Let’s talk seriously about why cyclists break traffic laws

A view from the US (Washington Post)

In full disclosure, I have scoffed the law while cycling. In my neighborhood at night, when there’s no one around, I have rolled through a stop sign. I have paused at an intersection, “no turn on red,” and then done exactly that on a bike. I do these things … occasionally.

“I do, too,” says Wesley Marshall, now that we’re confessing. “If I’m sitting at a red light next to a bunch of cars, and there are no cars crossing, I’ll go through the red light to establish myself in the street in the next block, because I feel like I’m safer doing that.”

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DCC welcomes new contra-flow bus/cycle lane on Camden St – Richmond St corridor

On Wed 14th January at 11:00 h, Dublin City Council will open a new contra-flow bus/cycle lane on Camden Street Upper – Richmond Street, which will run past the ‘Bleeding Horse’ pub (i.e. south towards Rathmines).

Dublin Cycling Campaign has been working hard behind the scenes for many years to persuade Dublin City Council to provide a southbound contra-flow cycling facility on this corridor. The new traffic management arrangement also comes into being in the context of the Luas Cross City works on Dawson Street and, Suffolk Street. Dublin Cycling Campaign sits on the City’s ‘Cycle Forum’, where projects like this get progressed.

The now-soon-to-be-reconfigured “Bleeding Horse gyratory” was voted (among members) as one of Dublin’s 10 worst junctions in Dublin Cycling Campaign’s survey in recent years. The new contra-flow bus/cycle lane enables cyclists, heading south towards Rathmines, to avoid taking the annoying and very cycling-unfriendly and unsafe detour around by the Odeon pub and back onto Harcourt Road; instead they can now travel outbound directly (and legally) past the ‘Bleeding Horse’ pub towards Rathmines bridge. This represents important progress in making Dublin more cycle-able.


The conversion of cyclist-unfriendly, multi-lane one-way streets and gyratories to streets with contra-flow cycling facilities and cycling friendly junctions is one policy objective of the National Cycle Policy Framework, the government’s overarching plan to increase the modal share for everyday cycling from its current national figure of approx 2% to 10% (which essentially means bringing the modal share of cycling in Dublin City from approx. 8% to 20-25% of trips). The provision of high quality contra-flow facilities for cyclists – and exemptions for cyclists on one-way streets with safer 30km/h speed limits – is also recognized internationally as a key intervention in making streets more attractive for urban cyclists.

However … while Dublin Cycling Campaign broadly welcomes the new traffic arrangements, we also think that the City Council did not go far enough in terms of providing for cyclists: the street network is still remarkably impermeable for cycling. For example, for cyclists traveling along the South Circular Road (Harrington Street section) towards Camden Street, they will still be required to turn left towards the city centre; the new traffic management arrangements:

  • do not enable cyclists to turn right onto the new contra-flow bus/cycle lane so as to continue southwards to Rathmines
  • do nothing to enable cyclists to continue directly onto Harcourt Road (so as to be able to turn right towards Ranelagh); Harcourt Road will remain as a one-way street.

Furthermore, Dublin Cycling Campaign has some concern about mixing so many buses with so many bikes on the corridor: it is essential that the drivers of the buses pay special attention to cyclists on this route – and, of course, essential that cyclists ride assertively and sensibly (by, for example, adopting the control road position while using the contra-flow lane). Overall though, we are optimistic that after everyone gets used to the new road layout, the new direct route out of town will improve life for those cycling in the city.

Finally, Dublin Cycling Campaign welcomes the provision of additional cycle parking along the newly configured route and a new special ‘right turn pocket’ to enable dublinbikes users to turn right onto Grantham Street to their docking station.

ECF Factsheet on Fast Cycling Routes


Fast cycling routes are “high standard bicycle paths reserved for cyclists for fast and direct commuting over long distances.”

The 5 widely agreed criteria for high-quality cycling infrastructure can be applied to fast cycle routes. These are: 1. Safety, 2. Coherence, 3. Directness, 4. Comfort, 5. Attractiveness.

Beyond that, additional commonly agreed criteria and characteristics do not exist yet as the concept of fast cycling routes is relatively new.

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