Re: Re: Cycling in Irish Cities

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Hi all,
Looks like Devin touched a nerve here, no?
Some of the points made by jimg and Devin are interesting, but I’m not yet converted to the guerilla cause. Put simply, I disagree that taking the law into your own hands, even in a careful, non-threatening way, is required, never mind the debate on the morality of it. I’ve been cycling every day since friday paying particular attention (on foot of this discussion) to the dangers, temptations and inconveniences of the journeys, both within Dublin city centre and on the N11, and I can say that I never really had to consider breaking the law. I wonder whether the flexible interpreters of the law have a secret desire to see themselves as urban renegades? The cycling equivalent of Parkour? 😉

I do still think that motorists by and large have a tendency to tar all cyclists with the same brush, and so I still think that anyone cycling with abandon is to blame- each in a small but by no means non-exixtent way. Also, I don’t see the equivalence between the cyclist and the Fiesta- you compare brands with modes.
You make some good points about accidents between cyclists and pedestrians- when I expressed a desire for more law abiding cyclists above, it could just as easily have been applied to pedestrians. Again, as with cyclists, I have a measure of sympathy for pedestrians at junctions such as the Trinity interchange on Dame Street, but it still drives me nuts to see it. A bell makes a significant difference, but there are still many times when I think “If I see one more gormless stare from a flat-footed gombeen stuck like a bunny in the headlights…”. 😡 (If you’d guessed by now that I always [in town] wait for the green man before crossing the road as a pedestrian, you’d be right.)
I was impressed on a visit to Berlin last year to see how well the system worked there. A fairly well-designed bike lane network, good footpaths and well-located pedestrian crossing points, and users who stuck to their patch and were generally patient and courteous. Amsterdam is due a visit too in the near future.
Anyhow, I don’t mean to single out your points, but some of them were directly addressed and thus deserved response. One last thing- afaik, the rules of the road allow that, where a pedestrian crossing is not provided in easy reach, a pedestrian can cross legally at a break in the traffic. (I’ll have to check this.) Hope the taxis weren’t too expensive. 🙂

Your ‘morbid’ point was an interesting one. I ‘m always acutely aware of the dangers on the road and it regularly crosses my mind that something very nasty might happen. When I say ‘regularly’, I mean hardly a minute passes, at least in the city centre, when it’s not on my mind. Not in a morbid way, but just as a means of heightening my alertness to all the potential hazards in the environment. At this stage I know most of the pot-holes on my usual city centre routes, but the drivers opening doors, pedestrians stepping out, cars changing lanes without indicating, motorcycles in the bike lane, cyclists on the wrong side of the road- these all change daily. It’s essential to be attuned to the indicators of possible danger. Like a computer game, but with much higher stakes. I do sometimes think that I’ll expire in the saddle, but I’d like to think it’ll happen when I’m 110 years old, cresting a peak in the Pyrenees, on a tandem with a beautiful lady (she on the anterior seat).

I think irjudge’s point about education was a very good one. Do all parties- pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, motorist- know the rights and duties they and others have? A little less bullishness from us all might be a start.

Regards (for now).

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