Cycling in Cork: A view from the saddle

John Grace, who cycles in Cork, emailed us to highlight some of the problems he often encounters. He writes:

Over the past year or so I’ve collected a series of incidents in cork city on my bike mounted iPhone that highlight three major issues for cyclists. I’ve compiled a four minute YouTube clip which demonstrates these problems.

  • Many drivers disregard cyclists even when they’re looking straight at them (incident 2, 3, 4)

  • Most drivers ignore cycle lanes and don’t understand the law regarding them and right of way (5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

  • There are drivers out there that despise all cyclist for no reason (last clip). Note: In this clip I had met this motorcyclist at a junction about 100m before the garage. I recognised him as a guy who gave me abuse for no reason on at least a dozen occasions over the last 3 years. I told him I was going to report him and he told me to pull into the garage.


  1. No doubt if you do report him he will just deny everything you say. Hold on to your film it will be important as proof.He thinks he is entitled to use the road and Cyclists are not. You should have showed his face ,make a show of him.

  2. He needs to *not* try to overtake on the left when a vehicle is moving and indicating that it is going to turn left. Much safer (and quicker) to slow down, let it turn left and then go straight ahead.

    The “logic” of the motorcyclist is bizarre.

  3. What a tool of a motorcyclist. And plenty of moronic driving too.

    The OP has some lessons to learn himself though. The examples in the video of him going up the inside of buses are scary, not to mention illegally undertaking the car at 2:00.

    (SI 332/2012: A pedal cyclist may overtake on the left where vehicles to the pedal cyclist’s right are stationary or are moving more slowly than the overtaking pedal cycle, except where the vehicle to be overtaken… has signalled an intention to turn to the left and there is a reasonable expectation that the vehicle in which the driver has signalled an intention to turn to the left will execute a movement to the left before the cycle overtakes the vehicle,)

  4. I cycle about 150km a week and looking at that video just annoys me. I stopped watching at 1:30mins when he goes up on the inside of a bus when the traffic light is green, is he insane?

    Previous to that his awareness is either brutal or he is making a point of being another over aggressive cyclist on the road.

    The car pulling out from the side road with the highviz sticker on the back shouldnt have pulled out, but the cyclist had plenty of time to slow down and not try and overtake a car on a main road with the possibility of oncoming traffic.

    55 seconds in no attempt to slow down was made.

    This guy gives cyclists a bad name.

  5. A number of those moves were insane: sending it up the inside of the bus moving off and up the inside of the car signalling left and about to make its turn especially so.

    The opinion of the motorcyclist was bizarre, parochial, and clearly odd; hope that’s not the norm!

    The other situations I think represent normal everyday occurrences for cycle commuters.

    I think the cycle infrastructure is largely to blame where it is tacked on as an afterthought rather than integrated: a strip of red paint does not a carefully thought out cycle facility make. It just compresses the other traffic into a narrower space forcing overspill rather than aiding separation.

  6. The inconvenienced cyclist is not always right (as demonstrated in this video, and voiced in the comments), nor is he/she always the best champion for the very real issues experienced by many. Yes, in an ideal world we (cyclists) would cruise through the city, unhindered by drivers or other wayward cyclists, but the reality is we all need to work together and recognise when members of our own fraternity (other cyclists) are becoming part of the problem. As vulnerable road users, we do require improved facilities and respect (also demonstrated in this video), but that does not give us the right to ride our bikes into dangerous and avoidable situations just because our rights have been infringed.

    I doubt very much that videos like this will rally support from non-cyclists, who perceive the crusading urban cyclist as arrogant and aggressive. Our cycling groups/campaigns need to consider this.

