— Mayor said people on bicycles shouldn’t hit cars that get too close to them.
— Claims there’s not enough space for segregated cycle lanes.
— “We used to all have a couple of pints and drive home,” said Cllr Ring.
Cars are needed in Dublin City centre so that shoppers can carry “26 inch plasma TVs” home with them, Lord Mayor, Nial Ring, has claimed.
Almost all city centre retailers offer home delivery for larger items and most won’t fit in cars, but the mayor said cars are vital for the city centre economy to carry bulk items.
In an interview with Newstalk Lunchtime he apologised for parking in a cycle lane on O’Connell Street to launch a tourist bus and said it adds to the argument for segregation or at least clearer cycle lanes, but later in the interview questioned if there was space for segregated cycle lanes.
In the interview on Newstalk he also said: “I’m normally in a car and sometimes if you’re too close, they’ll [people cycling] hit the car, that’s not on, and they go through red lights and that’s not on.”
Cllr Ring said motorists are protected in cars but that the issue is an “educational thing for both motorists and cyclists”.
He added: “I’d love to see cyclist stop wearing ear plugs, because if you beep at them they think you’re being aggressive but you might be trying to warn them”.
Cllr Ring said that it’s a relationship building exercise and said things are improving. He used the example of a school traffic warden who said he was able to engage with people on bicycles to behave better and communication between motorists and those on bicycles at junctions improves interaction.
But when presenter Ciara Kelly said that it was not an equal relationship and that motorists were not killed by cyclists, Cllr Ring said: “Looking at the FF idea of segregated cycle lanes, that’s a brilliant idea, however we have to remember Dublin has very narrow streets so you have to accommodate everything.”
When Kelly challenged him again on giving space over to cycling and that “motorists are punching way above their weight in terms of taking up road space”, he said the city centre economy needed car access.
Cllr Ring said: “They are also punching way above their weight in what they add to the economy because, as you know somebody in a car will spend five times the amount in city centre shops as a person on a bike” — this is contradicted by two surveys on retail habits in Dublin City centre, one for the National Transport Authority and a second independent research from the Dublin Institute of Technology.
The surveys show that spend per person is more equal and where more people cycle that is more so the case, and shoppers using sustainable modes far outweigh those in cars in total spend:
Cllr Ring said: You can’t come in a throw your 26 inch plasma TV into your front little basket on your bike, you need cars coming into the city.”
He said that “motorists have done their bit” because some of them have switched to sustainable transport and that “motorists are paying road tax, NCT, insurance etc and even if you look at the fines situation [for cyclists]”.
He said the fines for cyclists amounted to just two per day and that you could catch more at junctions. He agreed motorists shouldn’t text while driving and that “we’ve all been guilty of it”.
Cllr Ring said: “We used to all have a couple of pints and drive home, we don’t do it now.”
Cllr Ring has previously objected to three cycle routes and in one case said that the mental health of drivers should be accounted for. He also looked for motoring to be added to the City Development Plan as a form of sustainable transport.