The brother of a woman killed while cycling to work has criticised Cork City councillors’ decision to vote down proposals to widen one of the city’s busiest roads to accommodate bikes and public transport.
The €4m Wilton Corridor Project was voted down by 16 votes to eight at Monday night’s meeting of the Council, which was preceded by a protest by residents - some of whom would have lost some of their front gardens as part of the plan.
Neil Fox’s sister Donna (30) died after she was hit by a truck at corner of Seville Place and Sheriff Street Upper in Dublin while she was cycling to work on September 6, 2016.
Mr Fox, who lives in Cork, has criticised the decision not to back the Wilton Corridor Project, and said the lack of cycling infrastructure only becomes real “when it hits your actual doorstep”.
“The family right beside where Donna died would give their right arm if they thought a piece of their garden could have saved her,” Mr Fox said.
“What do we value? Does owning a piece of "garden" - or in Wilton, parking spaces for cars in the majority of cases - mean we have the right to veto safer infrastructure?
“How are we ever going to change? I know from my talks with the Minister for Transport Shane Ross that a lot of the problem is down to public outrage over the idea of having to facilitate infrastructure. Politicians are blamed all the time, but it's down to you and me to assist them in trying to transform our transportation system,” he said.
Mr Fox said he was “appalled” at politicians “who choose popularity over the common good”.
“What is right should overrule,” he said.
“I'm all for gardens full of plants, grass, trees, but we must be honest here, are the majority of these in Wilton not simply full of cars? The car-centric culture of Ireland is so extreme that it isn't even noticed, its ingrained. More teenage girls drive a car to school than cycle. That's shocking.
"I am amazed that the focus on plastic is not matched by the elephant in the room that is our dependence on cars. Motor vehicles not only cause vast numbers of fatalities and countless injuries annually but are such hazards to our air, health, environment etc.
We need to focus on better sustainable transport and take our heads out of the sand
Mr Fox said Cork has great potential to be a cycle and pedestrian-friendly city.
"Like the rest of the country attitudes need to alter, comparing cyclists to insects and saying they are a scourge and more dangerous than lorries, things I hear regularly is not only utterly ridiculous but is dangerous as its creating an aggressive attitude towards fellow road users.
"My hope is that we will soon have a dangerous overtaking of a cyclist legislation, I wish it would hurry up and I question the hold-up," he said.
A spokesperson for the Wilton Community Action Group said it would not be responding to Mr Fox's comments.