  7. I’d like to clear up a few things here. Firstly the music and sound effects along with the shaky camera and its position on the from of the bike give the impression I’m travelling faster than I actually am.
    I wear a single earphone and mic so it picks up my every utterance . Not everything I say can be heard by those around me nor do I expect them to.
    Brian you misinterpret my grievance with he incident of the car pulling out from left with high vis sticker. It’s not so much that he pulls out as he did, he continued to travel at an impedingly slow speed. There was NO oncoming traffic I passed him safely and never saw him again. I fail to see what else I could do.
    Buffaloblah , coming up to the cross a cycle lane developed that continues right THROUGH the junction and is part of a 1km section of cycle path. Passing a vehicle on the inside while on a cycle lane is NOT overtaking. The bus I pass at the green light is stationary and parked on the cycle lane and has failed to see the change of light 20 second earlier. It may appear dangerous but busses NEVER turn left at this junction as they are citybound. I’m aware of any danger and at any time I can just pull the bike up on the footpath.
    @2:00 if you look closely all traffic is stationary as I travel along the cycle lane until the blue car indicating comes into view. I have absolute right of way as the cycle lane is marked through the junction but I do not just assume he will see me. I immediately adjust my speed and successfully stop before the I enter the junction. It’s my vigilance protected me not the actions of the car as he had already crossed my path. While I appreciate his view was initialy obscured by the van the onus is on him to make sure the cycle lane is clear and continue lookin out for me. If I was a bus in a bus lane he wouldn’t have crossed it blindly.
    My own personal stance is that there should be no cycle lanes , that way we’d all know where we stand. The money would be better spent promoting the EQUAL status of bikes .Segregating traffic is just getting us all aggitated with one another.

  8. “Passing a vehicle on the inside while on a cycle lane is NOT overtaking.”

    It is overtaking on the left no matter where you are. The illegality of the manoeuvre is not changed by the fact that you are in a cycle lane/track. I’ve even quoted the law for you, you can find it in its original form here:

    “(b) A pedal cyclist may overtake on the left where vehicles to the pedal cyclist’s right are stationary or are moving more slowly than the overtaking pedal cycle, except where the vehicle to be overtaken—

    (i) has signalled an intention to turn to the left and there is a reasonable expectation that the vehicle in which the driver has signalled an intention to turn to the left will execute a movement to the left before the cycle overtakes the vehicle,”

    The driver was clearly indicating left (signalled an intention to turn left), and had a clear path – therefore you should have reasonably expected the driver to execute their movement before you had overtaken. Illegal and dangerous, cycle lane or not.

  9. “Illegal and dangerous”. Take a look at the video again. I never actually overtook him. I didn’t even enter the junction before he turned . I stopped on time and remained in control. You can see the stop line in from of me so I’ve done nothing illegal or dangerous by any interpretation.
    But that doesn’t matter I’m afraid I’ll have to correct you again. This part of the law you are quoting is in respect to filtering through the traffic on a normal road where all traffic shares the same lane.
    I am in a dedicated cycle lane . The RSA hand book page 191 states –
    Some cycle tracks are bordered by a continuous white line on the right-hand side. These are only for bicycles and motorised wheelchairs, so no other drivers may use them or park in them.
    Other cycle tracks have a broken white line on the right-hand side. Other drivers may make temporary use of this type of track if it is not occupied.
    In this case the cycle lane is occupied by me. It is actually illegal to cross any white line broken or unbroken without making sure that it is safe to do so.
    A cyclist in a cycle lane is entitled to the same rights as a bus in a bus lane. By your rationale you can cut across in front of a bus just because your indicator is on.
    If a bicycle doesn’t have Right Of Way in a cycle lane then why have one at all. I’ve checked this with a Garda and a driving instructor

  10. Cyclists do not have automatic right of way on cycle tracks – this is where John’s problem lies. This is because a cycle track is not defined as a traffic lane in Irish law. All road users have a duty of care to one another even when they have right of way. John’s behavior is what gives us cyclists a bad name (even though it is wrong to tarnish an entire group because of one bad user). The road is a shared space. The fact that John clearly made a dangerous and an illegal attempt to overtake a car that was indicating to turn left and which had already started turning highlights the mistakes other road users make and why it is important to never assume right of way and always expect someone to make a mistake which luckily this car driver did. It is correct that cycle lanes are dangerous and should not exist but the fact is that John, like most commuting cyclists, know this already which makes these dangerous “right of way” maneuvers all the most crazy.

    • @JustAnotherCyclist

      I’d love to see where it says that cycle tracks are not a lane, no more so than bus lanes are lanes.

      Cycle tracks and cycle track lines follow the regulations regarding what lanes are close than bus lanes do. The differences with both cycle lanes and bus lanes are only to make them clearer.

      As for right of way: Irish law does not phrase the question that way. Irish law asks: “Who should yield right of way?” And in some if not most cases both parties can be at least partly at fault.

