Waterways Ireland extends consultation on plan for 15km/h speed limit for bicycles on canals

Waterways Ireland has extended the consultation on bylaws with a 15km/h speed limit for bicycles on canals.

The proposed byelaws are the Shannon Navigation Byelaws and Canal Byelaws which includes the Grand Canal, Royal Canal, and Barrow navigation.

The extension of the byelaw public consultation was listed in an email to councillors from Éanna Rowe, operations controller at Waterways Ireland.

said: “We have had a great response to our consultation and to date we have received over 500 submissions. It is heartening to see this level of interest in our waterways. Many of the submissions are supportive of the proposed measures while others have raised concerns about specific aspects of the proposed changes.”

“In the spirit of seeking to proactively and equitably respond to the legitimate concerns raised, we have decided to extend this phase of the consultation period until 27th October 2023,” Rowe said

Waterways Ireland said that during this time, that it will engage in depth with groups. It’s understood that this will include campaigners in Cyclist.ie and sporting organisation Cycling Ireland.

“At the end of this phase, we will consider all of the submissions duly and diligently over the months of November and December. We will then amend the proposed Byelaws accordingly, collate our consultation report and publish both,” he said.

Rowe added: “Following this we will re-commence the public consultation of the amended proposed Byelaws for approximately six weeks, starting on January 15th and concluding on February 26th 2024. This will offer all stakeholders the opportunity to consider the modifications and provide feedback on the newly revised proposed Byelaws.”

The consultation page links to the online feedback form which still states: “The deadline for submissions is 2 October 2023″. The consultation page also includes the email address corporate@waterwaysireland.org with the note to include Byelaw consultation in the subject line.


  1. As a cyclist on the canal , I enjoy the fact that it’s safe with no cars to worry about … I use my bell and in a group ride in single file when others are using the path ! This 15km speed limit should only be for E Bikes / scooters…..

    • Ebikes and scooters are already regulated by law to 25km/h. I dont feel it needs further reduction. I rather see some rules about passing pedestrians as such may not be clear to everyone.

  2. Cyclists, like everyone else traveling on shared routes need to take responsibility for their actions. They are the ones posing the danger along the canal routes, as they are the ones moving faster. So what do you do about the irresponsible people, including on electric bikes and scooters which can now legally do 25 kmh, or worse still the modified ones that can do twice that.
    So they are proposing a 15 kmh speed limit. Completely unenforceable. But they are seen to be doing something.
    I’m wondering just who is going to be opposed to this. Are they going to be the same cyclists that moan that cars go too fast. Or is it a case of speed limits are only a guideline for other people.

    • It seems like a kneejerk reaction. Is there mass carnage on the canal banks that I am not aware of? I take the canal regularly from Phibsborough to lock 14 and every few months from Athlone or Mullingar as far as Leixlip. I don’t see the issue. There are some conflicts, usually at parts of the towpath where it is very narrow and desperately in need of an upgrade. It’s a shared space and everyone needs to respect that. Bringing in crazy rules doesn’t help with that, it just creates further conflict

      • The bylaw could read, Cyclists have a duty of care for other tow path users. They must alert pedestrians of their approach. A bell should be fitted to the bicycle as per regulation for this purpose. Should the pedestrians remain unaware of the passing cyclist, the cyclist must slow down to pass with sufficient care as to not cause a collision.

  3. Man, DCC do love a signpost….

    One thing I notice is there is often no clear division between the pedestrian and cycle lane – or there is only a (faded) bike or person icon every half mile or so – so people forget which side is which and wander all over the place.
    They would be better off improving their painting markings on the routes.

  4. While I understand that WI is responding to complaints, it is a wholly unreasonable bye-law proposal to set 15 km/h as the maximum speed for a cycle. Most cycles don’t have speedometers as they are not a legal requirement so just how is a rider to know when the cycle is at that speed? It is also unenforceable.
    No other road authority has attempted to set a special speed limit for cycles, so why is one necessary for canal tow-paths when motor vehicles are not subject to a maximum speed on the same paths?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.