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What to do with a problem like cycling at a Dublin Docklands pinch point?

— “Some locations have needed urgent fixes for ages, and this is one of them”.

COMMEMT & ANALYSIS: One of the sets of the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridges in the Dublin Docklands is a pinch point eastbound on the north quays. The design around the bridge on Custom House Quay is an identified safety critical issue — aka an “accident waiting to happen”.

Except any collision which happens here beside the IFSC will likely be the fault of a mix of a known design flaw and human behaviour, not an accident. Death or injury is preventable here.

Some locations have needed urgent fixes for ages, and this is one of them. It has been an issue for decades, it was even worse when people cycling had to mix with HGV trucks when the quays was the main route to Dublin Port.

This is the type of issue that needs fixing — there’s still a lot of buses and the odd HGV going by here. Dublin City Council in the last year or so marked in an advisory cycle lane but unfortunately this has not solved the issue. Action is needed and it is needed soon and in advance of the BusConnects plans for the Docklands.

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Here’s a video of what happens when a bus driver overtakes too close to the pinch point:

This is a view eastbound direction of the relevant bridge from Street View:

And the reverse view:

This shows a bus can leave room if the driver is careful, going slow and keeps tight to the right.

Unfortunately relying on ever bus or truck driver to do this goes against the ideals sustainable safety which says street and road designers should account for human behaviour.

Things like the angle of the kerb circled in the image below likely do not help matter — the carriageway seems wider enough at this point but the kerb jutting out might effect the approach of buses:

An overall solution is to raise the cycle track like this one in London:

Having a raised cycle path on the bridge outside the IFSC could be done by using most of the existing cycle lane and the already raised area pictured on the left below.

Like in the London example, it might involve raising the new cycle path above the height of the existing raised area. The ramps up to and down off this should be gradual, not short and sharp.

None of this should interfere with the historic structure of the bridge. There are steel grates as part of a section of the raised area but this looks modern in design and a replacement or overlay should be possible to find.

This could be a (relatively) easy fix which offers solid safety benefits. But unfortunately partly because of BusConnects, this issue could be left unaddressed — even when the BusConnects changes could be a decade or more away from happening on-street here.

And the BusConnects road widening planned here — which includes moving the existing bridges to each side and building a new one in the centre for free-flow for buses and cars — might not get past approval stages.

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Editor, IrishCycle.com

3 comments

  1. Unfortunately this bridge is not only an accident waiting to happen, but where I was run over by an overtaking bus in exactly the manner described.

    You are spot on that cannot be described as an accident though. A&E, 2 weeks off work, 4 hospital visits, over a year recovering, and ongoing issues, entirely utterly preventable.

    And of course unlike almost any other environment with a serious accident, no follow up. No assessment, no analysis, no changes. Same dangerous infrastructure and same dangerous overtakes.

    Reply
  2. Any deliberately engineered pinch-point needs to have a mandatory no-overtaking of cyclists warning sign displayed.
    However we don’t have one in the ‘Signs Manual’ or the Rules of the Road. This must change.

    Reply
  3. Its already illegal to overtake cyclists here, it’s impossible to give 1m space, but cops are never going to prosecute, so a sign is hardly going to do much….
    In the immediate short term, the road should be narrowed to move cyclists to the middle of the traffic lane, preventing overtaking, while the existing cylce lane is built up to the level of the kerb beside it and that is the cycle route

    Reply

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