COMMENT & ANALYSIS: A recurring question that’s asked is: What kind of gate allows bicycles while blocking motorbikes, like scramblers?
Unfortunately there is no barrier which can stop scramblers and allow bicycles used by people with disabilities, larger wheelchairs and mobility devices, parents carrying children on bicycles or larger prams, and people carrying panniers or large loads on bicycles.
It is cruel to block access to walking and cycle routes, greenways, and parks. Excluding people who have mobility issues or those trying to make the right choice in using a mode of transport which has less of an impact or just those trying to go for enjoyable cycle off-road.
(article continues below tweets with images)
While the work to light the cycleway in south park is happening could the kissing gates be removed. This is my mother's exercise route and the gate causes problems. She has to lift the back wheels to get through and it's a heavy bike @GalwayCityCo @OwenHanleyLives @CloHiggins pic.twitter.com/DFoYFpKfPz
— Richard Silke (@SilkeRichard) November 19, 2020
— David Sheedy (@o_sioda) September 25, 2020
What ever problem you might think the barriers solve, blocking legitimate users is a cruel solution.
The myth that there is an elusive barrier design out there that will fix all the issues is added cruelty, one which just prolongs getting to the conclusion that barriers need to be removed. The only scalable and accessible solution is bollards with 1.5 metre gaps between the bollards or any wall. Ideally 2 metres of a gap.
A UK group which helps people with disabilities get on bicycles, Wheels for Wellbeing, has just launched the latest edition of their ‘A Guide to Inclusive Cycling’ — you can read it here.
It should not be seen as acceptable to block legitimate users as a means to deal with a criminal issue. And Barriers often do not stop scramblers and cause other issues — one kissing gate on the Grand Canal Greenway was used to assault people and attempt to rob their bicycles.
Chicane barriers also are not able to block motorcycles and provide access to legitimate users. Where there is space for larger bicycles to get between the chicane barriers, with longer bicycles it can be hard or impossible to maneuver to the right angle or rough ground or other problems. Chicane barriers are also often problematic at junctions, still cause pinch points that provide for anti-social behavior, and should be seen for what they are — a result of a system which does not take walking and cycling seriously.
There needs to be a mindset change at national level, among TDs and officials, and at a local authority level, among both staff and councillors. The removal of barriers is just one of many reasons why you should ask your TD and councillors to sign up to CyclingForAll.ie.
To show the mindset of the designers of these routes, the barriers are even in place where the greenway meets an intersecting cycling and walking path — there’s no roadway here! (3/?) pic.twitter.com/y74pk7xPD5
— IrishCycle.com (@IrishCycle) March 26, 2020
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