Planned section of Sutton to Sandycove cycleway has more needless mixing of cyclists and pedestrians

Cyclists and pedestrians kept apart at a road crossing on a greenway in Copenhagen.
Cyclists and pedestrians kept apart at a road crossing on a greenway in Copenhagen.

Recently we questioned Why are Irish councils obsessed with mixing cyclists and pedestrians? A prime example is the planned section of the Sutton to Sandycove cycleway between Clontarf and Dollymount, and Bull Island (details here, public consultation date passed).

This is a cycle route which is supposed to — at some stage in the future — stretch from one end of Dublin Bay to the other. But even in the short term it is set to go non-stop from Sutton to at least Fairview, or East Wall Road.

...I'm sorry to disrupt you while you're reading this article, but without messages like this,'s reader-funded journalism won't survive. With 676k views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" that this website reaches. But the number of subscribers is around 0.6% of readers. This large gap between readers/subscribers is standard for non-paywall reader-supported journalism, but IrishCycle's journalism needs more support. Don't delay, support monthly or yearly today. Now, back to the article...

It has a huge potential to offer commuters a high-quality off-road cycle route which is comfortable and gives cyclists half decent priority. But it looks as if we’re not getting that.

This first image below is the council’s and Roughan & O’Donovan‘s design for the planned junction between Clontarf Road and the wooden bridge to Bull Island. Year round, it would have a higher amount of pedestrians than the other entrance into Bull Island. But their design includes shared use which mixes cyclists with pedestrians with dogs and prams:

1 as planned with shared use

Is there no space for decent segregation as the Dutch and Danes have as standard? We think there is enough space. Here’s our rough design which seems to show that segregation of cyclists and pedestrians is possible in this space: Two-way cycleway is blue and all footpaths are grey:

1 without shared use

A little north up the bay is the junction with Dollymount Park. The proposed design includes having pedestrians, wheelchair users, the blind, and those with children in prams waiting at signalised pedestrian crossings on shared use in the middle of a two-way cycleway — which needlessly increases the chances for conflict between those people and anybody on a bicycle (see drawing PDFs for the key):

2 as planned with shared use

At least along this section, there’s another way. Full segregation. Unlike the older bits of the Sutton to Sandycove cycleway, designing it this way also allows for decent cycling access to the cycleway, and off the cycleway to side roads off the Clontarf Road. Here’s our second rough design, a smaller version of it could be used for bus stops along the same section:

2 without shared use

Further north again at Dollymount Avenue shared use footpath again interrupts the cycleway… but why is there no shared use interrupting the road? Why is there no zebra crossing? Or no marked pedestrian crossing of any type? The smooth hard surface of the cycleway is also interrupted by slabs with groves in them… but why no groves or speed ramps on the road?

In Amsterdam or Copenhagen, the footpath would most likely have priority over and would be kept level across the junction with a side road like Dollymount Avenue. But here, the side road gets priority, while the main route cycleway gets interrupted:


And, finally, the crossing at Bull Island’s Causeway Road… this is how it looks on Google Street View currently:crazy crossing street view

According to the drawings of what the council has planned, cyclists — who are essential cycling along the main road — are still going to have zero priority over a road into a beach.

The road will be marginality narrowed — but cyclists of all ages and abilities will still have to cross a cycle lane, two traffic lanes in one direction and a wide traffic lane in the other direction and all in one go without any centre island and apparently nothing on the road surface to highlight that it’s a crossing.

crazy crossing

They could have used a raised surface for the crossing (as is used by the flood defences, shown in orange in the drawing above) and even went as far as put yield signs down for those driving in and out of the beach. Or, keeping with the idea of no priority for cyclists on a main route, they could have included a centre island. But, instead, we get a wide road to cross and more conflict-creating shared use on both sides.


  1. Good article. Cycle lanes are built to keep bikes out of the way of cars. Planners don’t seem to have any understanding what it’s like to actually cycle. Maybe this will be some use:
    These end of bike lane/start of bike lane signs, for the convenience of The Yacht Club and the car park, really bother me:
    I will continue to use the road if I think I might be faced with a stupid mother leading her children in the bike lane, as is often the case in Clontarf.

  2. Looking at the plans, any cyclist is going to ignore the cycle lane and use the road. Madness. And will lead to councillors using this as a justification that cycle lanes do not deserve scant resources.

  3. Well I think cyclists will use it as the road opposite St Annes Park is so riddled with potholes and cars parked in the “bike lane” that one is forced to cycle out near the broken line in the middle of the road. Pedestrians will eventually learn to avoid cyclists, begrudgingly so, although it won’t stop them using the bike lane to jog (as I constantly face each day in the Phoenix Park).

  4. One has to wonder if cycling clubs didn’t use them for racing on if the council might have second thoughts? After all it wouldn’t be a bad idea to impose speed limits for cyclists by having them negotiate hazards rather than introducing legislation and speedometers for cyclists.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.