Apathy in pushing cycling ahead and the use of substandard infrastructure are the main reasons listed for why Dublin has dropped to 15th on the Copenhagenize Index of cycling friendly cities.
Dublin started at 9th on the 2011 version of the index — partly due to large growth in commuter cycling and bonus points for ambitious projects which were planned, but few of which have yet to progress to construction. The decline for Dublin started in 2013 when the city dropped to 11th on the index.
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We dubbed Dublin the Great Bike Hope in 2013, but city slipped into apathy #bikeindex
— M. Colville-Andersen (@copenhagenize) June 2, 2015
The authors of the index praised the National Transport Authority (NTA) for “putting their back into it” but added that “the City of Dublin hasn’t been lifting their share.” The authors have been previously employed by the NTA, but they have publicly critical of projects when things go wrong.
Mikael Colville-Andersen, the CEO of Copenhagenize Design Company who are behind the index, previously criticised the plans for the Dodder Greenway for including shared use sections, where cycling and walking is mixed. Today, the index criticised Dublin City Council for choosing “sub-standard infrastructure” on the planned Liffey Cycle Route — a possible reference to use of sections of shared use footpaths on options for that route.
The Copenhagenize Index section on Dublin said: “Choosing sub-standard infrastructure along the Quays is not exactly the way to go if you’re trying to develop a cohesive network for the next 100 years. The bike share rocks, but now a your network and bicycle strategy should be developed and followed to the letter. You’ve come so far but you’re not there yet.”
The criteria includes looking at 13 areas including: bicycle culture, bicycle infrastructure, use of bike share, gender split, modal share for bicycles (the percentage of people who cycle rather than use other modes of transport), the modal share increase since 2006, perception of safety, and social acceptance.
After previous coverage of the index, some readers on this site and other questioned how Dublin even made it onto the list. The same apparently has happened in other cities. The criteria / Q&A page of the index today addresses that question, in Q&A format it asks: “WTF! I live in XXXX city and there’s no way it’s bike-friendly!” and answers that question: “Okay. Thanks for sharing. Applying a sober ranking system eliminates the personal perception that is often fueled by emotions that run high. If we did a ranking based on the perceptions of individuals, it wouldn’t be very credible. Also, nobody says you have to agree with us.”
Ranking Dublin, the index said: “Dublin has been a darling on the Copenhagenize Index since 2011 and the city has been inspirational for the rest of the world in its efforts to increase cycling levels. Once the third great cycling city in Europe after Amsterdam and Copenhagen, Dublin has the historical background for bringing the bicycles back. Dublin seems to be suffering from the same malady as other cities that have made impressive progress. They have seemingly slipped into apathy – and a few places down the Index.”
It added: “What Dublin has achieved over the past few years is fantastic. The perfect cocktail of politicians who get it, investment in infrastructure and facilities, traffic calming measures and an epic bike share system accelerated the city’s journey to urban modernisation. You can’t take that away from Dublin, but you could wish for another period of concerted effort.”