Dublin’s lord mayor, Cllr Brendan Carr, said he “is considering asking Dubliners to vote on whether people with disabilities should be allowed use cycle lanes in the city”, according to a statement issued via the Dublin City Council press office this morning.
The statement outlined how this would include people with “visual and mobility disabilities”. But according to the Road Traffic Acts, electric wheelchairs are already allowed to use cycle tracks of all types, so, the proposed measure is likely to mainly apply to people who have visual impairments when they are pedestrians.
Dublin City Council press release said: “The Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr has announced that he is considering asking Dubliners to vote on whether people with disabilities should be allowed use cycle lanes in the city. This is prompted by the increasing number of pavement obstacles that people with visual and mobility disabilities have to navigate in Dublin City on a daily basis.”
A quote attributed to Cllr Carr (Labour) said: “Currently, we are aware of the extent to which people with disabilities have to go to circumnavigate obstructions on the pavements. I think they would be better off using the cycle lanes and would like to ask what the people of Dublin think about this.”
We have attempted to email and phone the city council press office and Cllr Carr for clarification on the nature of the vote, as well as to confirm if the lord mayor is aware that electric wheelchairs and similar mobility aids are already allowed to use cycle tracks, and why the suggestion seem to contradict the position of the NCBI, the sight loss charity.
The NCBI policy looks for segregation between walking and cycling, and its representative on the city council’s transport committee has voiced opposition to shared paths and cycle paths which are not clearly defined.
We also asked Cllr Carr if he is aware that cycle lanes often stop and start, and are mixed with or dump people using them into heavy traffic.
Cllr Carr replied in a message before midday today and asked if he could contact us later. We asked when should we expect such a response, but have yet to hear back from the lord mayor. We’ll update this story if he responds.
The lord mayor is no stranger to controversy on cycling issues. Another councillor branded Cllr Carr’s comments implying that people on bicycles never cycled home with bags of shopping as “ridiculous and offence”, those comments also resulted in a surge in the use of the #shopbybike hashtag by Dublin residents on Twitter. He also claimed that “cyclists get everything they want” in a sub-standard solution for the Liffey Cycle Route.