— NTA confirms it agrees with the Department of Transport
Despite a clear position taken by the Department of Transport that cyclists must dismount and become pedestrians before using any zebra crossings, Limerick City and County Council has described the zebra crossings on a cycle route as “a shared surface for both pedestrians and cyclists” with no need for dismount signs.
On March 22 we published our original story on this issue — Zebra crossings increasingly used on cycle routes, but without warning cyclists must dismount — and last week we followed this up with the news of a plan to make the Walkinstown Roundabout cycling friendly which depends on zebra crossings where cyclists dismount by law.
In Limerick City, zebra crossings form part of the city’s Smarter Travel Route 3 at the Groody Roundabout on the R445, near the University of Limerick. The project was funded by the EU.
The roundabout (pictured above via Google Street View) is a large roundabout with three entry lanes at two of its four arms.
“There are four zebra crossings on the roundabout that allow for safe passage for both pedestrians and cyclists through the roundabout,” said Laura Ryan, communications officer at Limerick City and County Council.
She said: “The project was designed, by independent Engineering Consultants, in line with best practice and the National Cycle Manual. The Groody Roundabout is designed in line with the Fully Segregated Roundabout outlined on page 127 of the National Cycle Manual.”
“The zebra crossing in this instance is a shared surface for both pedestrians and cyclists. In the National Cycle Manual it also states ‘Cyclists are also bound to exercise due care and attention to other road users and themselves. Erratic, unpredictable or inconsiderate behaviour may cause accidents’.” Adding: “There is no requirement for cycle dismount signs.”
After our March 22 story was published, we again contacted Limerick City and County Council. We put the following to the council: “The Department of Transport are clear on this: Cyclists must dismount at zebra crossings. There’s no such thing as a shared zebra crossing in Irish law. The council’s response seems to be contradicting what the department has said: Could you please say what’s your source for this?”
The council’s reply was simply: “We take our guidance from the National Transport Authority so that’s the source.”
So, we asked the National Transport Authority (NTA) to clarify their position. Sara Morris, a spokeswoman for the authority, said: “There is no disagreement between the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the issue.”
Seven days ago we contacted the council again outlining the NTA’s position — the council have yet to respond.
In full, the NTA stated:
There is no disagreement between the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the issue.
The DTTAS response to you is as follows:
- The Department is aware of the designs included in the Cycle Manual published by the National Transport Authority.
With regard to the design included for zebra crossings at roundabouts nothing in the legislation has changed and cyclists are required to dismount before crossing at a zebra crossing.
Separately a number of changes to our legislation with regard to cycling are being considered as part of the mid-term review of the National Cycle Policy Framework.
These changes are being discussed internally by the Sustainable Transport Division and the Road Safety Division (who have primary responsibility for implementing change to the legislation) and with the National Transport Authority.
The NTA has included zebra crossings in the National Cycle Manual between areas that are shared between cyclists and pedestrians because:
(i) The zebra crossing function remains appropriate to the pedestrians
(ii) The legislation does not preclude cyclists from using the crossing in conjunction with pedestrians.
However, as the Department points out, as it stands, a cyclist needs to dismount in order to effect a formal request for traffic to stop, as this request is currently restricted to pedestrians.
As DTTAS has stated, the NTA has been in prior communication with the Department regarding various changes to legislation to facilitate improved provision for the cycling mode, and indeed, the review of the National Cycle Policy Framework itself.