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'Lethal', 'insane' - cyclists have their say on what it's like dealing with the Luas expansion works

Many people have complained to Transport Infrastructure Ireland regarding the sometimes-hazardous nature of cycling near Luas works.

20170119_163623 Luas works in place at the GPO on O'Connell Street, Dublin, in January Source: TheJournal.ie

A SERIES OF complaints to the transport authority details the cycling public’s concern with the Luas Cross City works in Dublin.

The complaints, released to TheJournal.ie under Freedom of Information by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, detail some of the issues raised by members of the public in the last three months, with the word “lethal” used on more than one occasion.

Currently, Luas Cross City is installing a track link between the Red and Green routes, together with the tram service’s expansion towards Broombridge in Cabra on Dublin’s northside.

Most of the issues concern the works seen between O’Connell Bridge and Parnell Square in the city centre.

Cycling alongside in-service Luas tracks can be hazardous as one or both wheels can easily become trapped in the rails’ grooves.

‘Sudden and dangerous’

One individual complained in late February of an issue created where the Luas lines are to be laid underneath an existing bridge in Phibsborough on the city’s northside.

“The space for cycling has been cut off,” the complainant says. “I have had to get off my bike these last few mornings.”

Surely you are not allowed block a road in such a sudden and dangerous way as this.

Another person took issue last month with the position of barriers at works on the corner of Abbey and O’Connell streets, which, they claimed, were limiting space between the curb and the tracks at that corner.

The barriers at the corner “get moved out onto the road from time to time”, the complainant said.

“This morning I tried to widen the road space but found that the barriers had been ‘cable tied’ to the traffic lights,” they said, adding that in doing so the road space between the barriers and the Luas tracks was decreased “significantly”, creating a ‘safety concern’ for both cyclists and pedestrians.

The track-works that had, until recently, been taking place at the Spire on O’Connell Street were called into question in early January.

luas1 Warning signs in place on O'Connell Street Source: TheJournal.ie

Buckled

A cyclist claimed in their complaint that their back tire had been buckled badly after becoming caught in one of the tracks.

“I had already witnessed this happening twice at the same location before today,” the complainant said. “There must be some issue with the tarmac around these… and something needs to be done about this,” they added before querying as to how Luas Cross City could be billed for the damage to the bike.

Another cyclist followed up on a complaint she had made in November of last year after her bicycle likewise became caught in the tracks on O’Connell Street.

The woman said that as a result of her complaint a new electronic sign had been erected to warn cyclists at the site. Her accident in November had seen her “come off my bicycle in front of a bus”.

“Unfortunately, my shoulder still isn’t back to its full strength. I have had ongoing pain and issues regarding certain movements; lifting my baby is difficult using my left arm, as is turning on switches of a certain height or putting on a backpack,” she said.

The woman did not attempt to bill Luas Cross City however, but rather said she “just wanted to keep you in the loop”.

At the end of the street at the Rotunda Hospital, one person complained that the “oil and grease from cars and buses and wet weather” had made the laid tracks “absolutely lethal” and a “serious hazard”.

“I purposefully slowed down coming towards it and still ended up falling heavily on the ground hurting my hip and elbow,” they said.

That complainant suggested that a temporary material be placed across the lines to aid pedestrians and cyclists, and that warning signage needed to be improved.

I don’t intend to make an injury claim. It cost me €105 to replace my derailer and hanger on my bicycle damaged as a result of this fall. I expect DCC to refund this to me at the earliest possible convenience.

‘Insane’

The complaints are not restricted to the north side of the city. One cyclist complained in February that works on Dawson Street, between St Stephen’s Green and Trinity College, are “so dangerous that it will only be a matter of time before there is a serious accident”.

“This morning because it was so wet, the tracks… caused my bike to slip and I came a cropper off my bike and straight out in front of a bus,” the complaint reads.

Thankfully there was enough distance between me and the bus for him to stop, but I banjaxed my knee and elbow and damaged my bike. I would just like to point out that not enough is being done by the construction company [to] ensure the safety of cyclists.

A further complaint in early January deals with the “lethal” nature of the Luas works around the city centre.

“I would like to complain about the terrible design of the Luas works for cyclists,” the complainant says.

The insane layout of the roadworks around the tracks are lethal for cyclists. How was this permitted when there are so many cyclists using that route.
I hope the planners are held responsible for this negligence and that there are no deaths as a result.

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