Luas company comments on cycling “false” and “dismissive” says campaigners

Cycling campaigners in Dublin have criticised comments from the managing director of the company which operates the Luas tram system in as “false” and “dismissive”.

In advance of tomorrow’s opening of Luas Cross City, an extension of the current green line, The Irish Times reported that Peter Lunden-Welden, the managing director of Transdev, as claiming that the issues with cycling and the Luas Cross City project were “unique”.

“Well that’s just false & dismissive from Luas,” said the Dublin Cycling Campaign on twitter. “Spokes Lothian [the cycling campain for Edinburgh] campaigned for years in Edinburgh to highlight safety concerns with their trams. They were ignored and a cyclist was killed this year when she fell off & was hit by a tailgating minibus.”

They added: “Much of the tram/cycling problems in Dublin have been mirrored in Edinburgh, as can be seen on @SpokesLothian’s website. We just hope it doesn’t take a cyclist’s death before the National Transport Authority and Luas start listening to our concerns.

The campain quoted Spokes Lothian: “Most of the problems arise because the tramline layout was decided with a ‘one track’ approach in around 2008 i.e. deciding the tramline layout first and leaving until later the question of how cycling, walking, buses etc would be integrated” and asked does that “Sound familiar ?”.

UPDATED: A reader, named Micko, also points out: “It’s not just Edinburgh and Dublin. I’ve seen numerous articles about Manchester too”, pointing to a Manchester Evening News article with the headline “Metrolink must make tram routes safer for cyclists ‘before someone dies’, say campaigners”.

The Irish Times also reported that “In Amsterdam, he says, trams and bicycles normally use the same lanes ‘because they think that trams and bicycles are working together. They don’t want to have the bicycles together with the cars.'”

But it’s unclear what is the source of this claim — authorities in Amsterdam use a high level of segregation between bicycles and trams.

5 Comments

  1. I never experienced or witnessed problems with cyclists and trams when I lived in Rotterdam, both cycling and motorcycling, years ago. If you are a cyclist paying attention you will have no problem. Simply cross the rails positively and at an angle and don’t stare into the groove, remember you will go where you look!

  2. Not true, Kieran. In Dublin, you have buses and cars following you too closely along the tram tracks. I’m really terrified because I know if my tyre slips crossing a track, or if I’m pushed aside by someone walking out onto the street and my wheel is caught between the tracks, a bus is going to drive over me – the driver is too close to stop in time.

  3. Kieran, try cycling from Parnell Street onto Parnell Square West in traffic. It is virtually impossible to cross the rails “positively” due to the narrow space between the tracks and the traffic island and is anything but simple.This could have been avoided if the system designers had been required to take account of cyclists from the outset.

  4. I agree with that the others have said. In a lot of cases here you are inside or between the tracks and then you need to merge back in to traffic because the road curves or narrows or there is an divergence of some sort. In my experience this is the worst around College Green.

    When you are trying to slip in to the space between the car in front and the car behind it is hard to make a ‘positive’ crossing of the rails without making a move that would be better described as ‘swerving in front of a car’. I’ve been caught a couple of times I very heavy traffic where the tram tracks I’ve been following start to curve and I have to make a quick decision whether to cross them at a shallow angle or not. Taking a sharp turn across the tracks is not an option because of the cars. Following the tracks isn’t an option because they are turning in to a Luas only section. Stopping dead and either walking or waiting for a gap (could be a very long time) isn’t ideal, especially if there are more cyclists behind you.

    I tend to avoid College Green because of the Luas tracks these days.

  5. Yes, there are so many instances where you end up crossing the tracks at an acute angle because of the merging of different lanes. It happens going from College St to College Green; and from Westmoreland St to the right turning lane on O’Connell Bridge. In both cases it means that you have to “take the lane” to be safe and this inevitably pisses off the impatient taxi driver behind you – if you get caught in the tracks the driver doesn’t have the braking distance to avoid hitting you when you’re down.

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