A Fine Gael councillor who recently complained of people cycling past red lights hit the ‘block’ button on Twitter when the Cork Cycling Campaign asked him to help tackle illegal parking.
As an example of illegal parking on cycle lanes in Cork, the campaign said that there’s chronic illegal parking on the 24hr cycle lane on Alfred Street outside the Cork’s Kent train station.
Conn Donovan, a spokesman for the Cork Cycling Campaign, said: “The Campaign reached out to Cllr Joe Kavanagh on social media as he seemed to take a genuine interest in tackling road safety issues in 2018. We asked him on two occasions [on Twitter] to look into illegal parking in bike lanes near Kent Station.”
There were two tweets sent by the Cork Cycling Campaign before Cllr Joe Kavanagh blocked them. The first tweet was:
Hey @Joekavanaghcork! Remember you brought up people cycling thru red lights at a Community Safety Forum last Jan?
Presume you’ll be willing to raise this issue in your neck of the woods then too?
— CorkCyclingCampaign (@CorkCyclingCrew) December 10, 2018
And the follow up tweet was:
Last month we reached out to Cllr Kavanagh to ask if he might help #freethecyclelanes around the train station in his ward.
No reply on zee social media.
— CorkCyclingCampaign (@CorkCyclingCrew) December 28, 2018
Donovan said: “Cllr Kavanagh blocked us a day after the second time we asked. It seems really unfair to raise one aspect of road safety and pursue it with vigour but ignore another and refuse to engage with people who cycle.”
He added: “There is a feeling on social media now that Cllr Kavanagh is anti-cycling which is strange as its government policy to encourage more people to cycle. Clear cycle lanes helps protect cyclists and encourages people to make the shift from cars to active transport.”
Cllr Joe Kavanagh said: “I have no idea what these people are talking about to be honest. I have never supported ‘motorists parking in cycle lanes’ or parking in any illegal fashion anywhere or at any time. In fact, I currently have a number of proposals before Cork City Council requesting that car parking in a number of specific areas be restricted in the interest of public safety in residential areas and in an area close to a number of schools. I have never supported cars parked in cycle lanes or in any illegal fashion at any time.”
He did not respond directly to a question on why he blocked the Cork Cycling Campaign on Twitter.
He said: “The only specific reference I have made in relation to cyclists using our public roads would be my comments at a Community Policing Forum Some months ago where road safety was being discussed and I did make reference to a ‘limited number of cyclists’ who have been seen to break red lights at junctions, some don’t wear hi vis safety apparel, some don’t have lighting on their bicycles and unfortunately some have even been seen to cycle on footpaths to the risk of pedestrians.”
Cllr Kavanagh added: “We all know that this does happen and I was quite clear that this only represented a certain percentage of cyclists and of course I stated and fully accept that many cyclists do observe the rules of the road and do show due care and attention to all road users.”