— Mayor denies parking in active cycle lane despite pictures of cars using the road.
Cork’s lord mayor got in a war of words defending his mayoral car park parked on an active cycle lane on Wednesday, Halloween night ahead of an event on the street.
It contrasts to when the mayoral car of Dublin’s lord mayor Cllr Nial Ring was photographed in a cycle lane in August — Cllr Ring “put his hands up” and apologised on Twitter and then on national radio. But Cork’s lord mayor is adamant that there was nothing wrong with parking in the cycle lane at the time.
When challenged about it on Twitter justified it by stating that the Gardai said it was ok, that he was going to another event afterwards and he claimed that the road was closed at the time — which is disputed. He told a Cork cyclist that “You tell your story, I’ll tell mine” and, on what’s true or not, he said “You say it is, I say it’s not.”
To another user, Cllr Mick Finn said: “If you’re following the replies, you’ll know the road was closed – inc bike lane – for an event and we asked the Gardai.”
Gardai are known for their relaxed attitude to illegal parking in cycle lanes — it has let protests by I Bike Dublin and I Bike Cork and last month, Justice Peter Charleton, a Supreme Court judge, used the poor policing of cycle lanes as an example of lack of policing visibility and inaction.
Justice Charleton said: “Other examples include the extent to which cycle lanes, there to protect those cycling for economic, health and environmental motives, who are extraordinarily vulnerable, are simply ignored. Cars block cycle lanes, intrude on them and endanger cyclists. That happens repeatedly within a minute’s walk of garda stations. So, where are the gardaí? Again, this may be dismissed as a small example, but the consequences of serious injury, for even one person, is a tragedy.”
Cllr Finn said: “I am as annoyed by bad parking as a anyone else, something which – along with the thousands on the actual street and the many Gardai – should have informed the initial tweet.”
Twitter user Joanne O’Sullivan, who posted the images, said: “We stood on corner by cinema for 20 mins waiting for parade, held back from OPEN road by guards, all while your car was parked in bike lane. Then road closed, parade passed, road reopened and you head off. Funny that. Can you not park and walk like the rest of us?”
Cllr Finn said: “You tell your story, I’ll tell mine…I was going to another event out west of city after 10 mins which is why we asked to park there…We asked the Gardai hence my quoted text. This is fact of situation.”
Cllr Finn later posted an image of the road closed with crowds watching a Halloween parade, but, in reply, O’Sullivan said that the image was “after they closed the road.” She added: I’m not disputing that the road was closed. I’m saying you were parked in a mandatory cycle lane for 20 min before the road was closed. I witnessed cyclists having to go around your car.”
O’Sullivan said: “He is lying. We stood on pavement for 20min waiting for parade. The road was open, we were being kept back off road by gardai. All that time his car was parked in cycle lane. Then road was closed off for the parade. His car stayed there. Once parade ended, he was driven off.”
Cllr Finn said that the road was closed in one direction, where his car was parked. He said: “From east to west…road was closed on city side of North Main St, we were allowed through to get away wuickly…cars were stopped from Mercy side just before the parade started.”
O’Sullivan told IrishCycle.com that while the road was closed just before the parade, the car was parked there before the road was closed. She said she took the first photo when the road was still opened and she went back afterwards to get a clearer photo of the number plate.
.Lord Mayor’s car parked on a mandatory cycle lane, North Gate, Cork. Leading by example? #freethecyclelanes #happyhalloween @corkcitycouncil @CorkCyclingCrew @IBIKECork @Cyclistie @CorkCyclist pic.twitter.com/TAl53jtl6H
— Dr J 🚴🏞📚💪 (@JoanneOSulliva6) October 31, 2018