Clondalkin Cllr. Eoin Ó Broin is calling for vastly improved cycling and pedestrian facilities in and around Clondalkin. Ó Broin was speaking after attending the Velo City conference held in the National Convention Centre in Dublin. The local Cllr said that the problems with congestion in Clondalkin and in particular in the village of Rathcoole will only be solved by getting people to stop using their cars for short trips. Waiting for the council to build relief roads will take years and cost millions. A far cheaper solution is to improve cycling and pedestrian facilities. The problem, stated councillor Ó Broin, is that cycling and walking along streets filled with cars is not a pleasant experience, and it’s vicious circle because people continue to drive because it is too dangerous to cycle or too unpleasant to walk and so the ‘cycle’ continues.
Councillor Eoin Ó Broin said that many of the European delegates to the Velo City Conference found cycling in Dublin to be a traumatic experience. Klaus Bondem CEO of Danish Cycling Federation said: “I do expect to be recognized and acknowledged when I am a cyclist or a pedestrian. Just as I am always recognized and acknowledged when I ride my car. I’m back from @VelocitySeries in Dublin and having travelled to many cities where I have cycled and walked, I have been to few places where I have felt so unwelcome as a cyclist and a pedestrian. Never have I waited so long for green crossing the road. Nor have I ever experienced cycle paths being turned into car parking on Sundays. @DubCityCouncil you’ve a long way to go to make it work #VC19.”
Delegates were also very critical of the Irish Road Safety Authority who by encouraging the use of high viz vest and helmets suggest that cycling is a dangerous activity. The point is that if it is so dangerous why on earth would anyone do it. Statistics presented at the conference showed that it is only those with a personality type that embraces danger that regularly cycle in Dublin. Cllr Ó Broin said that in his experience of the cycling lanes in South Dublin were not maintained by the council – “they are not swept and they are uneven meaning that one is much more likely to receive a puncture on an SDCC cycling lane than cycling on the road. In addition, the cycling lanes that exist are often short and terminate before roundabouts meaning it’s a real waste of time to use them.”
On a positive note Clondalkin councillor Ó Broin said, “I learned loads at the conference. For example pedestrianization of central streets improves business and community. There were examples from Waltham Forest in London where this has been done.”
The Velo-city conference is the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) annual global cycling summit organised by the ECF and selected host cities. The Velo-city conference is the world’s largest conference in cycling, cycling infrastructure, bicycle innovations, bicycle safety, and the social and cultural changes driven by cycling on a global scale. The conferences attract those involved in technology, health, behavioural change, urban and infrastructure policies, mobility and in transport generally. The conferences are held in Europe every second year and then in the alternative years it rotates to different continents. Held for the first time in 1980 in Bremen, the conference has seen participation increase steadily and attracts extensive global media interest.