Dublin City Council are to be asked to respond to a legal challenge against its planned trial cycle path in Sandymount.
The trial cycle route involves making Beach Road and Strand Road one-way to make space for a two-way cycle path. Preparation work is underway and the main works on building the cycle path is set to start on March 1. The project uses quick-build methods such as plastic bollards, which the council has said can be removed if the trial is abandoned.
According to RTE.ie, Cllr Mannix Flynn (independent) and a local resident, Peter Carvill, have “applied for a Judicial Review to stop it going ahead”.
RTE reported that the “High Court case argues that Dublin City Council was acting outside its powers in deciding to implement the traffic changes as part of its Covid-19 Mobility Strategy.”
Dublin City Council has published screening reports on its website from consultants which outline that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required for the project.
Legislation enacted by the Dáil
As IrishCycle.com has previously reported, the council and the National Transport Authority rely on the the Road Traffic Act 1994 (Section 38) as amended by the Public Transportation Regulation Act, 2009 (Section 46).
The legislation allows for wide-ranging changes to existing roads and streets, including fully closing off streets to motorists.
Public Transportation Regulation Act, 2009 expands the meaning of traffic calming in Road Traffic Act 1994 to include the ability to “restrict or control the speed or movement of, or which prevent, restrict or control access to a public road or roads by, mechanically propelled vehicles (whether generally or of a particular class) and measures which facilitate the safe use of public roads by different classes of traffic (including pedestrians and cyclists).”
The primary legislation, enacted by the Dail, goes onto added that this “includes for the purposes of the above the provision of traffic signs, road markings, bollards, posts, poles, chicanes, rumble areas, raised, lowered or modified road surfaces, ramps, speed cushions, speed tables or other similar works or devices, islands or central reservations, roundabouts, modified junctions, works to reduce or modify the width of the roadway and landscaping, planting or other similar works.”
Cllr Mannix Flynn is a serial objector to cycle route who has over years said a number of outlandish things about people who cycle, and in a recent council meeting he shouted to officials “see you in court”.
On the Fitzwilliam Cycle Route Cllr Flynn said: “I think it’s really important that you send out a message that you’re not developing a racing track because more and more cyclists think they’re in some sort of velodrome… They’ve got their earplugs in, they have their hi-vis jackets, they’ve got their helmets and they’re zooming down the street screaming their head off to Nirvana, you know what I mean, or some band, and they don’t see anybody.”
Cllr Flynn’s previous comments include that the Liffey Cycle Route will “kill the city economy. Cyclists don’t keep the economy going.” He also voted against the South Dublin Quietway.
When Cllr Flynn was on Prime Time at the start of 2018 to discuses the high number of people who died while cycling the year before, Cllr Flynn said that “the biggest problem we have is cyclists behaviour” and cyclists being disrespectful of other road user.
Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “It’s no real surprise as legal threats were being made since the outset of this project. The proposal is for a six-month trial of a cycle route, and unfortunately some people don’t even want to see that happen.”
Ciarán Ferrie, a cycling campaigner and a co-founder of campaign group I Bike Dublin, said: “Mannix Flynn’s war on the bicycle steps up a gear. Who can forget his appearance on Primetime three years ago when confronted with the rising death toll of people cycling and his response was: ‘the biggest problem we have is cyclists’ behaviour’.”
Ferrie said: “I invited him to join me on a cycle around Dublin, or failing that, to at least meet me to discuss issues of cycling safety in the city. I never got so much as a response. He has consistently and repeatedly opposed every cycling infrastructure project put forward by Dublin City Council and has frustrated the development of a network of safe cycling routes within the city that would give sustainable and affordable transport options people of all ages from 8 to 80. It is an irrational response and one that doesn’t allow for any nuanced reflection on its impact.”
“I don’t hold out hope that he is open to changing views on this so I can only hope that the High Court will dismiss this case for the vexatious manner in which it is presented and we can get on with making Dublin safe for cycling,” he said.
He added: “I mean, what kind of an elected representative takes legal action against the council he represents because they want to make the roads safer for people cycling? I hope people see this guy for who he really is.”