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12-10-2006, 15:52   #1
Bunnyhopper
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Fingal Safe Cycling Action Group

I reckon this guy (it's not me) deserves support, particularly from those of us living in or cycling through Fingal. You can leave comments on the blog.

http://fingalsafecycling.blogspot.com/
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12-10-2006, 16:01   #2
 
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He's advocating "off road" cycle facilities.
I'll pass.
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12-10-2006, 17:39   #3
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True, but specifically for kids, he says, and he does acknowledge that there's an argument about whether off-road is a good idea or not. I agree that off-road is far from ideal, and is most probably a bad idea for kids in the longer run, but as a way of getting people to start cycling it might help.

Maybe anyone who objects to the off-road element could leave a comment to that effect on the blog.
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13-10-2006, 11:55   #4
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Originally Posted by Bunnyhopper
but as a way of getting people to start cycling it might help.
Absolutely. Of course, the disjointed nature of the current network makes this a little difficult.
I believe that the lack of skills and experience of cyclists contributes to the perceived danger. Cycle training could help correct this.
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14-10-2006, 15:06   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyhopper
True, but specifically for kids, he says, and he does acknowledge that there's an argument about whether off-road is a good idea or not. I agree that off-road is far from ideal, and is most probably a bad idea for kids in the longer run, but as a way of getting people to start cycling it might help.
Two problems with this:

1: As the law stands, cyclists must use 'ANY' cycle track/path provided.

2: Fingal County Council has a well-known record of providing inadequate cycle tracks & paths, ignoring basic legal requirements and exploiting loopholes.

In short, I would not trust FCC to act in the best interests of cyclists.
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15-10-2006, 18:20   #6
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I think you're right on both points, cyclopath2001, but surely those points are just further indications of why it's useful for someone to try to lobby for improvements? The mandatory-use law is dangerous, counterproductive and needs to be overturned. Also, as someone who lives in the Fingal area I'm more familiar than I'd like to be with just how rubbish they are at providing cycle facilities.

As I said above, comments left on the blog itself might help. More generally, I think it might be better for us all to look on the positives of what this guy is trying to achieve, and try to be constructively critical where appropriate, rather than just complaining about what he's doing or not doing.
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15-10-2006, 20:02   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Bunnyhopper
As I said above, comments left on the blog itself might help. More generally, I think it might be better for us all to look on the positives of what this guy is trying to achieve,
I've just read the article in 'Northside News', it refers to the children being given a Garda escort to the 'safety of the coastal cycle path'.

I'm painfully familiar with this decrepit path and it's many dangerous defects. It's a miracle no one was injured using it. Both Dublin and Fingal councils know the problems and are taking no action.

Quite honestly, the Fingal group look like well-meaning 'cheerleaders' to me. They'll be conned by the council just as the Dublin Cycling Campaign has been.

Now, if they were to call for an audit of Fingal County Council and for the dismissal of anyone found to be responsible for neglect of duty, I'd support them.
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17-10-2006, 17:38   #8
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The biggest issue I have with the coastal path is that it's _completely_ unlit. Even given the numerous defects - overgrown bushes taking over an entire lane, bins in the middle of the cycle lane, blind corners, car bonnets protruding onto the lane, dangerous drop along the Sutton end, the joggers/rollerbladers/etc. - it is still one of the better "facilities" in Dublin. Principally as there are _very few junctions_ and if you can actually _see_ the obstacles you can continue at a fair pace for many km without having to yield.

I sent them an email on that topic:

Quote:
With the winter light getting scarce though, I really think this path needs to be lit. Currently along much of the length there are lights only on one side of the adjoining road - the _opposite_ side of the road to the path - and the path is very dark indeed early morning or basically any time in the evening. I am always well lit myself but other cyclists often are not and of course the runners and walkers are not lit _at all_. Added to that it's a mixed-use path and runners/walkers often stray into the bike half. I find myself cycling along it really straining just to make sure I see others in time to avoid hitting them (oncoming unlit cyclists appear pretty quickly!) The path is used quite extensively by children cycling to/from school and while there is generally enough light right now by the time they are going to/from school, this won't necessarily be the case in the middle of winter.

