More than 12,000 cyclists a day commute into Dublin city

Cycling and walking in to town centre is at record levels while large lorries fall by 91%

Cyclists travel alongside Dublin’s Grand Canal. Photograph: The Irish Times

Cyclists travel alongside Dublin’s Grand Canal. Photograph: The Irish Times


A record number of cyclists commuted to Dublin city last year according to Dublin City Council statistics.

More than 12,000 people cycled into the city on a typical morning, the highest number since records began 20 years ago.

The council’s annual traffic count, which measures the modes of transport used by people entering the city between 7am and 10am, shows a huge increase in the popularity of cycling since 1997. Cyclist numbers that year stood at 5,628 and by 2006 had fallen to their lowest level 4,839, but have increased steadily, reaching 12,089 in 2016 – an rise of almost 11 per cent on 2015.

The count, taken each November, measures the modes of transport on 33 routes which can be used to access Dublin city through a cordon roughly defined by the Royal and Grand canals during the busiest commuting hours. Information is also provided by bus operators, Irish Rail and, in relation to the Luas, by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, to give a full picture of everyone accessing the city in the morning.

Sustainable transport

Two thirds of people use “sustainable transport” – walking, cycling and public transport – to access the city, said the council. Since 2010 there has been an increasing use of sustainable transport, although there was a slight dip of 1 per cent last year. That year saw a particular increase in pedestrians and was the first year on record where numbers exceeded 20,000. In total 21,473 people walked into town in the morning compared to 18,727 the previous year.

Goods vehicles and journeys by car and motorbike accounted for one third of the trips crossing the canal cordon.

The number of private cars coming into the city fell by just over two per cent from 53,064 to 51,908. The peak year for cars crossing the canal cordon was in 2008 with almost 59,000 vehicles. While cars remain the most popular form of transport, the 2016 figure represents a decrease of 12 per cent or 6,989 cars since this peak.

There was a slight drop of just over 1 per cent in the numbers using public transport from 99,608 to 98,237. The largest drop was in the number taking buses, from 57,548 to 54,710. Train users increased from 29,521 to 31,309 while Luas passengers fell slightly from 12,503 to 12,254.

Far fewer lorries in Dublin

A separate council report has found the restriction on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) accessing the city, has resulted in a 91 per cent drop in numbers of large lorries on the city streets in the last 10 years.

The HGV management strategy introduced in February 2007, following the opening of the port tunnel, banned lorries of five axles or more from the city streets between 7am and 7pm, with a permit system for essential deliveries.

The ban has removed more than 15 million lorry “vehicle trips” from the city in the last 10 years, the council said.