Are Dublin’s Streets Safe Enough for a New Influx of Cyclists?

Abdul Aziz investigates if improving Dublin’s roadways is essential before more bike are introduced to the city’s streets.

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The news that a new stationless bike scheme is soon to be introduced in Dublin, will no doubt, be welcomed by many.

It will allow users to access bicycles by a smartphone app, made possible by a smartlock with GPS on the bike. The bicycle can then be left at any location without the need to return it to a docking station, allowing for an easy stress-free cycling experience.

The project, set to be introduced by Dublin City Council this summer after the council awards two licences in April, will complement the already existing Dublinbikes Scheme, launched in 2009 and hailed as an overwhelming success. It will see the number of bicycles for hire in the city double.

While the stationless bike scheme will appeal to commuters and tourists alike it’s hard not to question whether more cyclists on Dublin’s already traffic congested streets is in fact a good thing?

Figures from Dublin City Council show that the number of cyclists in Dublin city has already more than doubled in the past seven years, with more than 95,000 people using their bikes in the capital every day.

Let’s face it, many of the streets of Dublin City Centre are simply not designed for cyclists. 

But let’s face it, many of the streets of Dublin City Centre are simply not designed for cyclists, who already take their life in their hands getting on a bike each day.

The provision of cycling lanes in certain parts of the city has failed to alleviate the problem – and especially at rush hour – when the number of cyclists is at its peak. The streets themselves need to be widened.

The Greater Dublin Area Cycle Plan, launched in 2013 planned to increase the amount of road cycle paths, from 500km to 2,840km across Dublin, as well as in Kildare, Wicklow and Meath. However this is a 10-year plan and much of this has yet to be acted upon

In the meantime, Dublin lags behind cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Utrecht in terms of its bike-friendly infrastructure. In Copenhagen for example the number of bikes now outnumber cars. This is the result of a concerted effort on the part of the government to make the city cycle-friendly.

Not only has it actively encouraged its citizens to cycle, through the provision of electric bike counters, its government has spent time and money on planning a cycle-friendly city.  

Since 2005, Copenhagen has built several new bike and bicycle pedestrian-only streets and bridges such as the Kissing Bridge and Cykelslangen (The Cycle Snake).

Meanwhile the number of cycling accidents in Dublin continues to increase. The latest figures from the HSE show that on average four cyclists per day are hospitalised due to accidents. Almost half of these are in Dublin. Out of 2,700 cases recorded in 2015 and 2016, 1,188 of the cases were recorded in hospitals across the city. 

Surely we should concentrate on improving the city’s cycling infrastructure before we let more cyclists onto the streets of Dublin?


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