— Councillor’s remarks are “one of the most outrageous land-grabs on the term ‘pro-cycling’” claims cycling campaigners.
A Dublin City councillor, Cllr Dermot Lacey (Labour) — who voted in two consecutive years against holding public consultation on a walking and cycling route aimed at school children — has claimed that campaigners are “not pro-cycling” but “anti-car” and claimed that nobody was against the Strand Road cycle route.
Despite Dublin City Council and others holding a view that an appeal of the Strand Road judgement is needed because it is flawed and would have wide impacts if it stands, Cllr Lacey has claimed an appeal isn’t needed and expressed annoyance that the South East local area committee was not consulted about the appeal.
The claims were published in a news article, published without any context of Cllr Lacey’s record, in The Irish Times. Cllr Lacey has repeatedly called campaigners and members of the public liars when they raise his voting record on Twitter.
The Irish Times also blanking reported claims from Cllr Lacey that a trial cycle Route was possible in Sandymount with a “short stretch”of the route using the footpath and another stretch mixing with motor traffic on the road, without reporting how Dublin City Council, the National Transport Authority, cycling campaigners and disabilities campaigners view such an option as unacceptable due to safety and other issues.
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Cllr Lacey told The Irish Times: “This was never about the cycleway. I don’t know anybody who opposed a cycleway here, but it was always meant to be inside the promenade not on the road. That has been the plan for the last 20-odd years.”
In a phrase echoing the now infamous and much derided ‘I’m cyclist myself’ — which is commonly used by cycle route objectors in Ireland, the UK, and the US — Cllr Lacey told the newspaper that he cycles “every day of the week” but that he is branded as anti-cycling by some campaigners.
Cllr Lacey said: “A lot of cycle campaigners are not pro-cycling, they are anti-car. Being motivated by being against things never works.”
The Irish Times also reported how former Lord Mayor, Cllr Hazel Chu (Green Party), who chaired a community forum on the cycle route, said it wasn’t possible to find a solution everybody was happy with.
“We really tried to find a solution…” said Cllr Chu, but groups opposing the route had a stance of “‘we don’t want this to happen, and how can we stop it from happening’ rather than how do we find solutions to particular issues.”
Responding to Cllr Lacey, Dublin Commuter Coalition, a group which campaigns for sustainable transport, said: “If you only support a plan that hasn’t been built after 20 years and may never be built, you’re just opposing.“
The group said: “Regardless of the impact of the judgement on Strand Road, Dublin City Council should absolutely appeal sections of the ruling. The expectations placed on Local Authorities by some of this judgment frustrates their ability to deliver road traffic infrastructure under Section 38.”
The Dublin Commuter Coalition said: “Just because you cycle ‘every day of the week’ does not mean your opinion on cycling provision should be venerated.”
The group added: “There exists and has for a while, people who cycle who are happy with the status quo. Cycling advocates who disagree with you are not being over the top. They are not ‘anti-car’ or being unreasonable. Just because you feel okay cycling ‘every day of the week’ in painted lanes that does not mean everyone else must also. Cycling advocates advocate for infrastructure than be used by people of all ages and abilities.”
The Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “This is one of the most outrageous land-grabs on the term ‘pro-cycling’ we’ve ever seen.”
It added: “Not only are those who oppose cycle routes calling themselves ‘pro-cycling’, they’re now claiming that cycle campaigners are not pro-cycling. Olympic levels of gaslighting by Cllr Lacey Dermot.”