Cyclists make use of perfect weather to take over Dublin city centre

National Bike Week showcase cycling option for would-be commuters

TBC

 

If you are going to showcase cycling in Dublin city, what better day to do it than the hottest day of the year.

Temperatures of 26 degrees, a cloudless sky and scarcely a breath of wind greeted the more than 1,000 cyclists who gathered in Grand Canal Square for the annual Dublin lunchtime city cycle as part of National Bike Week.

The sight of some people diving into the adjacent canal to escape the heat added a Mediterranean feel to the occasion.

Leisurely circuit

They gathered for a leisurely ride around Dublin city centre designed to showcase the benefits of cycling to a still unconvinced public.

As newly elected Dublin city councillor Tina MacVeigh put it, looking at the phalanx of cyclists lined up for yesterday’s jaunt: “It reminds me of living in Denmark”.

It is a fair assumption to make that if conditions were like this all the time, the number of Dublin commuters who cycle daily would be substantially higher than the present rate of 4 per cent.

Sun and safety

Unfortunately, rain and wind are a more likely accompaniment to the average Dublin cyclist’s commute, though safety would appear to be the greater deterrent.

Among the cyclists who turned out for yesterday’s cycle were the Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan wearing his work clothes despite the temperatures.

Mr Keegan seemed relaxed about the bombshell (for motorists at least) that he dropped this week when he proposed that the vital artery of the city’s north quays have a two-way cycle lane which would restrict motorists to one lane.

Junior transport minister Alan Kelly, who also turned out yesterday, cautioned that Mr Keegan’s proposals were just one of a number of options and any concrete proposals were a “long way off”.

However, he added: “We do need to do something in relation to cycling infrastructure. It is the right time to look at it.”

Those who turned out for the cycle do not need any convincing about the merits of Mr Keegan’s proposal.

Spokes-men

Former lord mayor Andrew Montague, who knows what the wrath of motorists is like after his proposal to put a 30km/h speed limit in the city centre was passed by the council, said Mr Keegan’s proposals were a long time in planning and had to be put in place.

“It’s too hostile on the quays. Too many people have been killed there. It’s a far more efficient use of space,” he said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said, if anything, Mr Keegan’s proposals did not go far enough. “It makes absolute and utter sense,” he said. “I’d go further.

“We should be looking at the southside as well. It’s long overdue. It’s time we bit the bullet and made Dublin a cycling city.

“The whole city centre traffic system needs to change. Putting in the new Luas lines is the time to do it,” he said.