Mike McKillen says that taxi drivers are the main culprits. The fact that taxi drivers do not undergo an annual certificate of professional competence testing means that they, “do not have a clue how to overtake cyclists.”
In general, he says that there is not enough accountability for motorists in Dublin city.
“The Gardai don’t seem to take dangerous overtaking seriously at all regarding drivers overtaking cyclists,” he said.
“The Gardai are also turning a blind eye to deliberate parking in cycle tracks and drivers are taking advantage,” he added.
Dublin was voted among the top 20 most bike-friendly cities in the world last month, according to the Copenhagendize Index. The index seeks to rank 150 cities around the world on 13 factors to do with city cycling.
However, McKillen says that this ranking flatters Dublin. He picks out two key reasons for this.
“One of the key parameters is the number of females that are cycling. Studies suggest that females are more scared by traffic than males. The number of females that are using their own bike is disappointing. A lot more are using the public bike scheme,” he said.
“The proportion of females is low compared to Copenhagen and Amsterdam,” he continued.
Secondly, he points out that Dublin lacks extensive 30 kmph zones.
“If you want people to enjoy living and working in Dublin and want to have foreign direct investment then it has to be a livable city. The IDA needs to put more pressure on the cities to improve Dublin’s bike safety.”
National Cycling Coordinator, Damien O’Tuama, says that the best way for cyclists and motorists to co-exist peacefully is by educating all road users. Most cyclists in the top-ranked European cities use the bicycle and the car in equal measure. This is not the case in Ireland, where the majority of car drivers are not bicycle users.
“Motorists don’t appreciate that road surfaces might be rough or that cyclists require space to turn. There is a lack of understanding,” he explained.
“All vehicles need to co-exist peacefully in shared space environments but the bigger vehicle has the higher duty of care.
“Our goal would be for every primary school student to leave school with a basic bike ability. So they would understand theory, balancing skills and most importantly traffic awareness. So that when they become drivers, they will have an understanding of what it is like to be a cyclist.”