There are of course also issues on the path with regard to overgrown bushes at the side and inappropriate location of bins in the middle of the lane but on the whole it's not a bad path and wouldn't be so much of a problem if there was enough light to see these obstacles!

This really would be the biggest issue I would have right now with Fingal's cycle facilities, it really is quite scary. The drop onto the beach on the walking side is also a bit worrying if a cyclist had to swerve suddenly due to an unseen obstacle.
Agree with you cyclopath - the idea of a Garda escort being necessary for kids to be able to cycle on the road just shows you what a bad situation Dublin is in.

Last edited by blorg; 17-10-2006 at 17:45.
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17-10-2006, 18:13   #9
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Originally Posted by blorg
The drop onto the beach on the walking side is also a bit worrying if a cyclist had to swerve suddenly due to an unseen obstacle.
I use this cycle-track every day, and have done so for the past couple of years.
I think you'd be hard-pressed to swerve and end up falling off the edge into the beach! Perhaps it's happened to some poor soul, but I don't think it's a danger to cyclists.
However, on the cycle-track side there are steps which lead down to the path at the side of the road. In my opinion, they are much more dangerous.
The poles positioned bang smack in the middle of the lane (advertising that it breaks for a car park entrace) are also quite dodgy.
Saw a lad cycle right into one of them once.

As ever, if a cyclist is taking due care, they won't fall foul of any of these obstacles. That said, it would be nice if none of the obstacles existed.
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17-10-2006, 21:03   #10
 
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The poles positioned bang smack in the middle of the lane (advertising that it breaks for a car park entrace) are also quite dodgy.
Saw a lad cycle right into one of them once.
The fact that they didn't those poles a contrasting colour just shows how thoughtless the City Council is. Just as when they decided to 'improve' the car park at Vernon Avenue/Clontarf by allowing cars to park across the cycle track.

Those signs are an indication of City Council mentality, that is that when a cycle track gets in the way of drivers, cyclists must give way. That's why we don't have cycle lanes on the narrow sections of the Howth Road. That's why most cycle lanes are of the shared bike/bus/truck/car variety. That's why we mostly have exclusive cycle lanes on wide roads where they're not needed.

The latest hazard is the enclosure they've put up for construction materials at that same car park . The concrete blocks supporting the fence are on the a tight bend in cycle track at a level that will be invisible once it gets dark. If anyone does see them, they have to swerve into the path of oncoming cyclists, all in darkness.

Until they start firing people in the City Council, it's pointless pretending that that discussion can improve cycle facilities. They've been at this for 10 years and still every new 'facility' is patently the work of someone who detests cycling.
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17-10-2006, 21:05   #11
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Originally Posted by King Raam
However, on the cycle-track side there are steps which lead down to the path at the side of the road. In my opinion, they are much more dangerous.
One day I cycled out to Howth, along the cycle track and took photos. I too felt that the steps that lead down to the path were quite dangerous.

I kept meaning to print them out and send them to someone in Fingal County Council (I was given a name). If anyone wants to refer to them, feel free.
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17-10-2006, 21:25   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King Raam
I think you'd be hard-pressed to swerve and end up falling off the edge into the beach! Perhaps it's happened to some poor soul, but I don't think it's a danger to cyclists.
However, on the cycle-track side there are steps which lead down to the path at the side of the road. In my opinion, they are much more dangerous.
The poles positioned bang smack in the middle of the lane (advertising that it breaks for a car park entrace) are also quite dodgy.
Saw a lad cycle right into one of them once.

As ever, if a cyclist is taking due care, they won't fall foul of any of these obstacles. That said, it would be nice if none of the obstacles existed.
I'm only imagining the swerving off onto the beach in the most adverse conditions - e.g. overtaking on the edge of the walking lane a group of runners/rollerbladers who are running/rollerblading four or five abreast taking up the whole cycle lane and most of the walking lane (a not uncommon occurence), unlit and in complete darkness, and suddenly a (or why not make it a pair!) of unlit cyclists come at you from the opposite direction. Now all of those things have not happened _at once_ but they certainly have seperately! And I have had the pair of joggers overtake and unlit bike from the opposite direction suddenly appear thing. So maybe not quite so outlandish. The point is, it is really difficult to see things at night, doubly so of course if it is raining (and quadruple that if you wear glasses.)

