herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Bike Boom

More and more of us are ditching four wheels for two, but is enough being done to ensure our lives are secure?

DUBLIN is going through a boom in pedal power, with more cyclists than ever using the city centre.

It is the only method of transport which has grown in the past five years.

Dubliners are increasingly leaving their cars behind and hopping on bikes to beat the city's traffic congestion problems.

Latest surveys show that the number of private cars entering the city area daily is falling.

But the opposite is true of cyclists -- numbers fell between 1997 and 2004, but since then there has been an amazing 42.6pc increase.

Despite showing an increase last year, the numbers of trucks declined steadily between 1997 and 2010, falling by 70pc to less than 1,000.

Few would dispute that this was due to the opening of the Dublin Port Tunnel in December 2006 and, with truck numbers falling, the streets have felt safer for cyclists.

Dublin South East TD Eoghan Murphy said safety had definitely improved.







Traffic



"What we've seen in the last few years has been a general improvement for pedestrians and cyclists. It's better, safer -- it's a nicer environment," the Fine Gael deputy told the Herald. "Things like the new canal cycleway are fantastic." Mr Murphy added that while there was still a long way to go, "we're getting there".

Mr Murphy said the "relatively small" amounts of money being allocated in the Department of Transport's capital spending programme to cycling will still go a long way.

"It doesn't cost much to build a cycle lane, but it makes a difference to other transport users as well," he added.

The number of cyclists has gone from 3,941 in 2004 to 6,870 last year.

In the 12 months between 2010 and 2011 alone there was a jump of 15.4pc.

The figures are based on traffic counts conducted by Dublin City Council every year at 33 locations around the cordon formed by the Royal and Grand canals.

The counts take place during November each year, between the hours of 7am and 10am.

The results provide a snapshot of volumes on particular days.







Private

As the vast majority of Dublin bike journeys are within the canal cordon, they are not included in the figures.

It means that the actual number of bicycle trips in the central area is far higher.

In contrast, car volumes have decreased by 10.9pc in a decade and 3.6pc between 2010 and 2011.

The data, gathered last November, indicates that about 60,600 private cars, including taxis and 6,800 cyclists, are entering the cordon daily.

"Over the 10-year period 2001 to 2011 the volume of pedal cyclists crossing the canal cordon during the morning peak period increased by 35.1pc," senior council engineer Niall Gormley noted in a report.

"There was a 41.9pc increase in the period 2006 to 2011 and a 15.4pc increase in the period 2010 to 2011."

comurphy@herald.ie

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