      Cycle lanes and bus lanes are clearly designed and intended by the legislator to partly allow their users to undertake, so there has always been the expectation that any users of any lanes to the right should when turning left yield to any lanes to the left (regardless of whether these lanes are general traffic lanes or cycle lanes or bus lanes).

      This is fairly basic internationally expected stuff, and Ireland goes by a system of common law so you reading or misreading of Irish legislation won’t fly.

  11. Justaothercyclist- are you watching the same video. I pass stationary traffic on the inside I enter a cycle traffic is still stationary until I pass the white van where a blue van just comes into view has just started moving and has indicated to turn left . I immediately adjust my speed eventually stopping Before the junction.( you can see the end of the footpath to my left and the stop line in front of me. I do not overtake punto . I have not assumed he’s seen me and taken precaution to protect myself and I’m the bad guy.
    The punto on the other hand HAS assumed right of way, failed to observe the traffic to his left and only stopped after he passed the point of potential impact and he gets a clap on the back.
    He would fail any driving test on that incident.
    3 cars parked in a cycle lane
    4 cars stopped in a cycle lane
    4 busses stopped in a cycle lane
    4 cars cut across me
    1 car drives the wrong way towards me
    1 car reversing up the cycle lane
    1 motorcyclist who admits multiple incidents of road rage
    That’s 18 offences
    And the best you can pull from this is I give cyclists a bad name

    Cian- finally a bit off common sense

  12. @John, I said you attempted to overtake the car dangerously. Please do not try to twist what I said. You know that junction so there is no excuse for not knowing that a vehicle may be turning left and as a result, your speed should have reflected this. You openly admit the car driver’s view was obstructed which re-enforces how wrong your behaviour was. The point is your cycling is dangerous. If a driver drove in the same manner you cycle, they would fail their driving test for failing to react appropriately to obstructions on the road and for general dangerous driving.

    I agree that it would be better to have no cycle lane at all but you know these danger spots so there is no excuse for you to get into these situations. You are an aggressive road user who gives nothing e.g. when the car with the reflective markings pulled out from the left you overtook it rather than slowing down behind it like normal traffic would do. You had no idea at what speed that car was going to take off at once it was on the main road and it hadn’t exactly pulled out in front of you.

    At around the 50 second mark when the car was trying to turn in to park you make a point to keep going because technically the car was supposed to yield to you. If I was a cyclist or a driver in that situation I would let the car go since the road is a shared space and others let me go at different times – it’s “give and get” in a shared environment. There was plenty of time to slow down but you chose to go down the route of not giving an inch. This goes on and on throughout the video.
    I am not saying your technically wrong in every instance – I am saying you don’t give an inch – this is a dangerous strategy to take on a shared environment and it is frankly looking for trouble. There are so many variables for why someone might do something stupid on the road – be it a vehicle driver, cyclist or pedestrian. A good road user does not take unnecessary risks which you appear to be doing time and time again.

    John, you have made mistakes on the road like every other road user. You need to learn to calm down and give people space – try it as you might find yourself less stressed out on the road. If every person only made one mistake in Cork city each year, that would still equate to thousands of mistakes a year so be prepared to expect to encounter them.

  13. @Cian, I think it might be more appropriate for you to show me where it does say a cycle track is a lane as the legislation from what I can see never calls it anything other than a “cycle track”.

    As a cycle track is “part of a road, including part of a footway or part of a roadway, which is provided primarily for the use of pedal cycles”. Cycle tracks should not exist by right as they only encourage behaviour like that displayed by John Grace where they think they always have right of way leading to very dangerous situations.

  14. @JustAnotherCyclist They are NOT general traffic lanes, just like bus lanes are not. Cycle tracks are just the legal name for both cycle lanes and segregated cycle paths.

    Your wish to wish them away isn’t going to happen. Cycle lane and paths are here to stay.

  15. While it would be better that they be done away with or setup properly, I never indicated that I thought they would be done away with. People like John, and a large number of cyclists I see on my commute daily, perform dangerous maneuvers under the illusion that they have automatic right of way through junctions and elsewhere. An education campaign is needed to counter this misinformation of them having an this automatic right of way when on a cycle path. I’m not sure what your visitor numbers are on this website but it could be a good thing to add to the website if not already there.

