NTA declined to put rubber in Luas tracks

Rubber inserts could prevent bicycles getting caught in track grooves

Olivia Kelly reports on the challenges and dangers facing cyclists in Dublin as the new Luas Cross city line opens this weekend. It sees the extension of the Luas Green Line and the creation of an interchange with the Red Line. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

In January 2012, two months after the Luas Cross City got Government sanction but six months before it secured planning permission, the NTA produced a report on the “Co-existence of Cyclists and Trams”.

Engineering consultants Jacobs had been commissioned to examine the implications of facilitating cyclists in the tram corridor and what could be done to prevent bicycle wheels getting caught between track grooves – the area known as the “flangeway”.

Rubber panels or inserts could be used to fill the gaps between the rails, Jacobs determined.

Various products were available, but they all worked in a similar fashion where they would be depressed by the tram wheels but would remain level when used by a cyclist.

The cost of these systems varied but could be in the range of €800,000 per kilometre, not including the costs of replacing the rubber strips when they wore out, Jacobs said. It added that they could be retrofitted into “high risk” areas only, rather than the full line.

The NTA determined that frequency of trams on the route meant the rubber would be worn down or “ripped” and would have to be replaced too often.

Colm Ryder of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said the issue of using the rubber inserts had been raised a number of times by his group.

“We have been told that they would have to be replaced regularly, but that should not be the issue. If they have to be replaced so be it, if they improve safety.”