If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

National roads cycling?

  • 28-04-2022 9:52am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,473 ✭✭✭

    Can cyclists cycle on national roads? I know they can't cycle on motorways but is there anything about national roads with a speed limit of 100. I might have to some day but I think it's madness.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell

    You're allowed cycle on N roads.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,904 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    Yes, of course you can cycle on national class roads. These are for all road users: pedestrians, cyclists, horses, cars, lorries etc

    Whether you'd want to on some and they vary very widely in traffic and size is another matter.

    No great problem to cycle if you keep your wits about you. Cycling two or three abreast though, knowing that traffic can come up behind you around a bend at higher speed is likely to result in Darwin's theory being applied in practice.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,276 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    they're often not pleasant to cycle on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,511 ✭✭✭✭L1011

    With the exception of a very limited number of restricted roads, yes. The Jack Lynch Tunnel (N40) and Limerick Tunnel (N18) are restricted. Even then I'm not sure if there's actually legislation behind those, but you'd need to be quite mad to try it. Does the no cycling road sign actually have legal effect?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,859 ✭✭✭Duckjob

    Indeed. If they have a decent bit of hard shoulder I generally feel ok, but many don't.

    On a related note- I've noticed national roads in other European countries tend to be a lot more open with flat grassy verges, meaning it you had an issue and had to deal with an out of control driver, you generally can plot some options for an escape route. On Irish rural roads I often feel walled in on the road, with stone walls and wild hedgerows and trees making it a bit like a bowling lane with the barriers up on the sides. Gives me a claustrophobic and less safe feel when I'm riding on them. Anyone else feel this or just me getting old or nervous ?

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 370 ✭✭munsterfan2

    I often cycle into work on the N2, generally very safe except for the first time where N2 directed me onto 3-lane extension of M3 and had to cross lanes to get to Finglas exit. I now swing off N2 and go around back of airport coming out at Lidl Finglas.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,356 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    A lot of people wouldn't get down either side of the Wicklow Mountains without going on some N roads. My club spins often start with a spin down the N11 hard shoulder.

  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭MangleBadger

    I try to skip the N11 as much as possible as MagicBastarder mentioned about N roads in general they're just not very pleasant to cycle on. Usually means throwing in another little hill or 2 to get where I want to go.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,276 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    just to clarify, which part of the N2? the N2 no longer exists between ashbourne and the junction beside the Brock Inn; what was the N2 is now the R135 between those two, and has been superseded by the M2.

    the N2 north of ashbourne is a horrible road to cycle.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,106 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Some N roads are much safer than the available alternatives. Wide hard shoulders with smooth predictable surface. Many of these also have houses directly accessing the N-road.

    I understand how it might seem like "madness", but the 80kmh R and L roads can be much more dangerous than the N ones. I can continue for 20 minutes on the hard shoulder of an N road with no junction, traffic, potholes etc. to worry about. My 20 minute commute to work is like something out of Mad Max, by comparison.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 9,356 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    Ah yeah, often a cause for debate, and generally my least enjoyable part of a spin but it does get you down to Newtown/ Ashford much faster. Personally, I'd take it over the Kilmac - Long Hill - Roundwood option (and I live on that road!).

  • Registered Users Posts: 370 ✭✭munsterfan2

    I commute in from a little north of Slane (once a week during summer). I find most of the N2 has a decent hard shoulder between Slane & Ashbourne. From Ashbourne in the road is wide and tends to be reasonably quiet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,237 ✭✭✭CantGetNoSleep

    I'm always shocked at the number of cyclists I see on the main Cork - Waterford N25. They are well in their rights to be there and there is a hard shoulder on a good part of it, but I always wonder would they not go for the many safer, quieter, more peaceful and nicer spins out there

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,284 ✭✭✭secman

    Some of the N roads especially where they have been replaced by a motorway are simply the best roads, little or no traffic. Thinking of the old Arklow to Enniscorthy stretch, extremely safe road as and relatively good surface as it's been all replaced by motorway which takes all the traffic. I'd use that a lot, also use N81 which many cyclist detest 😉

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,276 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    Some of the N roads especially where they have been replaced by a motorway are simply the best roads

    sounds pedantic, but those aren't N roads anymore. the one you mention is now an R road, the R772.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,284 ✭✭✭secman

    Some of the R roads that were previously N roads are the best.......😉

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,106 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    I'm on it most days. What alternative route would you suggest? I'd be delighted to find one that's better!

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,276 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    yep, i've driven the old dublin-galway road a couple of times (not been on it on the bike) and it's frequently wide and near empty.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,984 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

     I always wonder would they not go for the many safer, quieter, more peaceful and nicer spins out there

    I suppose it depends on what they are looking for out of a spin. If they are 'training' they may be more interested in doing X kms at X average speed. Not every cyclist is looking for quiet/peaceful/nice routes. Also, those commuting may be taking they shortest route as they may be tight for time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 533 ✭✭✭Mr. Cats

    I’ve seen some triathletes and time trial guys on that road on strava, sometimes doing several out and backs from one roundabout to another. As mentioned above I think it’s attractive to them as it’s an opportunity to get a long, mostly uninterrupted training route. It’s quite safe also as the hard shoulder is very wide, although crossing the slipways merging from left can be a bit hairy if the driving is poor.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 2,201 ✭✭✭JMcL

    Hard shoulder and quality of surface is key. If I want a decent fast spin I'll take the N25 at times, though usually I'll just use it to get to/from more interesting routes. If I'm not in a rush I'll take the greenway. Note this is to the east of Dungarvan, but though I'm less familiar with cycling the road on the other side of Dungarvan, it looks similar. Not the most fun road, but serves a purpose. I am dubious about the effects of the roadworks at Carrolls Cross (brought to you by a Morning Ireland traffic report near you). There're high kerbs being installed on wither side of the road with islands which will funnel the traffic over 100-150m, It's a dangerous junction and I think the rational is to slow traffic down, but I can't help but feel this is going to be lethal for bikes

