Infrastructure Position - The roads are for all road users
Public roads are for all road users, and this should be reflected both in the design of roads, in the management of traffic, and in the formulation and enforcement of traffic law. Attempts to close public roads to cyclists or pedestrians and shunt them off to inferior, segregated “facilities” should be resisted. Restrictions on motor vehicle traffic are often needed to balance the priorities of motorised and non-motorised traffic. Safety systems should be designed with reduction of the risk to the most vulnerable group as the starting point.
The quality of road surfaces is of particular importance to cyclists; more so than for other road users since narrow wheels and lack of suspension or a protective shell make us more vulnerable to poor surfaces.
Reduce speed, enforce laws on dangerous driving
The single most effective measure to ensure our roads are accessible to all road users is to reduce motor vehicle speeds. Lower speeds allow motor and bicycle traffic to mix, with no need for any additional physical infrastructure. Also with lower speeds, fewer collisions will occur, accidents will be less serious, weaving movements will be easier and safer, and traffic noise will be reduced.
DCC in particular campaigns for
- 30 km/h speed limits: the area bounded by the canals and all residential areas should have such a limit. Councils should have the right to introduce 30km/h limits wherever they are deemed desirable. These limits must also be enforced.
- Enforcement of existing laws on speeding and dangerous driving. Enforcement of existing regulations is unacceptably poor; consequently motorists can put other people’s lives in danger without fear of punishment. A much greater Garda presence and effectiveness is needed. No road user can be above the law.
- Cycle-friendly traffic calming measures, such as ramps and barriers that can be bypassed by cyclists (as opposed to for example pinch-points where cyclists are squeezed into conflict situations with motor vehicles).
- Appropriate design speeds of roads: wide and straight roads tempt motorists to speed up where this is not safe and ignore speed limits.
- More direct routes for cyclists
- Multilane one-way street systems should be dismantled. These are hostile to cyclists, forcing them to weave across many lanes of high-speed motor traffic, and to take long detours or cycle the wrong way. The current multilane one-way streets should be made two-way.
- Contraflow lanes should be introduced on single-lane one-way streets. (Note: Some places, e.g. Hamburg, allow cycling against one-way streets, even without a contraflow lane. This is possible where speeds are low.)
- Cyclists should be allowed to use all bus lanes, including contraflow bus lanes. The on-road sections of the LUAS line should also be open to cyclists.
- Roads should primarily serve those who live, work, shop etc nearby. Reduction in motorised through traffic, in particular in the city centre, will benefit cyclists as well as local users. DCC campaigns for:
Restrictions in heavy goods vehicle (HGV) movements
16 of the 21 cycle fatalities in the Dublin City Council area the past 7 years involved HGVs. HGVs should only be permitted to use designated roads for through traffic, and deliveries to city areas should only be permitted in restricted hours. (Many European cities have a licensing system for access to cities and towns for local deliveries) Car free streets: selected streets should be made car-free, providing among other benefits a safe and comfortable cycle environment.
75% of cycle accidents occur at junctions, with large, complex, high capacity, high speed junctions being the most hostile. The following measures are required to make junctions safer:
- No high-speed left turns. Filter lanes and slip roads should be redesigned to reduce the danger to cyclists.
- Multilane roundabouts are to be avoided, as they have particularly high accident rates for cyclists. Other roundabouts must be designed with cyclists in mind.
- Ordinary signalised junctions need to take account of cyclists, through eg road sensors (induction loops) that register bicycles; shorter traffic light phases (long phases serve as an encouragement for cyclists and motorists alike to run red lights); advanced stop lines (giving cyclists a head start, reducing conflicts with left-turning traffic and making cyclists more visible); a bicycle phase in some cases.
- Wide inside lanes (including bus lanes)
- Wider bus lanes and inside lanes allow cyclists and motor vehicles to pass each other and share the road without conflict. This must be set against the potential for higher speeds and one lane effectively becoming two: roads need to be designed to prevent this.
Cycle lanes and cycle paths
- Cycle lanes are a useful measure provided that they improve safety, priority, directness or comfort for cyclists without compromising any of these. Cycle lanes must be constructed to international best practice. All substandard cycle lanes should be removed: such “facilities” are worse than nothing, and often put cyclists at increased risk.
- Cycle lanes are most useful when they allow cyclists to bypass stationary motor vechicle traffic. They may also give increased comfort by providing an area unencroached by high-speed traffic, although this must be balanced against the false sense of security they may engender.
- All cycle lanes (and bus lanes) should be in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no parking or standing allowed at any time.
- Junctions must be designed so that cyclists do not lose priority or end up on the wrong part of the road. There must be no cycle lanes on the inside of left-only lanes: such a design increases the likelihood of left-turning vehicles cutting up cyclists. The junction design should ensure that cyclists are visible to motorists.
- Routes must be assessed as whole routes, not as bits. A short stretch of cycle lane is, as a rule, useless. We need a coherent design.
- Cycle lanes/paths on pavements are unacceptable, as they make conditions worse for both cyclists and pedestrians.
- Off-road cycle paths may provide convenient routes through parks and along the canals. Segregated cycle paths along roads are in general not an option in the Dublin area due to space constraints; such paths create additional difficulties at junctions.
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