Chicane gates are not a solution to greenway access

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Last year I wrote how barriers on walking and cycling routes, and parks, are cruel — unfortunately authorities are still building infrastructure with just the fit and able in mind, and chicane gates are not a solution regardless how well spaced the gates are.

It’s usually able-bodied people who come up with solutions like chicane gates and dismiss issues people have.

Chicane gates can be well-spaced. But once chicane gates are made wide enough that they are not an issue to any person with a disability, you have to ask: What’s the point?

For example, some people will still find it difficult to get around the first set of gates in this video and it’ll be harder if other people get in the way, or if they feel under pressure to hurry up:

(Thanks to a reader, Paul, for link to the video)

The image at the end of the video is from the dos and don’t section of CyclingForAll.ie, this is an updated version due to go live soon:

There’s loads of “what about” scenarios… like: What if a child runs out on a road? In such a scenario, it’s just as likely that the gate will get in the way of a parent rushing to catch the child.

There can also be other problems such as gates creating a pinch point and blocking up access to the greenway meaning somebody left exposed halfway crossing a busy road with nowhere to go — all it takes is a group of people arriving at the gateway at the same time in both directions and a gateway is blocked.

Councillors, engineers, campaigners and everybody else: Please stop looking for different solutions or alternatives.

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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