Cycle routes on 8 different streets in Cork being closed due to road works has led campaigners to call for national guidance to protect people cycling near road works.
Conn Donovan, chairperson of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said that new national guidance or regulations were needed for closing cycle lanes during road works or construction projects.
He said that closures were currently in place on Skehard Road, Centre Park Road, the Passage Railway Greenway, Washington Street, Western Road, Victoria Road, Albert Quay Camden Quay, and Pope’s Quay this week alone in Cork.
Donovan said: “If we are going to ask people to travel by bike in our cities, we ought to be giving them a certainty about how much of the cycle network is opening and functioning.”
“Both the campaign and people who cycle in the city have asked why more temporary cycle lanes aren’t being installed and we’ve received a variety of answers,” he said.
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Sam McCormack, another member of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said he is encountering a lot of closed or blocked cycle routes because he “cycles from one side of the city to the other to get to and from home, work and college”.
He said: “More often than not, safe alternative routes are not provided — instead, you’re often met with a sudden ‘closed’ sign, if even that, and then you’re forced into traffic coming from behind to continue your journey. In many cases, it is obvious there is ample space to provide a temporary cycle lane – however, most of the time, this isn’t even considered.”
McCormack added: “At the moment, there appears to be little to no consideration given to the many vulnerable road users who rely on these lanes to get to and from work, school and home safely. The sooner Cork City Council start treating cycle lanes as an important piece of travel infrastructure in the city, the better.”
The extent of the issue in Cork
Donovan said “The cycle route on Skehard Road is only open 2-3 months and now the bike lane is closed for some sort of groundworks, but the two lanes of traffic next to it are unaffected. Pedestrians are also being asked to cross the road as far as I know.”
He said that Centre Park Road was closed for new street lights, but “it’s taken over 3 weeks now and there’s no temporary cycle lane installed”.
Donovan pointed to some temporary layouts where there are differences along the same route which confuses the situation — Washington Street has “a temporary contra-flow cycle lane but it’s being used essentially as a footpath” and 200 metres down the road, on Western Road, “the footpath is temporary and people cycling are asked to dismount”.
He said that Irish Water’s works are ongoing on Victoria Road and half of Albert Quay is closed as a result, and he added “Pope’s Quay is closed since November and there seems to be no sign of the path opening officially again. Many people are using it as the works are now concentrated on the eastern end only.”