    A bus lane is referred to as a “lane” in the Road Traffic Acts, a cycle “lane” is never referred to as a lane but always as a “Cycle Track”. This is the difference in law and is clarified by the previous minister for transport here:

  16. @Cian, I forgot to include, good job on the website. It has some great informative information for commuting cyclists.

  17. Re that parliamentary reply, I posted the following on

    The Department are clearly correct when they say that Regulation 8 of S.I. No. 182 of 1997, which deals with Yielding Right of way, and refers to lanes does not apply to cycle lanes.

    This is what the section says: “(8) A driver shall not drive from one traffic lane to another without yielding the right of way to traffic in that other lane.”

    A motorist should not be driving in a cycle track so it can’t legally “drive from one traffic lane to another ” in regards to a cycle track. It’s an impossibility for that regulation to apply to cycle tracks. Even in the case of dashed cycle lanes, motorists are only supposed to be crossing these for short sections, not driving in them.

    And crossing over a lane/track/path etc is a different thing. Anybody who suggested that section applies is in the wrong, not the department.

    Section 8 clearly is designed to deal with general traffic lane changes.

  18. @Cian, I read that alright. The problem is that not all cycle tracks canot be driven on by cars – some can, some can’t. That is partly why they are not a separate traffic lane but that is very different to bus lanes which are restricted traffic lanes. This is what the ministers is referring to i.e. that cycle “lanes” are not lanes under law and as a result certain laws do not apply to them. If you look at S8 of the act you can see that most of the subsections can refer to cyclists except those that refer to lanes. The one(s) that refer to lanes also includes bus lanes.

  19. You’re mixing up being allowed to be driven over/on and being allow to be driven in. Cycle lanes are not a type of lane that motorists can switch from lane to lane — that’s what section 8 of the above mentioned regulations deal with: Lane changing and that’s all.

    In any case, mandatory cycle lanes should make up 90%+ of cycle lanes, the widespread use of dashed cycle lanes was a very large compromise, a use which they were never really intended for. It’s not just me saying this, the NTA GDA Cycle Network Plan points to the widespread wrong use of dashed markings.

    Just as with cycle lanes/tracks, bus lanes are not traffic lanes as defined in the regulations — bus lane markings do not meet the definition of lanes (while mandatory cycle track marks do).

    As for your comment about an “automatic right of way” — Irish law does not look at the issue of right of way in this way, it asks: Who should yield right of way.

    The Irish and international norm is that one flow of traffic (of any type, be it cars, bicycles, buses or people walking) crossing over another flow yields — and that’s what most people rightly expect. But both parties should be thinking along the lines of “should I yield?” — both legally and morally.

  20. @justanothercyclist.

    Yes I acknowledge the pintos view is obstructed by the van but it’s not good enough he continues his manouvre blindly. He should continually checking the lane he is crossing. Would he blindly cross a bus lane in the same way?
    Funny how you can’t acknowledge that my view is also obstructed of him and that when I see him I adjust speed immediately and stop on time in full control of my bike.
    I guess you just see what suits your argument.

    The car with the high vis pulls out as I come closer I initially move out just to keep my momentum ( as there is no other traffic it is perfectly safe) with the intention of retreating back in when he gets up to speed. This is a perfectly safe manouvre which many cyclists do. This car continues at the slow pace he entered the lane at so I overtake him altogether. No big deal but I guarantee you if he did this to another car he be blown out of it.

    The car at 0:46 indicates to cross the road with a slight turn to the right and comes to a stop. He’s stopped so I keep cycling. 0:48 he gestures forward a foot or so and stops again. I’m thinking ok he’s hesitant but he’s definately seen me and he’s definitely stopped now so no need to worry. Just as I’m about to pass a big jerk forward. Are you seriously saying I’m unjustified in my expectation that he has acknowledged my presence and is finally stopped.

  21. @Cian, what makes you think bus lanes are not traffic lanes? What markings are they missing? If they are not traffic lanes then how can they be used by potentially all vehicles?

    Lane changing is only one part of section 8 of that road traffic act. The minister makes it clear that cycle tracks are not lanes and are purposely described as tracks – unless you can show me where in law cycle tracks are called lanes?

    When talking about automatic right of way I am referring to the thinking of cyclists such as John Grace in this instance who think they have right of way at all times in a cycle lane.

