Cycling groups criticise Garda Twitter poll as ‘irresponsible’

Poll asked whether cyclists breaking red lights or vehicles parked in cycle lanes was more dangerous

Cycling groups and activists have criticised a Twitter poll run by the official Garda Síochána account as "irresponsible" and "deliberately divisive."

The Twitter poll asked whether cyclists breaking red lights or vehicles parked in cycle lanes was more dangerous. By Thursday evening just under 5,000 twitter users voted in the controversial poll, with 65 per cent stating cyclists running a red light was more dangerous than vehicles parked in cycle lanes.

Minister of State for the Diaspora Ciaran Cannon said the tweet was "appallingly ill-conceived" and "deliberately divisive". Mr Cannon has pushed for legislation to introduce a minimum safe passing distance for cars overtaking cyclists.

Tweeting himself he said the poll “seems to think there is some warped merit in deciding which illegal action is more dangerous”.

Dr Mike McKillen, who is part of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said the poll was "irresponsible," and only served to stir up division between motorists and cyclists.

Responding to criticism online the Garda account tweeted: “We are trying to get people talking about road safety. We are raising awareness that both actions causes a risk to all road users.”

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he thought the poll was “ill conceived”. He said the question asked would be seen as “antagonising” to cyclists and “didn’t help anyone”. Mr Ryan suggested representatives from the Garda traffic units should instead sit down with cycling groups to discuss how all traffic laws could be better enforced, particularly in Dublin city centre.

Last year 15 cyclists were killed on the roads, according to figures from the Road Safety Authority. The figure represents a 50 per cent increase on the ten cyclists who were killed on Irish roads the previous year.