Cyclists “a danger to themselves and traffic” says Senator

Users of bicycles in Dublin “are a danger to themselves and traffic”, Senator John Kelly (Labour) has said.

In a debate on the Road Traffic Bill 2016, Kelly said: “The Minister mentioned cyclists. I have often meant to raise the issue of cyclists in Dublin. The city is wholly unsuitable for cyclists. They are a danger to themselves and traffic.”

He added: “While driving down a road with three or four lanes, one is conscious of what is in front of one and one has to take corrective action if something goes wrong. If there are cyclists to the right and left, and if one has to make a move, one of them will be in trouble. We do not have enough cycle lanes and cyclists are using the carriageway along with cars. It is a dangerous city in which to be a cyclist.”

Kelly also welcomed drug-driving testing and said “it might even take some of our politicians off the road”, and planned 20km/h speed limits. He said: “I also welcome the reduction in the speed limits in certain housing estates, particularly where children are at play. While most people are responsible on the road, it takes only one impetuous driver to cause an accident.”

The Senator also requested that drivers in their 70s or 80s on provisional licences be allowed to renew their licences without undergoing a theory test because the test is digitised and the drivers in question “do not use computers and do not understand the whole thing”.

Responding to the Senator, the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe (Fine Gael) said: “Senator Kelly raised a number of issues regarding cycling. I differ with him in that I believe the vast majority of cycling routes in our city are safe for cyclists and other road users. There is, however, an ongoing need to invest in proper infrastructure to make cycling as safe as possible.”

On the issue of licensing, Minister Donohoe said: “I recognise the Senator’s persistence because every time I have been in the House, he has raised one issue. If he is raising it on behalf of constituents, they can rest well assured that he has been an ongoing advocate on their behalf on this matter. I am afraid I am still not in a position to give him the answer he wants because it is important that people seeking a full driving licence should have passed the theory test.”

10 Comments

  1. “drivers in their 70s or 80s on provisional licences”? There’s no such thing as a provisional licence. I presume he means unlicenced drivers?

  2. A learner driving permit was previously known as a provisional licence.

  3. It’s quite some time ago that they renamed it a learner’s permit precisely to stop people pretending it was a kind-of licence. However, I don’t think the message got through to people, and we continue in a situation where a driver’s licence is an optional extra.

  4. Good, diplomatic reply by Paschal Donohoe.

  5. Well, at least it goods to see that the message of reducing speed to 20kph is getting through. I’ll take that as a positive.

  6. In fairness to John Kelly, while my impression of him isn’t great from this, he may just have worded it badly.

    He has supported off-road facilities in the past, albeit leisure trails rather than commuting infrastructure: “I would like to ask the Minister of State with responsibility for sustainable transport, Deputy Alan Kelly, to consider establishing a small group to oversee the delivery of a national network of off-road cycle trails in order to assist with the timely delivery of the national cycling strategy and to create a network of trails to attract some of the cycling tourism business which is so successful elsewhere but which does not exist in Ireland.”

    (Google cache link, as original page seems inaccessible) http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:R19eFkOvjMoJ:oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%2520authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/seanad2013120400042+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ie

  7. Cyclists are perfectly within their rights to use the carriageway alongside cars. The overemphasis on cycle tracks being the only answer to cycling safety has led many like Kelly to treat cyclist like they are second class traffic. Many cyclists like myself are perfectly comfortable and confident to be part of mainstream traffic and would like to see as much resource given to emphasise the rights and EQUAL status of cyclists. It seems we are only equal when we break and not when we abide by it.

  8. Why do so many, like Senator Kelly, see people who cycle as not driving a vehicle and therefore a legitimate part of traffic?
    We pose little danger of death or serious injury to those in motorised vehicles so why the great affected concern for our welfare? A modern bicycle weighs about 15 kg versus the mammoth 2,000 kg of a SUV or the 20,000 kg of a coach. How come 15 kg is seen as a threat?
    Why no concern directed at the drivers of these lethal motorised vehicles with their enormous kinetic energy?

  9. @Citizen Wolf “Well, at least it goods to see that the message of reducing speed to 20kph is getting through. I’ll take that as a positive.”
    Which unfortunately is meaningless unless speed limits are actually enforced

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