Hold vote to allow visual impaired people to use Dublin’s cycle lanes, says lord mayor

IMAGE: The few segregated cycle lanes in Dublin are often designed to abruptly stop or rejoin the main road carriageway without any clues for the visually impaired.

Dublin’s lord mayor, Cllr Brendan Carr, said he “is considering asking Dubliners to vote on whether people with disabilities should be allowed use cycle lanes in the city”, according to a statement issued via the Dublin City Council press office this morning.

The statement outlined how this would include people with “visual and mobility disabilities”. But according to the Road Traffic Acts, electric wheelchairs are already allowed to use cycle tracks of all types, so, the proposed measure is likely to mainly apply to people who have visual impairments when they are pedestrians.

IMAGE: Sometimes cycle lanes are more cluttered than footpaths, such as this example on the Finglas Road.

Dublin City Council press release said: “The Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr has announced that he is considering asking Dubliners to vote on whether people with disabilities should be allowed use cycle lanes in the city. This is prompted by the increasing number of pavement obstacles that people with visual and mobility disabilities have to navigate in Dublin City on a daily basis.”

A quote attributed to Cllr Carr (Labour) said: “Currently, we are aware of the extent to which people with disabilities have to go to circumnavigate obstructions on the pavements. I think they would be better off using the cycle lanes and would like to ask what the people of Dublin think about this.”

We have attempted to email and phone the city council press office and Cllr Carr for clarification on the nature of the vote, as well as to confirm if the lord mayor is aware that electric wheelchairs and similar mobility aids are already allowed to use cycle tracks, and why the suggestion seem to contradict the position of the NCBI, the sight loss charity.

The NCBI policy looks for segregation between walking and cycling, and its representative on the city council’s transport committee has voiced opposition to shared paths and cycle paths which are not clearly defined.

We also asked Cllr Carr if he is aware that cycle lanes often stop and start, and are mixed with or dump people using them into heavy traffic.

Cllr Carr replied in a message before midday today and asked if he could contact us later. We asked when should we expect such a response, but have yet to hear back from the lord mayor. We’ll update this story if he responds.

The lord mayor is no stranger to controversy on cycling issues. Another councillor branded Cllr Carr’s comments implying that people on bicycles never cycled home with bags of shopping as “ridiculous and offence”, those comments also resulted in a surge in the use of the #shopbybike hashtag by Dublin residents on Twitter. He also claimed that “cyclists get everything they want” in a sub-standard solution for the Liffey Cycle Route.

5 Comments

  1. Clark in Vancouver June 17, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Is this for real?
    I wonder if he’s playing politics. Knowing that throwing visually impaired people in a space in which quiet moving objects will be going through, it guarantees conflicts. If his political schtick is anti-cycling, he can then respond to these conflicts by claiming that cyclists are not considerate of these poor impaired people.
    Some voters might buy it.

  2. He’s just trolling now. And I thought maybe he’d turned a corner after his visit to the Netherlands.

  3. Mike McKillen June 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Luckily we turn fools like this over on an annual basis!

  4. New mayor due in a couple of weeks.

  5. New mayor maybe but Carr will remain a councillor. The mayor has no real additional power, he is just the councillor selected to do ribbon cutting and give speeches. He will have just as much ability to sabotage cycling in the city in a few weeks, we just won’t be as aware of it.

    In fact I think Carr being mayor has done us a favour in one way. His attitude is so crazy that he may be making regular people think outside the “cyclists are all selfish, lycra clad scofflaws” box that the media has encouraged them in to. Certainly it seems that his (and the whole council’s) antics have pushed the cycling groups and the NCBI in to an alliance.

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