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Delegates enter St. Anne's Park from the causeway at Clontarf Road.
Delegates enter St. Anne's Park from the causeway at Clontarf Road.
Image: Dublin City Council

Dublin is hosting an international cycling conference and some delegates have called the city 'a brutal street battle'

The Velo-City conference is on until tomorrow.
Jun 27th 2019, 1:20 PM 20,260 81

INTERNATIONAL DELEGATES ATTENDING the Velo-City cycling conference in Dublin have been sharing their experiences of “dangerous” cycling conditions in the city.

The event is taking place across four days this week and is primarily being held in the Convention Centre where delegates are hearing lectures from international experts.

Other events are also taking place in different parts of the city and delegates yesterday took part in a bike ride to St. Anne’s Park in Raheny via the cycle track along Clontarf Road.

Another cycle from the Convention Centre to the Guinness Storehouse is taking place this evening along the quays.

Despite the positive sentiment at the conference, some international delegates have been sharing what they’ve said are poor impressions of Dublin’s cycling infrastructure.

Assistant professor of urban planning at Texas A&M university Tara Goddard shared a thread online about her experience of taking part in the cycle to St. Anne’s.

Saying that the didn’t like criticising a host city but felt compelled to do so, Goddard wrote:

I find it hard to believe that anyone who rides a bike designed the bike path section. And can someone explain the large amount of space that is dedicated to no users, seemingly? Not pedestrian or bikes, the large cobbled swath?If I hadn’t needed both hands on the handlebars to navigate the strange angled turns (around the car parking bays) or avoid the low (turtle?) barriers, I would have taken some video.

“Navigating that roundabout was literally one of the sketchier maneuvers I’ve had to do. Luckily a driver took pity and let us cut in front of her.”

An Austrian-based cycling advocate here for the conference also shared a number of videos and photos of bicycle infrastructure, describing the city as being like a “brutal street battle”.

Another representative from the Dutch Cycling Embassy noted that the cycle to St. Anne’s from the Convention Centre avoided most of Dublin’s city centre, something he described as a “lack of ambition of Dublin to push really for cycling”.

Speaking this morning on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Janet Horner of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said delegates have “not been very impressed” by what they’ve seen in the city so far.

Horner made reference to the cycle to St. Anne’s along Clontarf Strand and said it made use of one of the only dedicated cycle routes in the city.

“So that was beautiful but to get there you have to battle your way through the Docklands and around the Point, and that’s a very hostile environment for anybody to cycle,” she said.

Horner said Ireland’s approaching to cycling has been largely about painting cycle lanes along roads used by vehicular traffic.

What we have a lot of in Ireland is paint, and the paint is indicating to say that this is where this bikes should go and often times it’s effectively in the gutter.

Despite the criticism from some, other delegates have said the bike parade went well.

In a statement today, the National Transport Authority (NTA) said that more than €21.6 million was spent on the provision for walking and cycling infrastructure in 2018.

The NTA said that said that last year saw progress on projects across the country but acknowledged that more needs to be done.

“According to Canal Cordon Count, the numbers of people cycling into Dublin city centre has almost doubled from 6,870 in 2011 to 12,227 in 2018. But we fully acknowledge that when it comes to cycling infrastructure, a lot more needs to be done, including by the NTA,” the authority said.

“Under the Climate Action Plan there is provision made for the establishment by the NTA of a Cycling Project Office, to develop a five-year strategy and implementation plan for investment in cycling infrastructure. We recently put the operation of that office out to tender, with a view to having it in place by the end of this year, so progress is being made.”

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Rónán Duffy


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