Thinking of touring Ireland? -Think again

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Cod, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. Cod

    Cod New Member

    Nov 8, 2005
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    :mad: I'm a cyclist, based in Cork in the south of Ireland. Until recently this country and particularly the western parts of it were ideal cycling destinations and attracted cyclists from Europe and America.

    However I feel it's important for prospective cycling tourists to be aware of the state of the roads here now.

    In recent years Ireland has experienced a booming economy, with increased car sales and increased road building. Unfortunately legislation and particularly enforcement has not kept pace with the changes.

    Most of the road network is made up of secondary or local roads, and these are the ones used by cyclists.

    Off the motoways and some national roads, the secondary road network is crumbling; most roads have no markings, either in the centre or at the sides, speed limits are wildly inappropriate, univerally exceeded and unenforced.

    These roads are increasingly used by speeding motorists who avoid speed checks on main roads and motorways, as there are never any checks on local roads. There is an increase in house building with associated danger, road damage, mud and rubbish. For miles around the towns and cities the verges of roads are strewn with rubbish either thrown from cars or dumped illegally; bottles, fast food wrappers, nappies, black bin liners full of rotting household waste.

    We have 300,000 unlicenced drivers, by which I mean they drive unaccompanied on learning "licences". Anyone can buy any type of car, pay for insurance, and drive away from the showroom unhindered by training or enforcement of the already feeble licencing laws. Most of these drivers are young and drive fast regardless of conditions.

    Regrettably, there is also an increase in aggressive driving.

    Outside of Dublin city, people no longer view the bike as transport; no kids cycle anymore. Our local school was rebuilt but no bike shed was included as it woul be about as useful as an airship mast.

    The statisitics will tell you that few cyclists are killed her each year, but that's mainly because no-one walks or cycles on the roads anymore, except for a few Cranks like me and my dwindling band of cycling buddies.

    So be warned, if you're planning a cycling holiday here, make sure you go to the remotest parts, or plod along the hard shoulder of the national routes, but be prepared for a stressful holiday.

  2. Niblox

    Niblox New Member

    Nov 21, 2004
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    Hi Cod

    Would certainly be interested - drop me a line (I'm in Galway, but can meet if given some notice)

  3. cranky2

    cranky2 New Member

    Mar 18, 2007
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    Cod, I couldn't agree with you more. I cycle 10 commuter miles each day in and around Cork city. I have been knocked off my bike a few times and I've had multiple near misses. So far so good I haven't had any serious injuries but this is only thanks to my own 'defensive' cycling style. In other words I have to always 'second guess' the motorist and be prepared to take appropriate evasive action, this has saved me to date.

    Daily I experience motorists breaking red lights (actually saw a woman applying lipstick while sailing through a red light recently), talking or texting on mobile phones, squeezing past me even though there isn't really room to do so safely, pass me out and immediately turn left across me at a junction or an entrance to a garage! The list goes on and on.

    I will ALWAYS try and catch the offending motorist and will let them know in no uncertain terms what I think of them. This probably isn't the wisest thing to do but I generally find the offending twit locks the doors and stares in embarrassment at the dashboard hoping the lunatic in the high-vis vest will go away. I actually had one van driver say to me in defense of having knocked me from my bike ...'but I pay road tax!'

    Unfortunately these criminals will continue to break the law because as you rightly point out there is no enforcement. The current government promised us 'zero tolerance' for law breakers, I'm embarrassed to say I was duped and I voted for them, I won't next time. We have an election coming up and I'd urge all cyclists to bring the issues highlighted by Cod to your local politicians attention.

    Other than that, stay out from the kerb, take possesion of the road and don't become another victim of a road traffic 'accident'.