This roundabout says a lot about how cycling is treated in Ireland

Outside Sligo town is a roundabout which mimics the issues with many Irish cycle routes — it could be anywhere in the country as the problems it highlights are common to other roundabouts and different types of junctions across Ireland, even very new ones.

The roundabout in question is on the Dublin Road at the Sligo Retail Park. The road as a national route is bypassed by the N4 dual carriageway.

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ALSO READ: If Ireland wants cycling friendly streets, we need Dutch-style roundabouts.

This is outbound: away from the town: Most of the cycling element of this design were cheaply placed on top of existing footpaths, as has happened in many Irish towns and cities.

The dividing of the footpath splits it in half.

Just to fill in the picture here: needless two-lane entry for motorists entering the roundabout which puts a slight bit of extra capacity over safety cycling put on footpath and no buffer space between people and vehicles.

The road on both sides of the roundabout narrows to a single lane.

Many cyclists don’t want to use the footpath and, so, the council feel they have to tell them to do so with a sign. Such shared paths were not covered by mandatory use.

As the footpath cycle lane turns in towards the business park we see two things:

  1. Anybody continuing along the main road and following the footpath is now at a really awkward angle to cross the road and effectively have to not only yield but stop.
  2. No cycle route into the business park or the housing estate behind it (this is the access road to the housing estate). Nobody living there will ever want to cycle and cyclists don’t go to Smyth’s Toys, McDonalds, computer shops etc.

This is the crossing — again needless two lanes but not enough space for a central refuge where you can feel safe walking or cycling.

This is the crossing again, with this image taken when looking back after crossing the road.

The footpath is again split but we’re not suggesting a totally shared footpath is the solution here — cycling and walking should have their own space.

If you’re cycling out of the business park and make the mistake of joining the shared footpath, you then have to deal with an uncontrolled crossing which isn’t clear to motorists.

Note also the cycle lane ends sign and the “cyclists rejoin main carriageway” signs. There’s three points about these: (1) the two signs  are both placed incorrectly here rather than up a bit where the shared path ends, (2) the cycle lane ends sign should be a shared path ends sign and should be followed by a cycle track (lane) starts sign, (3) the written sign should not exist, it’s a sign of design failure.

Here’s where the cycle route rejoins the carriageway — every time I’ve passed here before the day I was taken these photos, cars or trucks entered the cycle lane when rounding the corner.

The other side of the roundabout is a bit better for cycling but only because there no road linked to it — just don’t try to turn into the business park!

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  1. Yep, this is the ubiquitous situation all over Ireland. A total clusterfuck for people wanting to walk or cycle. The road layouts are completely hostile to anyone who isn’t in a car. Really really horrible to cycle on. Always checking your six to make sure you’re not going to be flattened by an idiot in a vehicle who couldn’t be bothered to slow down, as clearly their lives are far too important to not be going at 100kph and checking their phone at the same time.

    I used to race bikes when I was younger in the late 80s and early 90s. Many roads were still small and narrow, and most traffic was forced to slow down to manage all the twists and turns. Then we got a massive influx of EU infrastructure funding and massive amounts of road building and road widening went on all over the place. After all this road widening, all the places I used to cycle along quite happily (with the odd incident with a moron in a car) now became totally obnoxious places to go near on a bike.

    And I don’t know if it’s just my negative perception now, but the increased speeds that motorists seem to expect to go along these new ‘improved’ roads seems to have bleed over into their expectation of how fast they should drive on ALL roads. There now seems to be a mad panic-like state amongst many people in cars as they try to get from A to B in as short a time as is humanly possible with reckless care paid to other VRUs. :(


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