Cycling campaigners in Cork have warned that any moves to reduce bike lanes to facilitate social distancing as Covid-19 restrictions are eased will breach World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
The Cork Cycling Campaign has now sought an urgent meeting with councillors and city council officials to discuss the details of wider mobility changes which are being considered to help reopen the entire city to trade.
“We recognise that these are unusual times," campaign spokesman Dean Venables said.
"Right now, public health is the number one priority and everyone in the city should work together towards that goal. That includes social distancing, physical activity like safe walking and cycling, and access to green space.
Cork should learn from the examples of Dublin and other world cities that are intentionally creating pop-up cycle lanes and increasing space for people cycling and walking.
"Cork city risks serious reputational harm if it reverts to outmoded urban and transport planning."
His comments follow reports in the
A street-by-street analysis is underway to establish what measures are possible in what areas.
The chair of the city's transport and mobility committee, Cllr Des Cahill, said the measures will result in significant changes to how we use footpaths, bike, bus, and traffic lanes, and that compromise will be required by all.
But Mr Venables said cycling infrastructure was "particularly targeted in press articles".
He said even the temporary removal of cycling infrastructure goes against WHO advice which states that “whenever feasible", people should consider riding bicycles or walking.
He stressed campaigners' commitment to the common good and their willingness to engage constructively but he rejected suggestions that emergency measures should be beyond criticism.
He pointed to de-pedestrianisation of Oliver Plunkett Street as an example of a "self-defeating and unnecessary action" move the council said was temporary to facilitate trade in the English Market.
The Cork Cycling Campaign has also welcomed the three-month pedestrianisation of the Marina and the 'eat on the street' proposal from traders on Princes St.
He said cyclists are loyal to the city centre and much more likely to shop locally than in outlying malls and retail parks.