Cyclist.ie, Ireland's National Cycling Lobby Group, has called on the Government to postpone a recently announced “€4 Million Employment Initiative” that would have involved replacing rural road hard-shoulders with cycle lanes.
The cyclists have pointed out that they have already called for a moratorium on the construction of roadside cycle facilities. They say that many urban cycling facilities already constructed in Ireland have been a poor use of public money and are badly maintained - not even subjected to regular road sweeping and left piled with snow during winter! Cyclist.ie Chairman, Dr Mike McKillen stated “the construction of roadside cycle facilities should cease until a proper framework is in place to ensure their appropriate design, construction, application and subsequent maintenance.” According to the cyclists, the inappropriate use of cycle facilities can actually end up making cycling conditions worse, rather than better.
In the case of rural roads, the issue of maintenance is even more pressing since rural roads are less likely to get any regular attention from councils' road sweeping equipment. In a letter to the Government they state “As a "cycle friendly" treatment, existing hard-shoulders have the advantage over roadside cycle lanes since they are effectively self cleaning and avoid false expectations of safety among the users. It seems wholly inadvisable to replace serviceable hard-shoulders with cycle lanes that are likely to reduce safety and comfort. This is nothing more than a make-work scheme that simply ignores cyclists' real need for safer interaction between motorised vehicles and riders on our public roads".
The cyclists have offered to provide the Government with a range of alternative schemes that would represent a better use of the Smarter Travel money.