Hundreds of cyclists stage Dublin demonstration

Campaigners seeking better road infrastructure and traffic management

 Zach, Sally, Jude and Meg North from Cabra attending the Allocate4Cycling Cycle protest outside the Department of Transport in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Zach, Sally, Jude and Meg North from Cabra attending the Allocate4Cycling Cycle protest outside the Department of Transport in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Hundreds of cyclists have pedalled from the Department of Transport to Leinster House to highlight road fatalities involving people on bicycles and call for better infrastructure.

One cyclist has died on Irish roads this year and 10 died in 2016. The Dublin Cycling Campaign is calling for fully segregated cycling routes in some areas.

“To move towards zero serious incidents involving cyclists and to encourage more people to take up cycling, our roads infrastructure and traffic management regimes must be improved to be cycling-friendly, including through the provision of fully segregated routes where appropriate,” the campaigners said.

Addressing the gathering on Kildare Street, Dublin Cycling Campaign chairwoman Muireann O’Dea said 10 per cent of the Government’s transport budget should go to cycling.

“The Government target is for 10 per cent of journeys to be made by bike by 2020 yet the allocation for both walking and cycling in the capital budget for Transport 2017 - 2022 is just 1 per cent. That’s just €100 million out of a total of €10 billion.”

She said the 2009 National Cycle Policy Framework would guarantee the future of cycling in Ireland but “successive governments have failed to allocate the resources needed to implement it”.

She added: “With proper investment in cycling infrastructure towns and cities across Ireland can become places where cycling is a normal everyday activitythat can be enjoyed by everyone.”

Politicians including Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik and Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall were at the demonstration.

In the Dáil, Fine Gael TD Ciaran Cannon is to co-sponsor a Private Members Bill in the Dáil to create a safe passing distance for drivers overtaking cyclists of 1 metre in urban areas and 1.25 metres on rural roads (although campaigners have called for a 1.5 metre passing distance).

Cycling campaigner Damien Ó Tuama, who took part in Wednesday’s demonstration, said the group handed a letter in to Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s office and invited him to meet them but he was not available.

Mr Ó Tuama said cycling in the capital today is a “mixed picture” with some “lovely” quiet routes as well as some hostile junctions such as the one at Christchurch Cathedral.