Cycling group wants safer junction design for Swords bypass plan

— Consultation ends today at midnight.

— Campaigners say designs of junctions “unacceptable” and that Dutch-style junctions should be used.

Fingal County Council‘s plan to revamp the R132 Swords bypass, which itself was bypassed by the M1 motorway, has been welcomed by cycling campaigners.

Although campaigners are looking for improvements in the design, better segregation between the walking and cycling areas planned, care to be taken with minor junction design, and that bus stop bypasses to be used at bus stops.

The deadline for submissions is today December 18 at 11.59pm via the council’s website.

Writing a submission for Fingal Cycling, the Fingal branch of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, Alan Downey said: “The area of highest concern for all people who cycle is the point at which they are required to interact with motorised traffic. In order to enable people of all ages and abilities to cycle in safety, these conflicts must be designed out to the fullest extent possible. We see that on straight sections this is achieved with simple kerb and bollard solutions but at junctions it becomes more of a concern.”

IMAGE: What the council is proposing, which is a type of Dublin-style “protected” junction.

Downey said: “Our concern with junction design is how it designs in and forces conflict between cyclists and motorists and we have seen this in action at Lombard St in Dublin 2. In the proposed design motorists and cyclists proceed on the same green, save for the provision of a short ‘advanced green’ that benefits only the people cycling who arrive at the junction during a ‘red phase’.”

“For all other cyclists who are proceeding on green, they must contend with left turning traffic, drivers who are likely to be in slow moving columns and not expecting a cyclist to proceed on their left with right of way.
The small island at the junction can place the cyclist in the A-pillar or B-pillar blind spot of motorists leading to a dangerous situation of a driver turning left, physically unable to see the cyclists, not expecting them and believing they have right of way due to the green light phase,” said he said.

The group said that so-called “left hook” collisions and near-misses are a common experience of many people cycling in Dublin due to the dangerous design at junctions.

“This type of junction, through its appearance of safety, may draw an inexperienced or low confidence cyclist into a false sense of security,” said Downey.

Downey added: “Our proposals for addressing this are to adopt the learnings and practices, and not just visuals, of the Dutch style of design. There are other design options available such as cyclops which also offer more protection for cyclists and equal benefits for pedestrians.”

IMAGES ABOVE: Dutch-style design which campaigners want used.

IMAGES BELOW: Dublin-style junction which the council plans to use.

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

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