    N25 over the tolled Suir bridge in Waterford as well. You can go to/from the last roundabouts on either side - just not across the bridge. The may be restricted by local by-laws, but I think the national road network falls under the remit of the NRA, so not really sure if the local councils have a say in access, speed limits etc

    N roads vary from unpleasant but safe enough where there's a nice wide hard shoulder (like the N25) to unpleasant and dangerous where they're narrow and not the straightest (e.g. - strech of the N76 in Kilkenny, probably not the worst bit as I just picked at random, but the few times I've been on it I've had dodgy passes at speed)

    WRT to other European countries, I'm just back from France, and while I believe you're allowed cycle on N roads there (essentially the same category as ours), I really wouldn't want to, and struggle to remember ever seeing a bike on one. They're usually fast dual carraigeways with no hard shoulder, and more often than not have a drainage ditch just off the carraigeway, leaving nowhere to go

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,710 ✭✭✭✭dahat

    N76 Clonmel to Kilkenny is one of the hairest roads locally in places but still good for certain intervals.

    As WA said riders looking for certain feedback from rides often choose N roads due to surface quality and usually a decent hard shoulder.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,889 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu

    re: France, if the N road has the blue car sign on it, it's an "expressway" and you can't cycle or walk on it (basically like a lower grade of Autoroute, but it applies on some single-carriageway roads as well).

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,443 ✭✭✭TheBlaaMan

    The N25 Waterford to Dungarvan section is (was !) fine other than the Sweep down into D'van. I presume the comments above refer to the western sections between Midleton and Cork? I'd certainly avoid cycling on the 120kmph section passing Cobh........(N-road designation and 120lmph, go figure - but then again - it is Cark, as Tommy Tiernan would say.)

    The Carroll's Cross re-alignment is going to be a pain I think. It will divert cyclists onto a specific cycle path (dark grey below) that will see them having to cede priority to cars exiting on side roads and as with most of these works, is likely to suffer from various crap and road debris as it will be very unlikely indeed to be swept and kept clear.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,984 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    I'd certainly avoid cycling on the 120kmph section passing Cobh........(N-road designation and 120lmph, go figure - but then again - it is Cark, as Tommy Tiernan would say.)

    It's not just in Cork! The N1 north of Dundalk is 120km/h and I think an N road in Limerick is similar. I'm sure there are a few more around the country, It's done on dual carriageways which have good sight lines and minimal entry/exits.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,201 ✭✭✭JMcL

    That Carroll's Cross scheme is horrible - it's going to be a nightmare to negotiate on a bike. Personally I'd frequently use it as a jumping off point for various route - turn right to head to Kilmac or Portlaw, left to head back to the coast, but those islands have made the lanes really narrow, whereas before it was relatively safe. Furthermore, it's only really used by faster cyclists (with the greenway only a 100m away, why would anybody out for a leirurely spin bother), whatever about one or two out on a spin, I can't see a large group coming along at pace pulling off onto a poorly maintained "cycle path". It's a very poorly designed layout IMHO. There's a fairly rigorous design manual from government for urban roads, is there no equivalent for the NRA?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,736 ✭✭✭Large bottle small glass

    The problem with the N25 and similar roads (other than being subjectively boring as fcuk) is they are really great and safe until they turn shite with high risk sections like

    Busy road with high HGV count means you'll be sharing this climbing lane with HGV being overtaken by Johnny 2L diesel racing west. It improves after that before being equally sh1te from Garranbane school to N72 turn off.

    East of Youghal, after 20km ish of hard shoulder from Dungarvan you are dumped onto this section of narrow and high speed N road with no escape route.

    The N22 here, again really good for the most part with a wide hard shoulder between Ballincollig by pass and Lissarda, except with council have actually put in traffic calming infrastructure and "cycle lanes through minor villages which are off course full of debris and useable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,736 ✭✭✭Large bottle small glass

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,113 ✭✭✭mr spuckler

    I've cycled Dublin to Athlone a few times and tbh it varies a lot. Heading from Dublin as far as Kinnegad the road can be very busy, then when it gets quieter beyond Kinnegad you lose the hard shoulder for a long stretch as far as Miltownpass. The hard shoulder surface between both Horseleap & Moate and then Moate & Athlone is really poor in places and I end up cycling in the main carriageway when clear of motor traffic.

    There is of course a greenway alternative for much of the way but it can get quite boring after a while.

    I cycled Galway to Ballinasloe last year (knee injury prevented me reaching Athlone!) and it seemed generally ok tbh, other than few kms west of Aughrim where the hard shoulder also disappears.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,106 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Passing Cobh? Where would you go instead? Through Carrigtwohill and North or on the R624 and South. I only ask because...

    The Carrigtwohill road to the North has cyclists sharing the road with heavy traffic and lots of junctions, other than the short stretch between Carrigtwohill to Midleton.

    The road to the South is the primary route to a quarry and dump, so primarily sharing with HGV's.

    Both are 80kmh.

    So you're suggesting that a wide smooth hard shoulder is less favourable than sharing the road with HGV's on a longer route with more junctions. You're obviously entitled to your opinion, but I've done all three options very many times, and to be honest it's all the same, other than the fact that one is faster and easier. You can guess which one that is.

    Unless you mean the piece passing Little Island? I don't think anyone is actually allowed to cycle on that any more. Only from Little Island eastwards.