Friday February 2, 2018
The Cork Cycling Campaign regularly discusses traffic and policing issues with community and policing committees in Cork. Over many years, we have raised our concerns about motorists parking in cycle lanes. Vehicles parked in cycle lanes pose a serious hazard to cyclists, who are forced out into the stream of fast moving, heavy vehicles. Manoeuvring around parked cars poses an obvious, potentially fatal danger to cyclists.
Regrettably, we have seen little serious or sustained engagement by gardai to cyclists’ repeated concerns on this issue. In contrast, gardai responded very rapidly to public criticism to parking in cycle lanes in last week’s Evening Echo by targeting cyclists for other offences. This seems to be a transparent attempt to blame the victim and to deflect criticism of gardai on to cyclists. The Campaign is extremely disappointed by the Garda’s response, which calls into question the efficacy and sincerity of Garda engagement with cyclists. We reiterate our assertion that parking in cycle lanes poses a grave danger to cyclists – it therefore should be a primary concern for An Garda Síochána, for which “reducing the incidence of fatal and serious injuries on our roads and improving road safety” is a core function. Cyclists are vulnerable road users coping with bad infrastructure and gardai should put more effort into protecting our safety than into efforts to punish us. Unlike motorists, cyclists are less likely to cause harm but are much more likely to be harmed. We intend to seek a meeting with senior Gardai to discuss this matter further.
The Cork Cycling Campaign advocates for mutual respect among all road users. We do not condone illegal behaviour by cyclists, and adult cyclists should not cycle on footpaths where tolerably safe cycling conditions exist on the road or cycle paths. (We note that this is not always the case.) Our preferred approach is to work openly and positively with gardai, the councils, and the public, to ensure safe and considerate sharing of roads and paths by drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. We believe that increasing rates of cycling in Cork has enormous potential to improve traffic flow in the city, increase the vibrancy of our town centre, and make Cork a more liveable city. Doing so would benefit all of Cork’s residents.
Cork Cycling Campaign, 02/02/2018