Cycling campaign highlights lack of safety in the capital

November 8th, 2019

Cycling advocacy campaigners are set to hold their fourth and final protest this evening to highlight the State’s lack of concern for the safety of Dublin city’s eco-commuters. 

The week-long protest, organised by advocacy group I Bike Dublin, was prompted by a fatal crash that killed a cyclist in the city last Friday morning.

Yesterday evening, the campaigners held a vigil outside of an event that the Minister for Transport Shane Ross TD was slated to attend to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives while cycling.

Holding banners inscribed with the words “40 People Dead, their blood is on your hands” campaigners offered 40 flowers to Mr Ross to symbolise the number of cyclists who have died in road accidents under Mr Ross and his predecessors Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe.

Accepting the flowers, Mr Ross promised to ensure better road safety for eco-commuters and that he would convey the protestors’ message to his department and the Road Safety Authority (RSA).  

Joan O’Connell of I Bike Dublin said that the protests are “highlighting the dangerous consequences of failures to enforce road traffic laws” for eco-commuters in Ireland. 

“As people cycling to work, to supermarkets to friends and family, we regularly encounter aggressive and dangerous behaviour from motorists,” she said. “We are acutely aware of the very real risk of death or serious injury that such behaviours can cause to us.” 

Demands 

I Bike Dublin issued a list of requirements that they say would help to bolster road safety for eco-commuters, including a call for Dublin City Council to ramp up its efforts to provide a “physically protected cycling infrastructure” in the capital.

The group also wants to see “speed cameras” installed to measure Dublin’s worst streets for speeding motorists and calls on An Garda Síochana to refrain from making social media comments on cycling.

This follows the publication of a series of what the group believed was “inappropriate” and insensitive tweets by the Garda Traffic account after the death of cyclist Neeraj Jain on Friday. 

I Bike Dublin also wants to see “an independent review” from the Garda Ombudsman of the Gardaí’s “derogatory and insensitive” communications with them dating back to 2017.

The group has also urged Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD to “ensure that An Garda Síochána have the resources necessary to enforce road traffic laws properly.”

Eco-commuting activists at I Bike Dublin have urged the city’s avid cyclists to join their last day of action by assembling outside College Green at 5:30 pm to cycle to the offices of the Garda Roads Policing Unit at Barnardo’s Square. 

Mr Ross was also criticised this week after stating that he had no plans to allow the National Transport Authority (NTA) to fix bus and cycle lanes with cameras. 

The NTA had previously stated it was seeking a change in legislation that would greenlight the enforcement of bus and cycle lanes using cameras. 

“Our public transport system will never be up to par if the NTA is not given the power to install camera-based enforcement on its buses,” Kevin Carter, Chairperson of Dublin Commuter Coalition said. 

“This is but a further example that our Minister for Transport is only interested in one type of transport: the private motor vehicle.” 

About the Author

Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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