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Dublin’s road to a cycle friendly city

What is Dublin City Council doing to encourage more people to commute by bike and reducing the dangers while cycling throughout the city centre?

Research from 2019 in the ‘Bike Life’ report for Dublin found that 84% of those surveyed were in favour of building more physically separated on-road cycle tracks, even if the consequence was leaving less space for other road traffic.

Another key finding in the report was that cycling in Dublin saves 28,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually by taking 60,000 cars off the road each day.

The self-service bike rental system, dublinbikes. Photog: Ruben McCarthy

The Department of Transport aims to set aside €289 million to improve walking and cycling infrastructure in Ireland this year, with €52 million of that allocated for Dublin City Council.

This was officially confirmed in by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan who said in a statement, “I want us to now accelerate the delivery of sustainable transport modes as we come out of the majority of COVID restrictions. It is vital that we do not allow a return to gridlock as we come out of the pandemic.

“Local authorities and the NTA have been provided with an unprecedented increase in funding for additional staff for active travel. We need to be quick, to help reduce our climate emissions but also to use this unique moment in time to create a more attractive and safer local environment,” Ryan said.

One of the projects that has already commenced this year is the ‘Clontarf to City Centre’ route, and the first phase of construction began at the end of March with the aim to be fully completed in the next two years.

North Inner City Green Party councillor Janet Horner said, “One of the most significant things happening as a result of the increased budget is the development of an active travel office, so that’s a specific team of staff in Dublin City Council which is just about coming on stream and will be driving projects around sustainable travel and active travel in the city.”

Cycling bollards on Brunswick Street North, Dublin 7. Photo: Ruben McCarthy

Illegal parking in cycle lanes has been a major issue by increasing risk for cyclists who have to try to manoeuvre around the obstacles while in busy traffic.

The Twitter hashtag –  #FreeTheCycleLanes was launched by the Dublin Cycling Campaign in 2015 to bring awareness to this issue, with cyclists still posting pictures of the dangerous blockages that they encounter while commuting through the city.

Horner said, “There has been two initiatives recently, one is to increase fixed penalty notices for illegal parking. This includes if you are parking in a cycle lane when you are not meant to be and the second one is increasing clamping fines and that has been done at national level.

“We are pushing quite hard to see an increase in the enforcement and the presence of the enforcement because unfortunately with the lack of penalties for doing so – people feel fairly free to park illegally and in somewhat dangerous places and they can create a danger for others.

“We can do a lot of things, like providing Dublin Bikes, providing the station less bikes and encouraging bike to work schemes. But until people feel safe to do so, we will not have huge amounts of people on their bikes,” Horner said.

“It will continue to be a very small minority who are comfortable taking quite a bit of risk in their day to day life, or at least feeling like they are taking quite a bit of risk.”

Unprotected cycle lanes can create risky situations. Photo: Ruben McCarthy

The full ‘Bike Life’ report can be found here.

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