I BIKE Dublin are a community of people who cycle bicycles in Dublin, and who want a more liveable city with safe cycling conditions for all ages and abilities.
Current cycling infrastructure is often woeful and inconsistent across the city, and what is there is often unusable due to the careless and selfish actions of others.
Flouting the law
Page 195 of the Rules of the Road says that motorists are not allowed to drive or park on cycle tracks:
Driving and parking on cycle tracks are also motoring offences that can incur specific fixed penalty points and fines. Unfortunately some motorists ignore these rules, for their own convenience, and as a result place cyclists at increased risk.
Every time a cyclist encounters a vehicle illegally parked in a cycle lane, they have to merge into often fast-flowing traffic. To compound this, some motorists are reluctant to give way to cyclists merging to the right, and may even try to overtake the cyclist as they in the process of passing a parked vehicle – which is often very dangerous.
At present there seems to be no political will, or action from An Garda Síochana, to police the Rules of the Road – and as a result infraction is rife.
Protecting the bike lanes
The members of I BIKE Dublin act to raise awareness of this problem of illegal and dangerous parking in cycle lanes. They target known trouble spots in Dublin, and act to ‘protect’ mandatory cycle lanes and keep them free of parked vehicles.
The act of protecting the cycle lane involves volunteers standing out in the road with their bicycles, forming a physical barrier that stops motorists invading the space. The action is peaceful and respectful, and is designed to improve the safety of all road users.
The actions often attract curious looks from motorists and pedestrians. And there has been one or two negative reaction from motorists, including someone who called the Guards to complain! However there has been an overwhelmingly positive reaction from cyclists, who appreciate the protection given – albeit for a very small section of the road.
Long term solutions
Of course, getting volunteers to stand out in the road is not a long-term solution to improving safety for cyclists. What’s needed instead are two things:
- Enforcement – the Government needs to instruct the Garda that enforcement of the rules of the road – for all road users – is a priority
- Infrastructure – the Government need to make significant investment in providing a network of connected and continuous segregated cycle paths that have physical barriers to stop motor vehicles invading the space – suitable enough so that you would happily let a small child cycle along it safely
In the mean time, until we get good quality protected cycle lanes, no-doubt the I BIKE Dublin group will continue to help protect our city’s cyclists. If you want to know more about the group, see their social media pages: