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'A pedestrian just hit me': Cyclists express concerns about verbal and physical abuse on Irish roads

Bike activists appeared before an Oireachtas committee today.
Nov 20th 2019, 5:30 PM 25,828 197

CYCLING ACTIVISTS HAVE told the Oireachtas Transport Committee that women are increasingly being put off cycling as a result of hostility towards those who use bikes.

Members of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, iBikeDublin and expressed “major concerns” about harassment and intimidation experienced by bike users during a hearing of the committee today.

Kevin Baker of the Dublin Cycling Campaign told the committee that the group was concerned at the level of verbal and physical harassment that was targeted at those who cycle.

“We regularly hear reports of intimidation, with a number of women in the campaign subject to gendered abuse, both verbal and physical,” he said in his opening statement.

“We need strong political leadership on this issue to tackle it.”

Another activist from the group, Louise Williams, described an instance of physical abuse she experienced while on her bike.

“A pedestrian in his suit going for lunch just hit me across the back while I was out cycling, and he told me to learn to ride a bike” she said.

Williams said that while men may experience similar abuse, it was her belief that such an incident would be less likely to happen to a man.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, committee chairman Fergus O’Dowd said Ireland needed to do all it could to encourage more people to cycle and to ensure their safety.

“We all want Ireland to move towards being a carbon-neutral society, providing an integrated transport system with cycling as a key component part of this plan,” he said.

He added that measures such as dedicated cycle lanes and separate transport corridors were among the ways which could help make roads safer, and said the National Transport Authority would be central to implementing these measures.

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Stephen McDermott


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