Agreed with the poles, they are nasty. Cars also pop out of that car park quite quickly and I have had to brake suddently to avoid them many times. Of course (legally) I am the one who is meant to yield here which is of course nonsensical but there you go.

I'm not so bothered by the steps but only because I pay no attention whatsoever to the cycle track markings in the bad bits and cycle across the whole path just concentrating on avoiding hitting anything, whether cyclist/walker/rollerblader/jogger/unleased dog/pole/bollard/bush/bin/rock/steps. So at the steps I would not generally be anywhere near them. The northbound cycle lane is simply unusable for most of the way so I tend to aim for cycling in the middle of the southbound lane whether going either direction and move out of it as necessary. If you were actually trying to stay in the markings, sure, it's impossible (and you would be insane ;-)

Part of my point is that I know the path well from cycling it in daylight but at night it is lethal, especially if you don't know where the traps are. And even if they fixed all the traps, you would still have the whole invisible unlit other people to avoid thing.

They have fixed the three trenches by the way, pity, they added a bit to the "technical" experience. Keeps us on our toes you know.

Last edited by blorg; 17-10-2006 at 21:30.
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17-10-2006, 21:45   #13
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Originally Posted by cyclopath2001
They've been at this for 10 years and still every new 'facility' is patently the work of someone who detests cycling.
I don't think that's really true, they are just designed by people who don't cycle themselves (or are "Sunday" cyclists) and have no idea of the needs of the utility/commuting/serious cyclist. And cycle lanes are often added simply as an afterthought - one of the most hilarious ever must be the one around the new roundabout at the entrance to "The Coast" between Baldoyle and Portmarnock, it's just utterly pointless - I'll get a picture the next time I go past.

The facilities are then not maintained, and you get stuff just dumped/built on them by contractors who just don't understand either. Poles in the middle of paths, signposts in the middle of paths, etc. At the moment up in Sandyford the contractors working on the road have multiple signs up about the work - of course placed in and taking up the entire cycle track (you have to swerve around onto the footpath or road.) I have hit them personally before, as have others. Would they put these signs in the middle of a lane of traffic? Of course not (although I often think of moving them there.)

It's just a complete lack of consideration that also explains I think why the general public just park in the middle of cycle lanes.

Basically the view is that they should be treated like footpaths (and they sure look like that way to me too.) The unspoken assumption is that they will be used by kids travelling at 10km/h (like pedestrians) who can see and avoid these obstacles, not adults travelling at up to 50km/h (like vehicles) to whom such obstacles are potentially lethal.
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17-10-2006, 22:13   #14
 
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Originally Posted by blorg
I don't think that's really true, they are just designed by people who don't cycle themselves (or are "Sunday" cyclists) and have no idea of the needs of the utility/commuting/serious cyclist. And cycle lanes are often added simply as an afterthought - one of the most hilarious ever must be the one around the new roundabout at the entrance to "The Coast" between Baldoyle and Portmarnock, it's just utterly pointless - I'll get a picture the next time I go past.
In fact many of the "cycle facilities" such as that nonsense north of Baldoyle are designed by consultant engineers working for developers implementing planning permissions. Have a look at this correspondence in relation to the other access to that new development. (You'll see elsewhere on my site that I'm asking the engineering profession to train their members in designing for cyclists.)

The points about the coastal cycleway are all correct. I know there has been at least one collision between cyclists on it, which I'm sure has to be due to the lack of visibility at night with light from the road and/or the painting of unusable lanes.

S2S have a much better design for the route, involving some planting beside the wall, then 3.5m cycleway then lights/seats, then 3.5m walkway on a timber structure above the existing rock armoured slope. I have asked for them to give a presentation to the Area Cttee meeting on 2nd November (3pm Baldoyle Library). (If you're interested in coming, do check that they are on the agenda, which I'll put on my website when I get it.)

It would be very useful if more cyclists would contact their local councillors in relation to road design and cycle facilities design. When I try to raise these issues in the Council I don't have much success. I hope you're all members of Dublin Cycling Campaign. Rob and Derek from the Campaign gave a good presentation to Fingal Co Co's Transport Strategic Policy Committee a few weeks ago.
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