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Unusable Bicycle Lane Vs. Cycling in Traffic

  • 07-08-2018 1:42pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 23


    Part of my commute involves cycling through a traffic-calming section of a main road, about two miles away from the nearest town. It's the typical design where the lay-by becomes a raised footpath; there's a single lane for road traffic and there are various markings and raised barriers in the centre to prevent overtaking - there's no village, just a church and a t-junction. It's about 300 m long.

    The raised footpath is tarmacadam and doubles as a bicycle-lane – by which I mean it has a bicycle symbol stencilled onto the surface. Sounds great – but the damned thing is unusable! The ramp leading up to it is about two feet and 90 degrees, so if you mount it at anything less than walking pace you will warp your front wheel. The surface of the bicycle lane is terrible, it undulates like a cattle-grid, very difficult to ride on. Locals out walking their dogs use it as a footpath, instead of the gravel path beside it. And worst of all: the t-junction – which is blind – splits the lane in such a way that you could easily ride into the path of a car approaching the main road at the junction.

    The only alternative is to use the main road traffic lane, which is what I and every other cyclist does. This is dangerous because, although there is room to pass a bicycle with at least three feet of clearance, some drivers won't pass because of the central barriers and markings, causing traffic to back up behind them, then impatient drivers etc, etc. Other times cars pass at speed, far too close, as if to knock me out of their way.

    My question:
    If there is a path marked as a cycle-path am I legally obliged to use it - even if it is unfit for use?
    If someone knocks me off my bike when I am using the road-traffic-lane rather than the cycle path, who is liable?

    I would presume that a cyclist has the same right to road usage as a driver of cars etc, but I'd be interested in hearing what you think / know.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,050 ✭✭✭buffalo


    Holyharry wrote: »
    My question:
    If there is a path marked as a cycle-path am I legally obliged to use it - even if it is unfit for use?

    No.
    Holyharry wrote: »
    If someone knocks me off my bike when I am using the road-traffic-lane rather than the cycle path, who is liable?

    It depends on the circumstances of the accident. The fact that you were not using the cycle path could be held against you if you ended up in court (like this nonsense), but I would not take that as a reason to use it.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 48,269 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    You'll find it's common behavior among cyclists not to use infrastructure which is not fit for purpose. Choose the sensible option.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,681 ✭✭✭✭P_1


    Move out to the centre of the lane while going through the traffic calming section. It'll prevent any dodgy close passes


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,609 ✭✭✭✭Muahahaha


    Holyharry wrote: »

    The only alternative is to use the main road traffic lane, which is what I and every other cyclist does. This is dangerous because, although there is room to pass a bicycle with at least three feet of clearance, some drivers won't pass because of the central barriers and markings, causing traffic to back up behind them, then impatient drivers etc, etc. Other times cars pass at speed, far too close, as if to knock me out of their way.

    Sounds like the best thing you can do is to use the main traffic lane but position yourself so no cars can overtake you. As its only 300 metres in distance I would get up out of the saddle and pedal hard for this section to not hold drivers up. But dont feel like you are obligated to do so either, I would just do it out of courtesy.

    Other than that maybe try contacting your local councillor or fixmystreet.ie to make the Council aware of how bad the cycle lane is. Not saying it will be repaired but if cyclists dont speak up on infrastructure issues then the Council engineers think they are doing a good job and nothing will ever change.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,741 ✭✭✭✭tomasrojo


    Funnily enough, the RSA twitter account today is continuing to assert that ALL cycle tracks must be used:
    https://twitter.com/IrishCycle/status/1026831300357967873

    This missing-comma argument is such baloney, and they've already admitted that Varadkar intended to rescind almost all mandatory use, so the usual practice of disambiguating legislation by referring to ministerial intent means they're NOT generally mandatory to use.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,831 ✭✭✭Annie get your Run


    I don't know who runs that twitter account ^^^but they don't seem to know their A*** from their elbow :rolleyes: There's actually a letter there from the CEO of the RSA confirming last year that they're NOT mandatory. The more dealings I have with that authority the more concerned I am for actual road safety, they are dangerous.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23 Holyharry


    Astonishing. Just... astonishing. I'll kick up a fuss with the local mafia/county council about that particular path and in the meantime I'll ride like hell through it.
    Thanks for the answers and info, folks.

    edit: here's a petition, maybe it'll help https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/cycling-for-all-in-ireland


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,561 ✭✭✭Eamonnator


    I'm sure this question has been asked before, but has any cyclist ever been prosecuted for not cycling in a cycle lane, where one was provided?


  • Registered Users Posts: 168 ✭✭GAFF


    I raised this very question with Garda National Traffic Bureau in 2014 after I got stopped in Lucan by a motorbike cop for cycling in the bus lane.

    I was told to quote the below legislation if stopped again;
    The Road Traffic (Traffic and parking) (Amendment) (No 2 ) Regulations amended the mandatory use of cycle tracks with effect from 1st October 2012 - to mandatory use only of contra flow cycle tracks or those provided in a pedestrianised area.


  • Registered Users Posts: 168 ✭✭GAFF


    I don't know who runs that twitter account ^^^but they don't seem to know their A*** from their elbow :rolleyes: There's actually a letter there from the CEO of the RSA confirming last year that they're NOT mandatory. The more dealings I have with that authority the more concerned I am for actual road safety, they are dangerous.

    I don't have much time for the CEO of RSA after she was unable to clarify the rules about the duration which novice drivers needed to show their N plates during a TV interview where she was having a go at notice and learner drivers.


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 20,364 Mod ✭✭✭✭RacoonQueen


    buffalo wrote: »
    No.



    It depends on the circumstances of the accident. The fact that you were not using the cycle path could be held against you if you ended up in court (like this nonsense), but I would not take that as a reason to use it.

    Excuse me. What? The cyclist not wearing a helmet somehow caused the driver to drive dangerously???
    I mean I've just read the headline, but is that the gist of it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,561 ✭✭✭Eamonnator


    Excuse me. What? The cyclist not wearing a helmet somehow caused the driver to drive dangerously???
    I mean I've just read the headline, but is that the gist of it?

    No. Caused him to drive 20% less dangerously


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,949 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash


    Eamonnator wrote: »
    I'm sure this question has been asked before, but has any cyclist ever been prosecuted for not cycling in a cycle lane, where one was provided?
    I tried my best to try to get prosecuted but the Garda Sergeant in question chickened out! :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,490 ✭✭✭hesker


    GAFF wrote: »
    I raised this very question with Garda National Traffic Bureau in 2014 after I got stopped in Lucan by a motorbike cop for cycling in the bus lane.

    I was told to quote the below legislation if stopped again;
    The Road Traffic (Traffic and parking) (Amendment) (No 2 ) Regulations amended the mandatory use of cycle tracks with effect from 1st October 2012 - to mandatory use only of contra flow cycle tracks or those provided in a pedestrianised area.

    For clarity sake who told you to quote that legislation. Was it the GNTB or someone on here?


  • Registered Users Posts: 168 ✭✭GAFF


    hesker wrote: »
    For clarity sake who told you to quote that legislation. Was it the GNTB or someone on here?

    It was the GNTB.
    I also asked if there was an internal system that could be used to update Gardai in various stations around the country, to make them all aware of the change. The GNTB said they would issue reminder to all that this leglaition was amended.


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