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Irish Cycle Facility of the Week

October 6, 2014

Cycle path Swords example

We usually avoid using Google Maps for images, but in this case the example is worth capturing.

If this junction in Swords was not designed as pictured, how on earth did was it allowed to develop into that monster that is above? If you look at the four corners of the junction on Street View you’ll see that all four corners are a poor translation of Dutch junction design, the one above clearly being the most messed up.

There’s so much going on, it’s worth listing all that’s wrong with it:

  • The footpaths and cycle paths are too narrow
  • Cycle path users are told to yield to a drive way (top right hand corner)
  • The kerb line is not flush between the roadway and the paths — making it harder or at least less comfortable for bicycles, prams and wheelchairs
  • Rather than having the paths set back from the roadway for polls and posts, these are placed on the cycle path
  • Added to the above , somebody thought it was worth painting lines around these polls and leaving less than 0.5 gaps and went to the trouble of making a distinction between solid white lines and broken white lines
  • For example, according to a reading of the markings, somebody on a bicycle coming onto that path from crossing point at the left of the image, should stay between the two lines (beside the red tactical paving slabs) and make another sharp turn, following the yellow line here, watching your handlebars near the polls

It’s messed up on so many levels.

yellow line

Irish councils and transport bodies seems to have given up on this type of design — they seem to have compromised by opting for a shared use surface at junctions. But why can’t we get the Dutch design right? Here’s some examples how this kind of thing should be done, as its done in the Netherlands:



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Image: Google Maps
Cross road of Forest Rd and Rathingle Rd in Swords
Local body/authority: Fingal County Council
Street View: Currently shows as pictured

Send suggestions to And make sure to view the original and UK-focused facility of the month page on Warrington Cycle Campaign’s website. is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty


  1. Excellent constructive criticism. The layout is so close and yet so very, very far from Dutch junction design. Obviously we have slightly different road traffic laws and lower budgets, but as it stands, the compromises always come at the expense of vulnerable road users. If it isn’t nonsense like that pictured above, its lousy shared space arrangements. Meanwhile expensive free-flow traffic arrangements are constructed for private motor transport.

    What is the aversion to copying these designs properly from the Dutch down to the crucial details?

  2. The National Cycle Manual (NCM) seems to ignore how to treat off road cycle infrastructure through a junction. There doesn’t appear to be any layout of what should be done here. The manual favours bringing cyclists on road though a junction but Local Authorities appear hesitant to do this. Does the NCM need an overhaul a couple of years after being published?


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