Dublin cyclists protest against car pollution and lack of infrastructure

I BIKE Dublin campaign embarks on slow cycle and complains about this week’s budget

I BIKE Dublin’s slow cycle through the city centre on Thursday morning. Photograph: Dave Meehan

I BIKE Dublin’s slow cycle through the city centre on Thursday morning. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

More than 100 cyclists in Dublin slow-cycled in rush-hour traffic yesterday, demanding faster action globally to tackle climate change and sharply increased spending on cycling routes in the capital.

The cyclists left from Grand Canal Dock, cycling over Butt Bridge, past the Custom House, arriving in Merrion Square 45 minutes later. Judging by the beeping of horns, they received substantial support from motorists.

The protest was led by the campaign I BIKE Dublin, which wants free and subsidised parking for public employees abandoned and zero tolerance for motorists who abuse cycle lanes and cyclists.

In addition the lobby group wants traffic lights to favour pedestrians and cyclists and argues that Ireland should build no more new roads. This week’s budget, the group complains, has done very little for cycling.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe had done nothing to expand the Bike to Work scheme, or to subsidise electric bikes, even though he gives a €5,000 subsidy for electric cars that add to congestion, said Oisín O’Connor.

“If more people cycled, we would reduce pollution, but people are reluctant because the roads aren’t safe,” said Dr Jeannette Golden. Many women do not feel safe because of harassment, she added.

Activist on board

Separately, an Aer Lingus flight from London City Airport to Dublin was delayed when an activist staged an on-board protest as the plane was due to take off, delivering a lecture on climate change to fellow passengers.

BBC Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt, who was on the flight, posted on Twitter that a “smartly dressed man in late middle age” stood up in the aisle, and politely declined to take his seat when asked to by cabin crew.

“Plane was at the end of runway. So the pilot taxied back to gate where plane was met by throng of police. They came on board and escorted the protestor off the plane. No skirmish and protestor left the plane”.