Thursday 20 October 2016

Plans to protect cyclists from traffic by shielding them with parked cars

This road layout in the US shows how the lanes could work
This road layout in the US shows how the lanes could work

Cycling groups have welcomed plans that could significantly change the layout of Dublin's cycle lanes.

New plans are being drafted in an attempt to make cycling safer by swapping the position of car parking space and cycle lanes.

The initiative would see cycle lanes placed between car-parking spaces and foothpaths.

However, it will be some time before the possibility of the new lanes becomes a permanent feature of the city.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has confirmed to the Herald they will fund a study on the proposal.

It is expected the study will be completed before the end of the year and decisions will then be made on the proposal.

If the plans are granted, the new cycle lanes will run from the canal at Leeson Street Bridge to Merrion Square, using Fitzwilliam Place and Fitzwilliam Street. The plans could create a large-scale cycling network route in the city.

The so-called Georgian Parkway would link the impressive Grand Canal cycle route to all of the south Georgian squares - creating a segregated network of cycle routes across the south of the city.

Some of the country's largest cycling groups have welcomed the plans, saying they were much needed to improve cyclist safety.

However, the groups have warned the plans need to be designed correctly to succeed.

Cycling Ireland, the governing body of cycling in Ireland, has said the current layouts, which put cycle lanes beside flowing traffic, has led to a fatal accident.

"It's great to see the safety and concerns of cyclists being taken seriously enough for a study of this kind to be completed," Cycling Ireland spokeswoman Heather Boyle told the Herald.

"When you're cycling along and a car is parked on your left-hand side, the chances are that somebody getting out of that car will get out from the driver's seat, which can catch a cyclist.

"There has been an incident in which the cyclist went under the wheels of a car and it has led to the death of a cyclist," she said.

"In Dublin, there are so many cyclists and it is positive. We want to encourage that, but there is a need for cycle lanes to be safe."


Ms Boyle added that while Ireland might be a few years behind cities such as Amsterdam in terms of cycling culture, changes were happening "slowly".

Meanwhile, the Irish Cyclist Advocacy Network also welcomed the plans.

Chairman Colm Ryder said they would welcome "anything that makes the roads safer for cyclists".

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