310 kilometres of segregated cycle lanes in Dublin will be a “much better system” for getting around, the leader of the Green Party on Dublin City Council has said.
The proposals would see certain infrastructure upgraded and new lanes built, with physical barriers separating them from motor vehicles.
Already, some have raised concerns that it will add to congestion by reducing the amount of space for cars in the capital but Cllr Michael Pidgeon believes strongly that the measure has broad support overall.
“I found this during the local elections canvassing around the area, you’d find a load of people will say, ‘I’d love to cycle but it doesn’t feel safe’,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“Or their kids are at an age where they could cycle but they say, ‘The way cars zoom around here, it doesn’t work.’
“So that’s what we need to get away from, this idea of building a tiny bit of a bike lane and move onto a network so you can transfer safely around the city.
“We wouldn’t build roads that just randomly stop somewhere and you have to drive over a bit of mud.
“We need to do that with bike lanes as well and make sure they’re all connected into each other.”
Inevitably, that will mean that some road space will have to be given up by motorists in order to accommodate segregated cycle lanes.
“There’s a lot to be done with the roads above ground too,” Cllr Pidgeon said.
“At the moment, if you look at the space between buildings on an average road you probably give 80-90% of the space to cars.
“You need to take some of that space away to redistribute it to buses, to Luas and bikes.”
There is also concern that Dubliners will find the infrastructure hard to adapt to but Cllr Pidgeon believes those fears are misplaced.
“Every piece of road traffic infrastructure changes the roads and it always causes traffic - at least for a few weeks,” he said.
“Even when it’s completed, there’s a couple of weeks where it’s difficult but, in time, people see the benefits of those changes whether it’s road widening or road narrowing or new bus lanes.
“People talk about ‘traffic chaos’ for a while but then eventually you get over it and you have a better system.”
Studies have found that cities with higher levels of cycling enjoy better air quality and overall better levels of productivity because their citizens are healthier.
Main image: A woman riding a bike over the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Picture by: Alamy.com