Dublin councillor claims taxis and bicycles sharing bus lanes isn’t an issue… but cyclists don’t seem to agree

Taxis and bicycles sharing bus lane space is widely seen by cycling campaigners as an issue for cycling safety, but one Dublin councillor thinks it’s a fact that there’s no issue. What do readers think? Please comment below.

Cllr Paul Donnelly (SF) was responding to Northern Ireland Greenways who was expressing annoyance on Twitter with a plan to trial taxis in bus lanes in Belfast, which is due to start on Monday.

UPDATE #1: after the feedback, Cllr Donnelly says he accepts mixing bicycles and taxis is an issue. 

UPDATE #2: Cllr Donnelly’s fellow Fingal County councillor, David Healy also Tweeted us to say Cllr Donnelly’s has been “a solid supporter of good cycling policy in Fingal’s development plan process”.

The original article continues below.


Keith Byrne, a former chairman of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, thinks there is an issue with taxes and bicycles sharing:

Just a few days ago he ran a Twitter poll on the issue — it’s a small sample but it indicates at least some others agree with him:  

What do you think? Do bicycles and taxis mix in bus lanes?

16 Comments

  1. I’m going to make a guess that Cllr Donnelly doesn’t cycle regularly.

  2. Councillor Donnelly seems to have gotten into running: http://www.parkrun.ie/results/athleteresultshistory/?athleteNumber=2807336

    You should ask him if he cycles.

  3. Its a massive, MASSIVE issue for me! Along with many others, I witness daily the huge number of taxis using bus lanes without appreciating this ‘privilege’ – dangerously undertaking vehicles, exceeding speed limits, stopping to pick up/drop off causing obstruction of lanes, etc etc.
    I would much prefer that taxis did not have their privileged access to bus lanes but at the very least taxis should only be allowed to use bus lane when they have passengers! Secondly taxi drivers should have at least the same (maybe special?) training as bus drivers regarding sharing this space with vulnerable users (bicycles).

  4. Taxi drivers usually seem to be in a hurry for one reason or another. They also don’t seem to be very well trained. They are a threat to cyclists on bus lanes.

  5. I prefer to use bus lanes to cycle tracks (mandatory or advisory), as general traffic tends to stay outside, and leave me plenty of space.

    I don’t have a fundamental problem with taxi’s in bus lanes. It becomes an issue when the taxi’s drive in a manner which ignores vulnerable road users. I agree with Jon’s point that taxi drivers should be required to undergo the same standard of training as bus drivers, who in my experience, have a high awareness of other road users.

    Another option would be to limit speeds in bus lanes to 30kph, to reflect the mixed use. If tax’s need to move at higher speeds they would have to move into the general traffic lane.

  6. I rarely have an issue with taxis in the bus lane. Busses are at least as big a problem despite the supposed training.

    The primary problem with taxis is the way they pull in (and out) without warning and they will do this even if they are not allowed drive in the bus lane. The interpretation of the rules apparently allows pick up and set down with no limitations as far as I can tell.

    I have far more problems with private cars in bus lanes outside the operating hours of the bus lane. It seems that the sort of driver who is aware that the bus lanes are not in operation is also the sort of the driver who likes to pass a line of cars on the inside with no regard for whether someone is cycling in front of them. If I had the power to change one thing about bus lanes it would not be to remove taxis, it would be to make them all 24/7 operation. Apparently it is too confusing the way it currently is. If the roads aren’t busy then you don’t need to drive in the bus lane, if they roads are busy then you need to not be in the way of the busses, bicycles and yes taxis. It shouldn’t matter what time of the day it is.

    Bear in mind that for a lot of motorists when they take a taxi is about the only time they ever see any benefit from bus lanes (I realise they do clearly benefit by every person who chooses not to drive because the busses are more efficient, they just don’t see it). The majority of people don’t care about cyclists. Get rid of taxis and cyclists could be next. I’m baffled by the poll showing that people don’t like cycling in the bus lane, although there are only 128 respondents and I assume they are primarily cycling activists. My commute would be a lot more annoying without bus lanes.

  7. HivemindX – Im confused! You say you dont have a problem with taxis in bus lanes but then go on to say that you do in fact have a problem in bus lanes…
    I agree about the confusion of hours of use for private vehicles but their bahaviour you describe (passing on the inside) is never done by taxis! I’m flabbergasted as this is by far the most common manoevre that I see every single day (whether Im driving, cycling or on a bus). Along with the randomn inconsiderate and downright dangerous picking up/dropping off that is also common might explain why so many cyclists have stated that they dont like cycling in bus lanes.

