Imagine whizzing through light traffic instead of being stuck in a glot of cars every day. Cycling can make this a reality. Every person who cycles rather than drives means one less car on the road, and this leads to fewer traffic jams.
While most cyclists would prefer to pedal in a safe, segregated lane, this is not yet a reality in Dundalk. When sharing the road, there are things you can do to make cycling feel safer, thus encouraging more people to take to pedals and clear the roads.
Lose the mindset of bicycles being somehow lesser, with less right to space on the road, and worthy of less consideration from you. In reality, the more vulnerable the road user, the higher priority should be put on their right to the road, their actual safety, and their sense of safety. Give cyclists the benefit of the doubt when observing their cycling decisions. It may seem silly to you if they position themselves in the middle of the road, for instance, but it’s a safer way to cycle.
Give us space
Imagine how annoying it is if another driver whizzes past you in their car, so close you could reach out and touch them. Drivers do this to cyclists all the time, and it’s much more frightening because you don’t have the insulation of a metal shell around you. Overtake bicycles the same way they do other cars. Don’t squeeze past a bicycle in the same lane, you are supposed to wait until it’s safe, indicate, and keep at least 1.5m away from the bicycle as you are overtaking. This is law in a plethora of coutries, and at the time of writing, a strong campaign is under way to make this law in Ireland, too.
Respect our space
When you park in a cycle lane, you force cyclists into the road, compromising their safety and annoying fellow drivers. Such actions also give a strong message of contempt, and a road user who feels they are in a group viewed with contempt is unlikely to feel safe. You may think that it’s okay because you’re only parking there for a short while, or you may have compelling reasons, but if obeying the law is left to everyone’s discretion, if it’s conditional on being convenient, our society would soon become an unpleasant place to live. And yes, it is the law.
|use of cycle tracks|
|16.—(1) A driver (other than a pedal cyclist) shall not drive wholly or partly along or across a cycle track.|
|(2) This bye-law does not apply to a vehicle which is being driven across a cycle track, either to or from a place adjacent to the cycle track.
S.I. No. 294/1964:
ROAD TRAFFIC GENERAL BYE-LAWS, 1964
Adjust your attitude
Acting in ways that discourage cycling may feel good, if you’re the kind of person who views cyclists as a nuisance. It shouldn’t – it simply shows you are not very forward-thinking. Treasure cyclists, and encourage cycling. Doing anything else is short-sighted and, frankly, not very clever, because you ultimately clog up the roads you drive on.