— I Bike Dublin group sees their actions as complimentary to low–level Garda enforcement.
Gardai have defended the attendance of four officers at a protest which campaigners highlight the lack of policing of illegal parking on cycle lanes.
The I Bike Dublin group said they have staged 40 protests without obstructing general traffic while blocking illegal parking and loading from obstructing cycle lanes.
In one case, in Sandyford, officers stopped and aided in keeping the cycle lane clear.
But campaigners said that the Garda attendance on the Rathmines Road on Thursday, April 19, was “unnecessary and rather perplexing”.
According to daily counts by campaigners the cycle lanes in Rathmines are usually blocked by a number of cars or vans. On the day of the protest in Rathmines, passerby, Hanah Vickers, said on Twitter: “Cycling home from work only to come upon I Bike protecting the cycle lane in Rathmines. It is usually entirely blocked by cars. #FreeTheCycleLanes.”
Images shared on social media by members of the public show how Gardai who attended blocked the cycle lane for some time, forcing members of the public into traffic, before parking their patrol car in a laneway.
It is understood that the Gardai in attendance at first were going to ask protests to leave before phoning for advice and then telling the protesters that they are not protected for liability in the same way a Gardai on traffic duty would be.
Sargent Jim Molloy of Garda press office said: “The safety of all road users, whether they be drivers, passengers, cyclists or pedestrians is of paramount importance to An Garda Síochána. This is reflected through daily road traffic enforcement by all patrolling Gardaí. The monitoring of cycle lanes comes within the ambit of our road traffic enforcement strategy.”
He added: “It was a motorist who reported to Gardaí the fact that the protest was taking place on the Lower Rathmines Road and who felt that the protesters were obstructing traffic.”
“Gardaí are duty bound to acknowledge and respond to concerns raised by members of the public and it was in this context that the Gardaí attended the scene,” said Sargent Molloy.
I Bike Dublin however said that the Garda attendance contrasts with a low-level of Gardai action on illegal parking in cycle lanes.
Stephen McManus, a spokesman for the group, said: “I Bike Dublin not only finds that there isn’t sufficient enforcement of illegal parking or loading operations in cycling lanes, but also believes that these enforcement activities are very low in the priorities for An Garda Síochána.”
He added: “The use of four officers was unnecessary and rather perplexing. In about 40 previous actions we never encountered such a situation. We had gardai supporting us on one occasion. In others they approached us, we talked and they left once they realised that we were not causing any obstruction.”
IMAGE: By and thanks to Louise Williams.