This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019
Advertisement

'A serious accident waiting to happen' - cyclists not happy with Luas lines on single lane O'Connell Street

A spate of reports of people falling from their bicycles in traffic, and suffering minor-to-more-serious injuries, have been reported at the site.

20170119_163630 A view of the accident site beside the GPO with the Millennium Spire in the background Source: TheJournal.ie

A NUMBER OF cyclists have spoken of their experiences of falling from their bicycles while traversing the Luas Cross City works on O’Connell Street in Dublin city centre.

At the GPO, the street is currently reduced to one lane, shared by mostly buses and cyclists, with the Luas tracks, not yet in use, running down the centre.

Cycling alongside in-service Luas tracks can be hazardous as one or both wheels can easily become trapped in the rails’ grooves. That is exactly what has happened to many people in recent weeks.

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.

51-year-old John Brereton was cycling along the O’Connell Street single lane corridor on his way home from work last week when his wheel became trapped, sending him flying over his handlebars with a bus directly behind him.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

“It could easily have been fatal,” he told TheJournal.ie. “If I’d fallen any other way, there was a bus behind me which missed me by a foot.

It’s really easy to slip into the groove, I must have lost concentration for a second when it happened, I went face down just before where the pedestrians cross.
I’ve had loads of other people contacting me saying the same thing had happened to them. They need to do something because it’s just lethal at the moment, a tragedy waiting to happen.

tracy Facial injuries sustained by Tracy Cassidy following her fall Source: Tracy Cassidy

Bar “a few cuts and bruises” John was relatively unscathed following his accident. Tracy Cassidy meanwhile suffered the same fate at the same spot on Friday 13 January, but her head took the full impact of her fall.

“I used to take that route every day so I was well aware of the danger of it, but now that they’ve extended the works into the street there’s no way of avoiding the tracks,” she says.

Before I knew it I’d tipped over with a bus right behind me. My head is still completely numb all over. The ambulance guys told me if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet I wouldn’t be here today.

Luas Gif Source: TheJournal.ie

While Tracy was being treated at the side of the street, another two cyclists became trapped in the embedded rails. A man working on O’Connell Street who came to her aid told her the accident was the eighth he’d seen that day in the same place.

“They need to tell people to avoid O’Connell Street. I definitely won’t cycle around there now. It’s an accident waiting to happen alright,” Tracy says.

Blackspot

TheJournal.ie paid a visit to the single-lane works site. At present, the lane is being shared by buses and cyclists with about a foot-and-a-half of clearance on the left side of the lane for those on bicycles to navigate.

20170119_163633 The Luas works site with the GPO in the background Source: TheJournal.ie

20170119_163857 Source: TheJournal.ie

Luas Cross City told us that the grooves had been filled to bring them to the same level as the road surface and while this appears to be the case a significant indent of about an inch was still visible upon inspection between the rail grooves and the tarmac.

Yellow and orange signs warning cyclists of the presence of tram lines are in place on O’Connell Bridge and on O’Connell Street before the GPO (although there are no signs that we could see to tell cyclists of the impending single lane).

“I avoid O’Connell Street myself, although I have heard of people falling off at that place,” said Mike McKillen of the Dublin Cycling Campaign. “A girl spoke to me last week who said she had fractured her wrist at the site, and another two cyclists came into me today with the same problem.”

2017-01-20 16.58.11 Warning signs in place on O'Connell Street Source: TheJournal.ie

2017-01-20 16.59.02 Source: TheJournal.ie

The toll is mounting up and more needs to be done than is currently the case. Last week I asked Luas Cross City if they were going to indicate a direction for cyclists to approach tram lines at right angles. But they should really be telling people not to cycle down O’Connell Street at all.

McKillen added that Luas Cross City could face legal action over the accidents.

Once accidents start piling up the obvious thing to do is to bar access. Then it might force the city to solve the problem.

Luas Cross City

A spokesperson for Luas Cross City told TheJournal.ie that necessary works have created the “pinch point” at the O’Connell Street site.

20170119_164803 Rail grooves next to the GPO Source: TheJournal.ie

“It is an unusual area,” they said.

What we have done is filled in the tracks with temporary fill on that part of O’Connell Street, but it is a bit of an anomaly of a location where the road has been narrowed.

Signage should be in place to alert cyclists to tracks.

In TheJournal.ie’s observation of the site, many cyclists are in fact choosing to dismount and walk along the parallel pedestrianised area beside the GPO rather than risking the single lane of traffic. Many more, however, are continuing to use it in tandem with swiftly-moving buses.

“The safety of cyclists has to be an imperative,” says Fine Gael councillor (and prominent cycling advocate) Paddy Smyth. “If there are going to be spaces where cyclists are using the same space as Luas trams then we have to make it as safe as we can.

“If people are falling then it has to be sorted out as soon as possible,” continued Smyth, adding that he would be submitting a motion to council to ensure the issue “is a priority for the local area”.

If this is happening on O’Connell St, then it has the potential to happen elsewhere.

Read: Minister Denis Naughten out of hospital after treatment for cycling accident

Read: Poll: Does more road space need to be given to cycle lanes?

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (98)