Damage to cycle lane bollards should be treated like any other criminal damage, campaigner says

— Some bollards are being removed in areas of high CCTV coverage.

Cork City Council should report criminal damage to bollards protecting cycle lanes to the Gardaí, just as the council did with the removal of paving bricks on footpaths, a local campaigner has said.

In 2020, Cork City Council tweeted: “Cork City Council has reported criminal damage to the Gardai after paving at four different locations in the city centre were dug up over the weekend. An investigation is underway. In some instances, cut flowers and greenery were placed in the dug out sections.”

Sam McCormack, a member of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said: “It’s hard to comprehend why they are focused on just replacing them over and over with the same result.”

He said some of the bollards might be accidentally damaged but that there is a lot pointing towards intentional damage in at least some cases.

McCormack posted on Twitter that at least some Cork City Council officials also believe that the cycle lane protectors have been deliberately damaged, but Cork City Council did not respond to requests for comments made by IrishCycle.com before this article was published.

“Back in 2020, Cork City Council tweeted about reporting dug up paving to Gardai as criminal damage. And rightly so,” McCormack said on Twitter.

In response to a complaint about missing bollards on Washington Street, he posted a response from a Cork City Council official, which said: “We have previously replaced a number of bollards on this street, but unfortunately, it is an ongoing requirement, both at this location and across the city. Some of the bollards seem to have been removed deliberately.”

McCormack said that the money spent replacing the bollards repeatedly after they are damaged intentionally or otherwise would be better spent on hard protection on these lanes, either in the form of kerbing or solid bollards.

“Money would be better spent investing in more secure forms of cycleway protection than just doing the same thing over and over and yielding the same result. This is costing the city more money in the long run too, considering the issue of some individual purposefully removing them is ongoing everytime the bollards are replaced,” he said.

He said: “I appreciate the council replacing the bollards, of course, but it seems an awful waste of time and money to simply replace with the same ‘screw-type’ bollards which any member of the public can simply walk over to, twist and remove.”

McCormack also said that metal bollards were recently installed to protect a bike share station on the same street where plastic bollards protecting cycle lanes are being damaged and pointed out that solid bollards would be harder to remove without tools. But it’s understood that there’s a safety issue in using solid bollards in cycle lanes, especially where cycle lanes are narrow.

“It is also strange they haven’t reported these issues to Gardai. It is clearly criminal damage and theft. They have done so previously. It would be easy to monitor and catch those responsible as the street is filled with both public and private CCTV,” he said.

McCormack added: “It took years to get Cork City Council to install protection on these lanes and how they are letting those responsible get away with it is really disappointing for everyone who relies on these cycleways to get to and from work, home and school safely.”

IMAGES: Sam McCormack.

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