in nine other towns;
  • Traffic-calming measures and provision and upgrading of cycle paths in Donegal;
  • A 54km stretch of cycle track on the R445 between Nenagh and Limerick;
  • A walking and cycling path in Dungarvan, Co Waterford;
  • Other initiatives in Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, South Tipperary, Roscommon, Westmeath and Wexford.

The cycle lane initiative is not the only transport issue under fire today. Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague is quoted in today’s Irish Times as criticising the new Luas BXD line which would link the green and red lines and continue to Broombridge. Montague is claiming that the line would have a negative impact on the safety and comfort of cyclists and also on bus transport links across the city.

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