An energy drink producer has conceded it “regrets” parking several branded cars along a Cork city centre cycle lane for a promotional photograph.

Red Bull faced a social media backlash this week after it posted a picture of a dozen women standing on branded Mini Cooper cars parked along the cycle lane outside the courthouse on Washington St.

The cycle lane, which continues inbound from University College Cork towards the city centre, is one of the busiest in Cork.

The picture was captioned “Cork, you look stunning”, but those leaving comments on the picture were less than impressed.

“Your repeated illegal parking in a 24h mandatory cycle lane which endangers vulnerable road users looks stunning,” one Instagram user said.

“Ah here, is this a competition to see how many cars you can park illegally on one cycle lane? I’d suggest a trip to court is in order but it looks like you’re already there,” another posted.

The Cork Cycling Campaign, an advocacy group for cyclists in the city, described the picture as a ‘marketing blunder’.

“1 in 4 adults in Ireland cycle more than once a week and mandatory 24 hr cycle lanes are a key aspect of safe cycling,” it tweeted in response to the image.

The Irish Examiner submitted a number of questions to Red Bull about the photo shoot, including whether it sought approval from the City Council to use the cycle lane and how long the cars were parked there.

Red Bull did not reply to the queries but told this newspaper the image in question was taken two years ago when the brand held a soapbox racing event on St Patrick’s Hill in Cork.

“We regret the inadvertent parking of our vehicles two years ago.

“It was also not appropriate for us to have used any photograph which would appear to legitimise parking in a cycle lane,” it said.

“With every event we run, we work closely with the relevant authorities to ensure the highest standards we can achieve.”

The picture in question has since been removed from Red Bull’s instagram account.

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