A number of councillors yesterday disagreed with their fellow councillor who parroted misinformation from residents against the Griffith Avenue cycle track and claimed “nobody uses” it.
As IrishCycle.com reported last month, Cllr Deirdre Heney (Fianna Fáil) has tabled a motion which outlines how “residents complain about the large amount of money that has been paid to put cycle lanes on Griffith Avenue which ‘nobody uses’ according to residents”.
Cllr Heney said yesterday said: “There seems to be a lack of use of the infrastructure…”. But this was contradicted by data provided by the council and a number of councillors. Cllr Heney said that she is supportive of cycling infrastructure, but was looking for solutions to the issues.
Data from bicycle counters on the road surface show over 12,500 trips by bicycles per month on a monthly average and this is trending upwards according to officials.
Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí (Fine Gael) said: “This idea that nobody uses it — I’m on that cycleway every morning down [with his child] to school and back the other way. So, there are people using that cycleway. It’s gradually going up.”
He added: “Not everybody is supportive of it, but, as they say, that’s life.”
Cllr Catherine Stocker (Social Democrats) said: “Obviously, there’s a lot of issues at play here, but I am a little bit worried about kind of safety concerns being used as a detractor from positive developments.”
“In the main, the cycleway seems very well used to me to be perfectly honest and I’m up and down that way every day because it is on my children’s school route,” she said. “I’ve heard people tell me on the doors it isn’t as well, but I see it on a daily basis, it most definitely is [being used].”
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There was general agreement there needs to be a better cleanup of the leaves. Cllr Stocker said that she has witnessed residents brushing and blowing leaves into the path and cycle path and that needs to be tackled.
Cycling and driving on footpaths
Cllr Heney also said that there is an issue with people cycling on the footpath — other councillors said that this was mainly schoolchildren.
Cllr Damian O’Farrell (independent) claimed to know of incidents where elderly pedestrians have been injured but he said he would not view these incidents are criminal as they involved schoolchildren and so he said they wouldn’t be reported to the Gardai and there’s no record of them.
He said: “There needs to be possibly more education for cyclists using the footpath maybe to give way because the more vulnerable people are the pedestrians and I think something should come out of the active travel budget um there should be quite a more a more budget should be put into education I I think in England maybe 10% of the active travel budget goes towards education I’d say that’s it’s not the case in Ireland
Cllr Ó Muirí said that the issue of people cycling on the footpath pre-dates the cycle route but needs to be tackled.
He said: “There is an issue with people cycling on the footpath, there’s no doubt about that, particularly younger people going to school. It’s one thing to have you know people who are learning to cycle going east of Charlemont, but, if you have a group of three or four cyclists teenagers coming at you, it is intimidating so we do need to square up to that and deal with it.”
“They shouldn’t be on the footpath but again they’ve been there as long as I’ve been walking Griffith Avenue it’s not today nor yesterday that people have been cycling on it, so there’s a mindset change needed,” said Cllr Ó Muirí.
Cllr Donna Cooney (Green Party) said that people shouldn’t be cycling dangerously on footpaths but that the bigger issue is people parking and driving on footpaths on Griffith Ave. She said she is getting reports of drivers driving on footpaths all of the time.
She said that it includes a case where a motorist unexpectedly was “backing into somebody’s driveway the other week when a woman was coming out with a toddler and a little newborn baby and a car backed up her driveway and she’s trying to walk out.”
Deirdre Kelly, Cycling & Walking Officer in the transport section of Dublin City Council, said: “We’ve been in touch with the schools, firstly to acknowledge that it’s great to see their students cycling to school and… that’s really positive, and then we’ve asked the schools to ask their students to use the cycle lines and offered support and asked them is there anything we can do to help students to use the cycle lanes instead of the footpaths.”
She added: “We’re waiting to hear back from schools to see if there’s supports that they need and we’re happy to help out with that where we can.”
CORRECTED: The headline originally referred to over 12,500 people per month, when it should have said trips per month. It’s worth noting however that the counter is a single-point counter, many people use part of the route without crossing the counter. The limitations on such counters also mean that cargo bikes and folding bikes are likely not counted.