It is not possible to cycle directly to the Phoenix Park as bike parking facilities will not be available. Dublin Bikes will be unavailable up to a certain radius of the Park.
And so, while they’re not allowing anyone to cycle inside the park itself, I did get confirmation from the Garda Info twitter account that cyclists will be allowed inside the controlled zone (a traffic-free cordon of 1.5-2 km radius around the Phoenix Park), so you should be able to get pretty close.
You would have thought they’ve really missed a trick here, and should have provided dedicated secure bike parking – if not in the park itself, then nearby – as a sustainable and healthy way for the faithful to attend. It would have surely been a better option that getting people to walk long distances!
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:
The number one reason stopping people cycling is the perception that it’s dangerous.
Some of this fear is caused by bad road design. Some of this is caused by bad behaviour from other road users. All of the fear can be solved by better infrastructure!
What does bad cycling infrastructure look like?
Painting a line at the side of the road is not good cycling infrastructure as it does not provide any protection to people riding bicycles.
Motorists routinely park and drive their vehicles in these cycle lanes, which is illegal, but there is zero enforcement of the law from An Garda Síochána.
It makes our roads a potentially dangerous place for cyclists, and puts off a lot of people from riding bicycles.
What does good cycling infrastructure look like?
We need to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all cyclists, of all ages and abilities. We need fully-segregated cycle paths that we would be comfortable for all adults and children to use, whether they are experienced or novice riders.
We need to provide cycling routes where bikes are in conflict with pedestrians, and that don’t just disappear and push cyclists into traffic at junctions.
Unfortunately the amount of good cycling infrastructure is very low at the moment. We have decent segregated cycle paths along the Grand Canal and along Clontarf Road, but these routes are rare examples, and they aren’t joined up.
We need good safe infrastructure throughout the city – so that everyone can feel safe and confident in getting around the city by bike.