Making space for cycling increases numbers of people cycling on Dublin route

— Campaigner says more continuous and segregated cycle route will attract even more people
— Further increases in cycling expected when route is improved closer to city centre.

Improvements to the Frascati Road — aka the Blackrock bypass — which made space for cycling has increased the number of people using the route by 49%, according to the local council’s bicycle counter data.

A spokeswoman for Dun Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council said: “The council is delighted to announce that the electronic cycle counter on the Rock Road approaching Booterstown Avenue has shown that cycling numbers have increased by 49% in the first 6 months of 2016 when compared to 2014. During the same 6 month period, cycle counters also showed a 6% increase in cycling numbers on Clonskeagh Road and a 9% increase on the Stillorgan Road.”

A mix of new cycle lanes and lightly segregated cycle tracks along the Blackrock bypass (pictured) has actually increased the number of people using the road by 75%, comparing data with 2014 before the improvement works and data this year after the project was finished.

Even though the improvements were only to a relatively short section of the overall road into the city centre and sections in the city council area remains hostile to cycling, numbers of commuters using the main route jumped from 552 to 940 people.

But the council also measured a decrease in the number of people cycling on a very close by parallel route via Blackrock Park. When the decrease of 9% is accounted for the overall increase is 49%. Many cycle via the park to avoid the busy main road.

At the meeting of the newly formed Dun Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council cycle forum, the council’s cycling officer, Gerry Flaherty, said that the high increase in cycle numbers on the Rock Road was attributable to cycle improvements made on the Blackrock bypass in 2015, as part of the Frascati Road Cycle Improvement Scheme, which “provided a high a priority for cyclists along the Blackrock bypass”.

Cllr Shay Brennan, the council’s cycle champion and chair of the Cycle Forum, said: “I welcome the increase in the number of people cycling around the county especially on the Rock Road. Overall, the increase in the number of people cycling, highlights the great work being done by the council in improving facilities for cyclists and the increasing number of cyclists emphasising the importance placed on cycling by the council as a viable alternative travel mode for many daily trips”.

Keith Byrne, a local cycling campaigner and a former chairman of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “It’s great to see this demonstration of what investments in cycling can bring to important transport routes. The completion of the Frascati cycle scheme has no doubt contributed to this dramatic increase. There is still need for further investment along the Rock Road to create safe segregated cycling, as well as making continuous improvements for all ages and abilities to cycle.”

He added: “At a time when money for cycling is abysmally low, it goes to show that when money is invested in cycling infrastructure, people will choose cycling. We still need to invest in a serious joined up cycling network that connects to the city and allows for connected cycling to school and other local amenities.”

MORE: Get the full data.

The on-road bicycle counter has a display unit (pictured below), while the park route has a in-ground bicycle counter without a display unit.

5 Comments

  1. This is good information to have when dealing with the very common complaint that there is no point in building cycling infrastructure if cyclists won’t use it. The fact is that cyclists will use good infrastructure that improves their experience and won’t use facilities that don’t. We all know that and you would think would be obvious to everyone but apparently it isn’t,

  2. I don’t use the park to avoid the traffic. I use the park because the side of the road is in bits, particularly between the Toyota/lexus dealer and Blackrock village. I don’t believe that they have fixed that section.

  3. Agree with Brian totally, the road outside the Car showroom is in bits, the road surface isn’t suitable for heavy traffic (poured and screeded concrete) in order to use it safely you need to take primary in the bus lane and sometimes pull out into the traffic lane (may have improved in recent upgrade but I gave up on it years ago and as my destination is Blackrock the park is a nice wind down)

  4. The section outside Toyota has recently been fixed up, nice smooth surface now. However they need to do the same on the opposite side of the road. There’s a particularly nasty pothole near the bus stop outside Blackrock College.

  5. I think the phrase often quoted from ‘The Field of Dreams’ might be apposite here in a slightly altered version! ‘Build It (appropriately) and They Will Come!’
    Cycling infrastructure needs to be appropriately designed and funded urgently!

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