A leading cycling campaigner in Cork has asked supporters of cycle routes to give a Senator time so that he can reflect on his comments about a new protected cycle lane in the city.
The new cycle lane is on Melbourn Road near the Munster Technological University (formally Cork IT).
Replying to a video posted by Irish Examiner journalist yesterday Eoin English, Senator Jerry Buttimer (Fine Gael) said: “Road is unsafe. It’s now highly dangerous l. Too many bollards, residents many elderly can’t get in and out. Huge Difficulty being experienced by road users. It needs to be changed.”
While local authorities have said that they will make adjustments to quick-build projects where needed, false and exaggerated claims that motorists cannot or will not be able to access areas have also been made elsewhere in Ireland where protected cycle lanes have been installed or where the radius of side road turns has been narrowed to slow motorists.
Conn Donovan, chairperson of the Cork Cycling Campaign said: “I’d appreciated it if supporters of cycle lanes in Cork could draw a line in the sand this evening regarding the comments made by Jerry Buttimer this morning and allow Jerry some time to reflect on the matter. I’m sure at this stage he is aware how emotive safe cycle infra is for people who rely on it and the difference between segregated and ‘painted’ lanes.”
He said if bollards need to be moved, an engineer can then determine if that’s the case. He said that he measured the gaps in the bollards which are “much wider than the existing gaps” at driveways.
He added: “However, some of the commentary [from the local resident’s association] suggests that the key issues here are the existence of the cycle lanes and not the positioning of a few bollards.”
Road is unsafe . It’s now highly dangerous l. Too many bollards , residents many elderly can’t get in and out. Huge Difficulty being experienced by road users. It needs to be changed @corkcitycouncil
— Senator Jerry Buttimer (@jerrybuttimer) August 4, 2021
Cllr Eolan Ryng (Sinn Féin) said: “I drove it last night and as well as illuminating the road the bollards have a natural effect of slowing traffic. It’s a win-win for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists in an area that has seen 17 collisions in recent years.”
Cork Commuter Coalition said: “Because of these cycle lanes, cycling around schools in this area, incl. MTU, is safer – not to mention the reduced speeds of the redesigned road means it’s safer for all pedestrians (including residents!). If bollards are such an obstacle, those residents shouldn’t be driving.”
Earlier in the day, when challenged by Donovan, Senator Buttimer said: “Talk to the residents. I’m in favouring cycle lane. Cork City Council made modifications on Rossa Ave. All I’m asking is that the needs of residents be taken into account.”
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A member of the public who accesses a house on the road, Jo Garvey, said: “As a carer to someone living on this road your claims are false. The lanes have vastly contributed to a reduction in speeding vehicles. I have no issue driving in and out of one of the properties that is passed in the video. Are you aware of any incidents you could share?”
Senator Buttimer replied: “Ask the residents who are upset. All in favour of cycle lanes.”
Despite the video showing cars in driveways along the road, the Bishopstown Residents Association tweeted: “It has made living on the road very difficult because it’s almost impossible to access properties now.”