‘Take the brakes off making bike policies’, say cyclists

by Dublin Gazette
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Cyclists are calling on the Government and Minister for Transport Shane Ross to speed up the delivery of measures to protect cyclists on Dublin’s roads.

The calls come as Minister Ross confirmed that the Road Traffic (Minimum Passing Distance of Cyclists) Bill 2017 has been shelved.

The Green Party’s Transport Spokesperson, Cllr Ciaran Cuffe, said that the decision to shelve the bill is ”bitterly disappointing”, as similar measures are in place in other countries.

Cllr Cuffe said: “This u-turn is bitterly disappointing and is hard to understand, particularly as other countries such as Australia have had minimum passing laws in place for some time.

“In the absence of a minimum passing law, Minister Ross should proceed with the improvements recommended by the Road Safety Authority [RSA] in their recent review of minimum passing distances.

“They proposed that An Garda Siochana place a greater emphasis on enforcing unsafe motoristcyclist interactions, and Minister Ross should sit down with the Minister for Justice to make this happen.

“Minister Ross should instruct the NTA to fast-track infrastructural solutions to segregate cyclist and motorised traffic, particularly in higher-speed, congested locations.”

Echoing Cllr Cuffe’s comments, Fine Gael general election candidate Deirdre Duffy has said the hazards faced by cyclists in Dublin city needs to be addressed.

Spending on cycling infrastructure dropped from €19m in 2015 to just €7m in 2017. Duffy said: “As someone who cycles in Dublin on a daily basis, I know the city’s cycling infrastructure needs urgent updating. It is clear to anyone who cycles in the city that we need safe and segregated cycle paths.

“Just before Christmas, Minister Ross announced he has asked the NTA to establish a new Cycling Office. This is welcome but long overdue – cycling numbers have been increasing dramatically, according to the CSO.

“If Dublin is to develop as a city, we need a change in attitude towards cycling safety and that means increased investment for segregated cycling lanes and their maintenance and upkeep.

“According to the latest cycling figures from Dublin City Council, the number of daily cyclists is now close to the 100,000 people mark. The number of cyclists in the city has more than doubled in the past six years.

“For most cyclists, the daily commute into the city is fraught with people parking in cycle lanes, reckless driving and, of course, the poor condition of the mostly unsegregated lanes themselves.

“While traffic and hazards vary on the time of the day, every journey has dangers that can be immediately rectified.”

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