  8. A lot of useful and varied comment here on this road safety issue for cyclists. Some three years ago when Belfast introduced extensive bus lanes the City and DRD took a wise decision to exclude taxis from the bus lane system, recognising that the drivers were not subject to special training to specifically interact safely with cyclists. CTC NI and Sustrans NI had us come to Belfast to brief the then Minister Danny Kennedy. Earlier this week Sustrans NI was in touch with Cyclist.ie because it looked as if the Minister was going to make an order permitting taxi access to bus lanes shared with cyclists – a vulnerable road user (VRU) group.
    When bus lanes were introduced into Dublin in about 1994, taxis were not permitted into the bus lanes but after lobbying by taxi representative bodies a decision was made to admit them on an experimental basis for one year. The results of that ‘experiment’ were not made public but the 1997 SI confirmed that omnibuses and taxis were now permitted users along with cyclists. The ‘stakeholder’ cycling group (Dublin Cycling Campaign) was not consulted about this ‘experiment’ or the decision!
    Bus lane design parameters were such in 1994 (the original Cycle Manual) that buses (not coaches) were reckoned to be safe for lane-sharing with cyclists due to the fact that they were in a stop-go driving system, with frequent halts at bus stops to pick up and set down passengers. This meant bus speeds were kept in check.
    Once taxis were introduced the ‘brakes’ were off and the new design user could travel at any speed.
    Bus drivers are subject to an in-company training system. Dublin Cycling Campaign has some input into the training of drivers. Just last year the company involved us with a review of the story-board for a safety training video.directed at safe interaction with cyclists – ‘The Urban Jungle’. We were pleased with the final outcome. Taxi drivers are not subject to training to be in bus lanes shared with cyclists.
    Bus (and coach) drivers, but not taxi drivers, are subject to annual Certification of Professional Competence (CPC) training and assessment supervised by the Road Safety Authority (RSA)
    Perhaps the Cllr will reflect on this history.

  9. First, taxis were originally banned from bus lanes until they had a hissyfit and threatened to block the bus lanes. To avoid this they were allowed access but only when they had a fare. Unfortunately the ban on unhired taxis was never implemented by the guards which was a pity since although a taxi with a fare has no incentive to get somewhere quickly taxis without a fare have a reason to speed leading them in many instances to bullying cyclists who get in their way. They should never have been allowed taxis share a lane with cyclists although I suppose that battle is lost now. Sinn feins attitude might reflect the fact that they always got huge support from the black taxis and it was rumoured that many taxis were controlled by sf/ira.

  10. Bix – you got it on the nail!
    In relation to being in a bus lane without a fare on board, that was tested in an action brought by Garda to the District Court about 2013. The DJ ruled that taxi drivers could be in bus lanes without a fare. AGS never appealed to a higher court.

  11. It’s a big problem and in fact taxis should be banned from bus lanes kn roads with no dedicated cycle paths.

  12. Another idiotic comment from a representative in Sinn Féin. Of course it’s an issue.
    Plus it’s not called “The South”, it’s Ireland!!!

  13. Jon, my comment was quite clear. I rarely, not never, have problems with taxis in bus lanes. Private cars, which obviously excludes taxis in this context, are a far bigger problem than taxis. When the bus lane is not in operation, or they are ‘confused’ and think it isn’t, they are more likely to engage in a fast and too close overtake than a taxi is.

    My main issue with taxis is the way they pull in quickly and with no warning, block the lane when they stop and allow their passengers to jump out in traffic. Banning them from bus lanes would not stop any of that.

  14. HievmindX – I can’t share your good experience in those bus lanes with taxis present. I came into town from Dun Laoghaire on the R118 (Rock Road/Merrion Road) after lunch today and twice I had to gesticulate and shout at taxi drivers who overtook me far too close and fast. I want them to move out of the bus lane and into the adjacent vehicle lane when overtaking any cyclist. Not skimming past us within already far too narrow a lane system.
    This is what the MPDL of 1.5 m demands.
    Parents won’t let their children cycle to school for so long as a cohort of taxi drivers don’t respect our vulnerability.

  15. Well imagine if cyclists where not allowed in this lane. Being over taken and under taken? So we are only really there because it is marginally safer than the alternative. Giving public service vehicles their own lane in order to expedite their journey only to stunt their progress with a cyclist? I don’t think we’d do it with trains, even if they could over take.

  16. I regularly have issues with taxis driving far too fast and too close in bus lanes. My experience on the routes I commute is that buses are far more considerate. I guess this reflects the training that bus drivers get.

    Aside from the safety issue for cyclists, I don’t think taxis should be allowed in bus lanes at all. Why are they there? They’re not public transport. They’re essentially private cars for hire and, as such, do sweet F-A to reduce congestion or pollution or danger. Why are they in BUS lanes? Even more galling is the fact that most of the time there are no passengers aboard and it’s just the taxi driver going to the shops for his lunch.

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