    The law in other lands when it comes to road usage does not apply in Ireland so just because in Denmark and other countries cars must yield right of way to cyclists in cycle lanes has nothing to do with Ireland.

  22. @John: Do you drive? How do you expect the car to see a cyclist approaching at the speed you are cycling at while also looking around them for pedestrians and other vehicles? My point to you is that you have a duty of care under law to take reasonable care to avoid injuring yourself and others. You are not doing that by proceeding fast through junctions where you know there is not clear visibility and where you know it is dangerous.

    The point about your view being obstructed is exactly my point. You could not see that it was safe to proceed at that speed but yet you did. You should not have cycled right up beside the car as the car cannot judge your intentions then. From the video it is clear your intention was to pass on the left hand side. How about looking at it from other drivers’ points of view. Have you driven around Cork or Dublin and encountered cyclists like you?

    The driver at around the 50 second mark stops because he/she is afraid you would not stop – good thing he/she did since you are the type not to stop because you have “right of way!!”. A good road user of a shared road would indicate to the car to continue to finish the maneuver and continue on their journey because that’s what courteous users do.

    I understand at this stage that you will never see those situations from other road users’ points of view. Best of luck to you – I hope if you get injured being “technically right” will make up for it.

  23. What makes me think bus lanes are not traffic lanes? Because they are not defined as general traffic lanes in the regulations — just like cycle lanes they are a separate type of lanes/tracks/whatever. Both cycle tracks and bus lanes are different to general traffic lanes. You’ll find the definition of a general traffic lane in the regulations.

    I’ve already said that cycle tracks are not normal traffic lanes.

    Nobody has a right of way all the time in a cycle lane, but it should be expected that others yield right of way when they are entering a cycle lane/track to cross over it. Just the same as a bus lane.

    “The law in other lands when it comes to road usage does not apply in Ireland” — this is not 100% true. Ireland has a common law system and our system partly takes into account of case law and learnings of other common law countries. When to expect one to yield the right of way is all down to exceptions and norms, unless otherwise clearly defined by law or legally-binding signs. Nobody mentioned Denmark.

    As for the speed of John cycling in the video: It’s worth saying that it’s very hard to gauge speed and distance and more so because of the wobble distortion and the limited field of vision of the camera in question, but in most cases he seems to be traveling relatively slowly.

    I think he should have held back with the blue car. But at the same time, he was also within sight of the car’s mirrors for the length of 2-3 cars. If you want to talk about the legal position, there’s a duty of care on all parties and not doing mirror checks while turning across a cycle path would be a failure on that.

    Going inside the bus in any case, but more so when there’s a green light and a bus stop ahead, is the main one I would recommend never doing.

    When traffic is flowing or starting to flow, I would overall agree with what Damien Carberysaid in his comment above: “He needs to *not* try to overtake on the left when a vehicle is moving and indicating that it is going to turn left. Much safer (and quicker) to slow down, let it turn left and then go straight ahead.”

  24. “The driver at around the 50 second mark stops because he/she is afraid you would not stop – good thing he/she did since you are the type not to stop because you have “right of way!!”. A good road user of a shared road would indicate to the car to continue to finish the maneuver and continue on their journey because that’s what courteous users do”

    So let me get this, you can now read the drivers mind from a video and we should all be with the BAU. Your really stretching it to win this argument. He’s afraid of a 20lb bike bearing down on him at 15mph. Most sane people would say the driver stops because their duty bound by the rules of the road and their most basic training. Most courtesy, one would expect, would be shown to the cyclist as its far more inconvenience to a cyclist to stop and the grind his way back up to speed that it is for a car to wait maybe 8 seconds. I don’t know about you but when I drive that’s how I think.

    Cian, I accept your point about the bus. On the face of it it looks dangerous. However one fact the video does not display is the riders experience at this junction. I am aware that buses never turn left at this junction as they are city bound. They may veer to the left after the junction to pulling at the stop.As the bus has failed to move on a green light I make the decision to go down the inside slowly with one foot on the kerb in the knowledge that if the bus starts to move and squeeze further in I can just lift onto the footpath. Any movement from the bus is going to be slow and it can’t just jump left on top of me.

    I appreciate the acknowledgement of my speed. At 47 I could only wish to be as fast as some are saying I am. There can’t be more than ten yards between when I break and when I stop before the punto.


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