CYCLISTS have sparked a backlash over their call to be allowed to break red lights and go against traffic on one-way streets in Dublin.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign says that instead of criticising bike users for their behaviour, the law could be changed to accommodate them.
But the idea was lashed by AA Ireland, which said cyclists have to comply with traffic laws just like any other road user.
The bike campaign's Derek Peppard said the main complaints against cyclists are that they break red lights, go the wrong way up one-way streets and mount footpaths.
Dublin could follow the example of Brussels where, with the "stroke of a pen", they passed a law stating it is no longer illegal to cycle contra flow on one-way streets, he said.
"Suddenly this horrendous illegal behaviour by cyclists is now not illegal," he added.
Studies show that the practice is not terribly dangerous, Mr Peppard said.
The problem was that cyclists got "lumped in" with vehicle traffic, he told Dublin City Council's transport committee.
He wants the committee to look at what other countries have done successfully to help cyclists. Other rules around breaking lights could also be amended, Mr Peppard said.
"They've recently passed laws in France, for instance, that cyclists can go right -- which is the same as turning left in Ireland -- if it's safe to do so on a red light. Little steps like that can help alleviate or make what is currently nasty illegal behaviour not illegal," Mr Peppard told the meeting at City Hall.
While he agreed cyclists should not mount footpaths, he sympathised with those who feel too vulnerable to travel on the road.
But the AA's Conor Faughnan disagreed strongly with Mr Peppard.
"It seems as if the solution to cyclists breaking the law is to amend the laws so that cyclists are allowed do anything. I don't think that's legitimate," Mr Faughnan said.
"You couldn't have a cyclist going against the flow in somewhere like Nicholas Street (in Dublin 8). It would just be extremely dangerous," he added.
"Even to suggest to the public that the law with respect to one-way streets is flexible as far as cyclists are concerned, I think would cause considerable danger in Dublin city nd in lots of other places in Ireland," he said.
He has a similar concern for breaking lights, he told the meeting.