The urban SUVs of bicycles

Caitriona Walsh of Little Green Fingers

Cargo bikes may look a bit strange but these useful bikes are becoming more common, Cian Ginty reports.

A common sight in the Netherlands and Denmark, large cargo bikes are starting to turn heads in Dublin.

“It’s in its infancy and there’s only a couple of us who sell them. But the more that the bikes get seen, the more normal they become and then the more popular they become,” says Astrid Fitzpatrick, who runs with her husband Frank.

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Will Dublin become a city of women on wheels?

A new group is aiming to do their bit to address the cycling gender imbalance, member Bebhinn Hare explains.

It takes a passionate woman to make a difference, and Dublin is full of them. So when one bike activist and social entrepreneur learned of the massive gender disparity of cyclists in this country, she put out the call.

All of us who hold a major crush on our bicycle can understand why there was such a great response to bicycle campaigner Anne Bedos’s plan to create Wow (Women on Wheels). This new, informal Dublin-based group is focused on getting more women choosing bike over car. With a nearly 80:20, male/female split, something had to be done.

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Cycling against traffic legally

A recently built segregated contra-flow cycle track in Blackrock, Co Dublin

Contra-flow cycle lanes are far from new to Dublin, but is it time for the city to provide more of these cycling short-cuts? Cian Ginty reports.

Even when driving, one-way streets can be very frustrating, but most drivers don’t realise just how much Dublin’s network of one-way streets is designed for the car.

“One way streets are not something we’re into doing anymore. They tend to work from a car point of view because they generate capacity and longer links for stacking [traffic], but from a cyclist’s or
Dublin’s one-way system is extensive in the city centre area inside the canals – see the map left, showing just the multi-laned one-way streets. It’s nearly the flip opposite of the Dutch model.pedestrian’s point of view they are not great,” says Eoghan Madden, a senior engineer at Dublin City Council.

Our roads were made one-way for capacity to the benefit of motorists and at a cost to everybody else – cyclists who have to live with detours, bus users who have disconnected in and outbound bus stops, and the people living on and round what amount to very urban sections of dual carriageways.

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“Little or no progress” with Dublin’s complex junctions or major one-way streets says report on cycling

Cyclists travelling from Westmorland Street to O’Connell Bridge

Dublin City has seen “a definite improvement” for cycling in the last five years, an independent report says, but it warns that targets will not be met if the momentum is not stepped up. It highlights how one-way streets and large junctions are not being tackled.

The Bypad report written for Dublin City Council was finalised earlier this year, but was not reported on until now.

“The concise conclusion from the 2011 Bypad audit is that there has been a definite improvement in the quality of the cycling policy in the last 5 years which included the appointment of Ireland’s first Cycling Officer,” the report said. “However, cycling needs to be taken far more seriously as a core part of urban transport policy than it currently is.”

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Irish cycle track law to be revoked

Although there’s much confusion among cyclists and motorists, shared use paths like this one are not covered by the mandatory use law.

Legislation to revoke the rule which forces cyclists to use a cycle track regardless of its condition is in the process of being finalised, the Department of Transport said.

The national cycle policy includes a commitment to remove the current law, known as the “mandatory use” rule. That promise was originally made by Noel Dempsey, the transport minister in the last government, but has been slow to be delivered.

Cyclists are currently required to use cycle lanes marked with the correct bicycle logo sign, but cyclists view this as unfair given the current state of the country’s cycle lanes It’s understood that a number of bodies including the RSA are against changing the law.

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“We have to do” quays cycle route – senior Dublin engineer

Traffic on Wolfe Tone Quay, near Heuston Station

A high quality cycle route on the quays is “something we have to do” a senior engineer with Dublin City Council has said.

Under the title “Liffey Cycle Route” council has allocated €150,000 for “design and commencement of construction of a high quality East-West city centre cycle route linking the IFSC in the east with Heuston Station and the Phoenix Park in the west.”

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Cycle lane guidelines only adopted after major Dublin repairs

In the gutter: Lane widths across much of Dublin’s cycle lane network are now below guidelines set out in the National Cycle Manual, which says broken-lined cycle lanes used around much of Dublin City should “only to be used in exception circumstances.”

Design guidelines costing nearly €250,000 and aimed at making roads safer for cyclists were set aside on a technicality for resurfacing works to 24km of roads in Dublin.

Officials from the National Transport Authority (NTA) defended the disregarding of their own guidelines, the National Cycle Manual, while cycling campaigners called it “an appalling sign for the future.”

The manual was published at early last year and was available to road authorities before this, but the NTA said the resurfacing — which cost €22 million — did not have to follow the manual because the “work predated the formal adoption” of the manual.

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