— Association’s comments follow Ryanair boss saying cyclists should be shot
— SFA chairman says “I don’t see any cyclists paying motor tax”
Dublin City Council’s planned segregated Liffey Cycle Route is already causing congestion the chairman for the Small Firms Association claimed on the Last Word on Today FM this evening. This might be a surprise to the city council, and anybody who tries to cycle on the route, as the project is still at pre-construction planning.
He made his comments in an item on the show covering the news that outspoken Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary told a conference today that “We should take the cyclists out and shoot them”. According to news reports in the Irish Independent and The Irish Times, it was part of O’Leary’s response to another speaker who covered some of Dublin’s plans to increase the number of people cycling in the city.
On the Last Word, AJ Noonan, chairman of the Small Firms Association and managing director of Rhonellen Developments said: “Of course there should be investment in cycle lanes, but not to the detriment for motorists or the determinant of commerce.”
When presenter Matt Cooper challenged him on why the country should not invest in cycle lanes, Noonan replied: “Because to create these cycle lanes other lanes will have to be shut down. Look at along the quays there [in Dublin], I think they lost a lane to cyclists, it has caused… when you’re coming up there it can be very challenging.”
The Small Firms Association chairman added: “Of course it’s great to cycle but I don’t see any cyclists paying motor tax, they don’t pay for petrol tax — motorists do that. All we’d be concerned about is that something would be done to the detriment of people who use cars.”
Cooper then interjected: “Cyclists may actually have cars as well and may pay motor tax… and they are citizens of this state who pay other taxes so aren’t they entitled to use road space and share the road space as much as any motorist?”
Noonan then agreed that cyclists may also own cars and pay tax, but he added: “I’m just making the point that it’s not to the detriment of one group or the other. I’m concerned, along with Mr O’Leary, that Dublin City Council seem to have an affection for cycling and cycle lane to the detriment of the ordinary motorist.”
He said O’Leary’s comments that cyclists should be “taken out and shot” were “very foolish”, but he said he was suggesting that it can’t be “all for the cyclist — there has to be an element for fair play for the ordinary motorist as well.”
Commenting at the time on Twitter, Cllr Paddy Smyth said, “If your guest is looking for a fair share of space on the roads, we have a long way to go before we have parity between cars and bikes.” And he asked: “Name one city in Europe that is reversing their decades long investment in cycle infrastructure?”
Small Firms Association claims to represent 8,000 businesses around Ireland. Its ‘national council’ members include senior representatives of Glenisk, National Recycling, CA Compliance, Aalto Bio Reagents, Wire Ropes, Bibby Financial Services Ireland, 3rd i IT and Business Services, Martin Services, Poplar Linens Trading, and Shellcove.
The comment on the Liffey Cycle Route today follows news last week that the most iconic section of the project could be at risk after what was described to us as “severe” lobbying.
It’s not the first time that somebody opposing the Liffey Cycle Route thought that the route was already built — last year, Sunday Independent columnist Emer O’Kelly wrote that the city manager had “defended the now-infamous introduction of double cycle lanes on the north quays, which reduce motor traffic to a single lane, causing traffic jams throughout the day, rather than just at rush hour, as formerly”.
MORE: Michael O’Leary’s View Of Cyclists: They Should Be Shot (Today FM)