Senator claims bollards on new protected bike lane make Cork road 'highly dangerous'

A row has erupted over Jerry Buttimer's claim, with cyclists saying the new bollards have resulted in a safer cycling infrastructure
Senator claims bollards on new protected bike lane make Cork road 'highly dangerous'

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer described the Melbourn Road in Bishopstown as “unsafe” following the recent installation of protective wands along the new bike lanes which have been introduced on either side of the road, which is close to a primary school, a secondary school and the main Bishopstown campus of the Munster Technology University. File photo: Collins

A Senator has been slated for saying that too many bollards on a new set of protected bike lanes in Cork city have made the road “highly dangerous”.

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer described the Melbourn Road in Bishopstown as “unsafe” following the recent installation of protective wands along the new bike lanes which have been introduced on either side of the road, which is close to a primary school, a secondary school and the main Bishopstown campus of the Munster Technology University.

In a tweet, he said some of the bollards are making it difficult for many motorists to access the drives of their homes and he referenced “huge difficulty being experienced by road users”.

Speaking afterwards, he said he has received a number of phone calls from residents who live along Melbourn Road complaining about the design of the bike lane and the location of some bollards.

“I am in favour of bike lane infrastructure and in promoting a culture of cycling but bike lanes must be designed to take into account the views and needs of local residents,” he said.

“I am in favour of safer routes to schools and colleges but what I am asking for here is quite simple really - I’m asking for modifications to take on board views of residents.” 

He said some bollards on the bike lane on nearby Rossa Avenue were repositioned after similar complaints.

But he was criticised on social media for his tweet, with several people suggesting that if motorists can’t cope with the new bollards, they shouldn’t be driving.

Local Sinn Féin Cllr Eolan Ryng defended the bollards and said as well as illuminating the road, they have a natural effect of slowing traffic.

“It’s a win-win for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists in an area that has seen 17 collisions in recent years,” he said.

The Cork Commuter Coalition said because of the new cycle lanes, cycling to the various educational facilities in the area is safer, with the added benefit of reduced vehicular speeds.

A spokesman for Cork City Council said roads engineers met with some local residents on site in recent days to understand their specific issues, and that mitigation measures are being considered.

“It might involve some small changes, like the repositioning by a few hundred millimetres of a particular bollard,” he said.

And he said the council accepts that it takes time for some people to get used to something new, like a protected bike lane on the road outside their home.

“But there are a number of different benefits to the scheme,” he said.

“The obvious one is specifically for cyclists, making it safer for casual cyclists and commuters, encouraging more people to cycle to school and college, but these bike lanes also act as a traffic calming measure, and we already have anecdotal evidence from residents in the area that these bike lanes have slowed traffic down.”

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