There are a growing number of dedicated cycle paths springing up across our towns and cities.
Carlow and Kilkenny County Councils have invested heavily in this welcome cycling infrastructure with a 40km dedicated cycle path linking both urban centres.
With high levels of obesity and children spending more time inactive than any generation before, getting people involved in physical activity is vital for a healthy society.
There was a time when a lot of children cycled to school but sadly numbers have reduced in recent decades as the traffic volumes increased and parents have become ultra protective of their off spring.
Segregating cyclists from traffic is generally welcomed and provides a buffer zone where cycling should be safer.
Yet many cyclists do not avail of the cycle lanes, much to the dismay of the drivers of cars and other vehicles as this link from the Irish Independent website shows only too well!
From the cyclists perspective there are a few practical reasons why they choose not to use the cycle lanes:
- Cycle lanes tend to be covered in road debris and are never swept, meaning users are more likely to pick up a puncture. Verges tend to be potholed and contain shores which can be very dangerous. Roads are much cleaner..
- Cycle lanes tend to run alongside the road and then suddenly onto footpaths and often coming to a complete halt, only to be picked up again at a later point on the route resulting in the cyclist having to stop and start more often and break their cycling rhythm.
- Pedestrians tend to walk in cycle lanes that are on footpaths.
Generally speaking casual cyclists will avail of the cycle paths while ‘road cyclists’ who are training or commuting long distances tend to stick to the roads.
it’s frustrating for both road users but bear in mind few cyclists wish to dice with traffic unless it is considered necessary !