11 February 2019
PRESS RELEASE –
Corkonians Rally for Safe, Usable Cycle Lanes
People who support cycling held their first rally outside City Hall on 11 February this evening. The rally was organised by the Cork Cycling Campaign to highlight problems experienced in the city, particularly vehicles stopping or parking in dedicated cycle lanes. The rally called for measures to make the city’s cycle lanes fit for purpose and safe for cycling.
The rally coincided with motions from Cllr Fiona Ryan (Solidarity Party) before the city council to install protective barriers in places where parking in cycle lanes is a persistent problem. These include South Main Street, Washington Street, and Alfred Street. Barriers are already routinely used across the city and have been installed between vehicular traffic lanes on Washington Street as recently as last month.
Cork Cycling Campaign pointed out that the rally shows how strongly people who cycle feel about vehicles parked in cycle lanes. First and foremost, this practise threatens the safety of people cycling. When drivers park cars or vans in cycle lanes, cyclists must swerve into another traffic lane and mix with fast, heavy vehicles. This poses a grave danger for unprotected road users. Such manoeuvres intimidate many people, especially children and inexperienced cyclists. Safeguarding cycle lanes is also a matter of mutual respect between different road users. Parking in cycle lanes disregards the needs of other road users, including buses which must wait for a break in traffic to manoeuvre around a parked car.
The group also noted that cycle lanes which can’t be used because of parked cars are a wasted investment of taxpayer money. The city council also loses parking revenue from the practice.
Cork Cycling Campaign noted that elements of design, physical protection, and enforcement are needed to make cycle lanes usable and safe. The Campaign called on councillors and the city council:
- To install protective barriers along cycle lanes where parking in cycle lanes is pervasive. This is particularly important for major cycling corridors.
- To ensure high quality design and segregated cycle lanes wherever feasible. The Campaign noted that Cork has some good examples of protected, bi-directional cycle lanes, such as on Pope’s Quay, and has led the way nationally in such design approaches. But these segregated cycle lanes need to be much more widespread. The new Alfred Street cycle corridor represents a missed opportunity in this regard.
As a final resort, the group also called on traffic wardens and gardai:
- To enforce exclusive use of cycle lanes for people on bicycles. Parking in cycle lanes is a dangerous, frequent, and highly visible traffic violation, yet attracts less than 1% of all traffic fines. This needs to change.
Speaking for the Campaign, Chairperson Dr Dean Venables said “We all know that Cork has serious traffic congestion. Public transport is part of the solution, but the city needs a functioning cycle network as well – one that people of all ages and abilities can use with confidence. Safe and usable cycle lanes would encourage many more people to cycle. Higher rates of cycling would reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and parking demand in Cork. This would contribute towards a more livable and attractive city to the benefit of all.”
Speaking for the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network,, Cyclist.ie, Dr Damien Ó Tuama said “Cycling numbers need to grow, and cycling needs to be encouraged in every way possible, to help Ireland meet its Climate Change targets. Every small initiative, such as making existing cycle lanes safer, helps”
With increased awareness of the dangers posed by air pollution, the urgency people feel about climate breakdown, and huge growth forecast for Cork city, it is likely that cycling numbers will double in Cork over the coming years. It is important that Cork City Council and the Gardai take action now to ensure that the existing cycling infrastructure is fit for purpose.